Dobos torta Daring Bakers |

Yesterday I all of a sudden realized that I had to complete both the Daring Bakers and the Daring Cooks this week if I wanted to have it completed before I go on holiday! Now I had been planning this cake for this week anyway, so that was no issue, but I did not plan to do the Daring Cooks untill after I came back!!

It’s weird anyway thinking that this will be posted while we are enjoying ourselves in Indonesia, so apologies for a lack of comments from my side for this month. I will check your sites out as soon as I am back though!

The August 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful
of Sugar
and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos
Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers’ cookbook Kaffeehaus: Exquisite
Desserts from the Classic Caffés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

Last month with the mallow cookies I had shown one of the photos to my friend who immediately started complaining that she had never tasted one of the things I made for the Daring Bakers, so when was I gonna bake something specifically for her? The obvious choice would be to bake the next daring bakers challenge for her, so that’s what I did! She is coming tonight to finish it all, so fingers crossed it all tastes as it should… 🙂

Since the preparing of all the various layers would take quite a bit of time I started with making the batter and preparing the various layers. I decided to go for mini cakes rather then one big one. Reason also being that I am not too fond of caramel and wanted to make something lighter in addition to the quite heavy chocolate version.

So as soon as the first layer was in the oven I started with preparing the filling for my light version. I used mascarpone and added some lemon curd to it and finished it off with some fresh lemon zest.

Dobos torta |

The batter was sufficient to make three cakes. I chose a bit of a relatively large cutter so one would be a nice size for two people. After putting the mascarpone/lemon stuff in the fridge I started with preparing the second filling; the chocolate buttercream. All went quite well, except for the fact that I got interrupted a couple of times by potential customers who decided to make today the day to call. So I either under or overbeat the egg/sugar mixture before I started warming it in the double broiler. Added the chocolate, stirred some more and then left the mixture to cool.


In the meantime I could prepare the caramel for topping of the top layer. I cut the layer into six triangles since 12 was way too much for my small dobos, so 6 was a good sweet sized litle bit. I thought the boiling of the caramel took forever to finish before it started getting it’s amber color. I was just about to think it wasn’t gonna happen when it did. I poured it over the prepared cake and had some issues with smoothing it out over the cakelayer. Thankfully I had poured it correct so most of the cake was smooth and covered already without doing much to it… How are you supposed to keep something warm and oiled while keeping an eye on the caramel anyway?? Beats me.. Hot water will wash the oil away and I couldn’t think of another way to do that.

When the chocolate/egg mixture was coolenough I added the soft butter into it and put the rest in the fridge. I felt it was still too liquid but didn’t really know what else to do other then cool it. I had only a couple of hours before I had to assemble the final product since my friend would be coming tonight and I obviously had to take photos in the meantime too.

My lemon/mascarpone version was easy to assemble and is absolutely delicious, so I am quite happy with that one! And if I have to be honest; I loved the taste of the chocolate version but it’s quite heavy. My lemon filling is much lighter and I preferred that above the original. It’s also ideal if you’re in a warmer climate as it doesn not melt as easily as the chocolate buttercream plus it’s ready in just a little over a few minutes!

If you would like to make the filling this is the combination I used for the lemon/mascarpone cream:

250 gr mascarpone

100-150 gr of lemon curd (depending on your taste)

A bit of freshly grated lemon zest

Mix it all together and put in the fridge untill further use.

Dobos torta |

As you can very clearly see in the chocolate version is that the icing is not really solid enough. It’s holding but just barely. I possibly think I should have whipped the buttercream longer then I did, but not entirely sure. It’s also quite warm here today so that doesn’t help a lot. As long as I keep it in the fridge it’s ok and I even managed to slice a quarter out of the little cake so you can see the inside layers. There are four layers and the 5th is the caramel layer. And because you’re all dying to hear the recipe; here it is!





  • 2 baking sheets
  • 9” (23cm) springform tin and 8” cake tin, for templates
  • mixing bowls (1 medium, 1 large)
  • a sieve
  • a double boiler (a large saucepan plus a large heat-proof mixing bowl which fits snugly over the top of the pan)
  • a small saucepan
  • a whisk (you could use a balloon whisk for the entire cake, but an electric hand whisk or stand mixer will make life much easier)
  • metal offset spatula
  • sharp knife
  • a 7 1/2” cardboard cake round, or just build cake on the base of a sprinfrom tin.
  • piping bag and tip, optional


Prep times

  • Sponge layers 20 mins prep, 40 mins cooking total if baking each layer individually.
  • Buttercream: 20 mins cooking. Cooling time for buttercream: about 1 hour plus 10 minutes after this to beat and divide.
  • Caramel layer: 10-15 minutes.
  • Assembly of whole cake: 20 minutes

Sponge cake layers

  • 6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups (162g) confectioner’s (icing) sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (112g) sifted cake flour (SUBSTITUTE 95g plain flour + 17g cornflour (cornstarch) sifted together)
  • pinch of salt

Chocolate Buttercream

  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) caster (ultrafine or superfine white) sugar
  • 4oz (110g) bakers chocolate or your favourite dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons (250g) unsalted butter, at room temperature.

Caramel topping

  • 1 cup (200g) caster (superfine or ultrafine white) sugar
  • 12 tablespoons (180 ml) water
  • 8 teaspoons (40 ml) lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil (e.g. grapeseed, rice bran, sunflower)

Finishing touches

  • a 7” cardboard round
  • 12 whole hazelnuts, peeled and toasted
  • ½ cup (50g) peeled and finely chopped hazelnuts

Directions for the sponge layers:

NB. The sponge layers can be prepared in advance and stored interleaved with parchment and well-wrapped in the fridge overnight.

