Sunday, August 23, 2009

My first Dobos Torte

Alright.. In my attempt to broaden my baking repertoire and build my skills, I joined this wonderful group called the Daring Bakers.It's basically a group of bakers from around the world that bake a particular recipe every month as decided by a host picked randomly.

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 Caff├ęs of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

My first Dobos Torte

Wikipedia has this to say about the Dobos Torte:

Dobosh or Dobos Torte (type of cake) was first introduced at the National General Exhibition of Budapest in 1885; Franz Joseph I and his Empress Elisabeth were among the first to taste it. The cake soon became popular throughout Europe as it was different from all others. It was simple but elegant, as opposed to the multi-storey, flaming cakes of the age. Its other secret was its use of fine buttercream, which was very little known at the time; cake fillings and frostings were usually made with cooked pastry cream or whipped cream. The chocolate buttercream and the batter of the cake were both invented by Jozsef C. Dobos.

Dobos travelled around Europe and introduced the cake wherever he went. For a long time he kept the exact recipe confidential, until 1906 when he retired and gave the original recipe to the Budapest Confectioners' and Gingerbread Makers' Chamber of Industry, providing that every member of the chamber can use it freely. Dobos Torte is known everywhere in the world and there are more than one hundred recipe variations. It is a commonly made torte in the upscale hotels, restaurants and pastry shops of the world.

I've been reading the recipe provided for ages. I was so excited I even logged in during my holiday to find out what the recipe was. I was surprised and really quite intimidated by the recipe when I saw it. It was a full 8 pages long when I printed it out. I thought the best approach was to break it down and take my time building the cake.

The finished product

I somehow managed to mess up 2 of my layers when I peeled the baking paper off, and made the sponge layers one night a few days ago, and then blocked out some time on a sunny Saturday afternoon to finish the rest of the cake.

It's been a recipe with lots of first. It's the first time I've ever made a butter cream frosting, sponge layers and it's the first time I've ever dealt with caramel myself. I tried the end product last night and I have to say, it's not really my favourite cake. The caramel didn't seem like the right topping to have with the rest of the cake. It was a great learning cake and I did have lots of fun and came away with ideas though. All up, really enjoyed myself. I think I didn't do the cake enough justice though. Might try it again some time in the future.

Verdict: It took a lot of effort for a rather normal tasting cake. It is rather impressive looking but I need to practise more to do the cake more justice.