1.Position the racks in the top and centre thirds of the oven and heat to 400F (200C).
2.Cut six pieces of parchment paper to fit the baking sheets. Using the bottom of a 9″ (23cm) springform tin as a template and a dark pencil or a pen, trace a circle on each of the papers, and turn them over (the circle should be visible from the other side, so that the graphite or ink doesn’t touch the cake batter.)
3.Beat the egg yolks, 2/3 cup (81g) of the confectioner’s (icing) sugar, and the vanilla in a medium bowl with a mixer on high speed until the mixture is thick, pale yellow and forms a thick ribbon when the beaters are lifted a few inches above the batter, about 3 minutes. (You can do this step with a balloon whisk if you don’t have a mixer.)

4.In another bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 2/3 cup (81g) of confectioner’s (icing)sugar until the whites form stiff, shiny peaks. Using a large rubber spatula, stir about 1/4 of the beaten whites into the egg yolk mixture, then fold in the remainder, leaving a few wisps of white visible. Combine the flour and salt. Sift half the flour over the eggs, and fold in; repeat with the remaining flour.
5.Line one of the baking sheets with a circle-marked paper. Using a small offset spatula, spread about 3/4cup of the batter in an even layer, filling in the traced circle on one baking sheet. Bake on the top rack for 5 minutes, until the cake springs back when pressed gently in the centre and the edges are lightly browned. While this cake bakes, repeat the process on the other baking sheet, placing it on the centre rack. When the first cake is done, move the second cake to the top rack. Invert the first cake onto a flat surface and carefully peel off the paper. Slide the cake layer back onto the paper and let stand until cool. Rinse the baking sheet under cold running water to cool, and dry it before lining with another parchment. Continue with the remaining papers and batter to make a total of six layers. Completely cool the layers. Using an 8″ springform pan bottom or plate as a template, trim each cake layer into a neat round. (A small serrated knife is best for this task.)


Directions for the chocolate buttercream:

NB. This can be prepared in advance and kept chilled until required.

1.Prepare a double-boiler: quarter-fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to a boil.
2.Meanwhile, whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale and thickened, about five minutes. You can use a balloon whisk or electric hand mixer for this.
3.Fit bowl over the boiling water in the saucepan (water should not touch bowl) and lower the heat to a brisk simmer. Cook the egg mixture, whisking constantly, for 2-3 minutes until you see it starting to thicken a bit. Whisk in the finely chopped chocolate and cook, stirring, for a further 2-3 minutes.
4.Scrape the chocolate mixture into a medium bowl and leave to cool to room temperature. It should be quite thick and sticky in consistency.
5.When cool, beat in the soft butter, a small piece (about 2 tablespoons/30g) at a time. An electric hand mixer is great here, but it is possible to beat the butter in with a spatula if it is soft enough. You should end up with a thick, velvety chocolate buttercream. Chill while you make the caramel topping.

Lorraine’s note: If you’re in Winter just now your butter might not soften enough at room temperature, which leads to lumps forming in the buttercream. Male sure the butter is of a very soft texture I.e. running a knife through it will provide little resistance, before you try to beat it into the chocolate mixture. Also, if you beat the butter in while the chocolate mixture is hot you’ll end up with more of a ganache than a buttercream!

Directions for the caramel topping:

1.Choose the best-looking cake layer for the caramel top. To make the caramel topping: Line a jellyroll pan with parchment paper and butter the paper. Place the reserved cake layer on the paper. Score the cake into 12 equal wedges. Lightly oil a thin, sharp knife and an offset metal spatula.
2.Stir the sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over a medium heat, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. Once dissolved into a smooth syrup, turn the heat up to high and boil without stirring, swirling the pan by the handle occasionally and washing down any sugar crystals on the sides of the pan with a wet brush until the syrup has turned into an amber-coloured caramel.
3.The top layer is perhaps the hardest part of the whole cake so make sure you have a oiled, hot offset spatula ready. I also find it helps if the cake layer hasn’t just been taken out of the refrigerator. I made mine ahead of time and the cake layer was cold and the toffee set very, very quickly—too quickly for me to spread it. Immediately pour all of the hot caramel over the cake layer. You will have some leftover most probably but more is better than less and you can always make nice toffee pattern using the extra to decorate. Using the offset spatula, quickly spread the caramel evenly to the edge of the cake layer. Let cool until beginning to set, about 30 seconds. Using the tip of the hot oiled knife (keep re-oiling this with a pastry brush between cutting), cut through the scored marks to divide the caramel layer into 12 equal wedges. Cool another minute or so, then use the edge of the knife to completely cut and separate the wedges using one firm slice movement (rather than rocking back and forth which may produce toffee strands). Cool completely.

Angela’s note: I recommend cutting, rather than scoring, the cake layer into wedges before covering in caramel (reform them into a round). If you have an 8” silicon round form, then I highly recommend placing the wedges in that for easy removal later and it also ensures that the caramel stays on the cake layer. Once set, use a very sharp knife to separate the wedges.

Assembling the Dobos

1.Divide the buttercream into six equal parts.
2.Place a dab of chocolate buttercream on the middle of a 7 1/2” cardboard round and top with one cake layer. Spread the layer with one part of the chocolate icing. Repeat with 4 more cake layers. Spread the remaining icing on the sides of the cake.
3.Optional: press the finely chopped hazelnuts onto the sides of the cake.
4.Propping a hazelnut under each wedge so that it sits at an angle, arrange the wedges on top of the cake in a spoke pattern. If you have any leftover buttercream, you can pipe rosettes under each hazelnut or a large rosette in the centre of the cake. Refrigerate the cake under a cake dome until the icing is set, about 2 hours. Let slices come to room temperature for the best possible flavour.


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