Thursday, August 27, 2009

Daring Bakers' August Challenge-Dobos Torte


I found myself doing this at the last possible minute, actually a day late now, and obviously the heat in the Bay Area decided not to cooperate for the second month in a row, and it was brutal! I missed the deadline yesterday because of serious time mismanagement so I decided to make the cake for a birthday celebration which means that I only could take pictures with the flash, but I have a miniature cake waiting for me tomorrow to be finished.

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.

The cake we were challenged to make is called The Dobos Torta, a five-layer sponge cake, layered with chocolate buttercream and topped with cake wedges covered in caramel. The cake first appeared in 1885 created by József C. Dobos, a Hungarian baker. The recipe, kept secret until Dobos retired in 1906, was donated to the Budapest Confectioners' and Gingerbread Makers' Chamber of Industry, with the provision that it could be used freely and obviously publicly. The recipe is very long so you can find here.

The original cake is round, each layer made individually as a disk, but to save time, and to give a spin to the classic round cake, I decided to make a rectangular one. We are supposed to be daring, but since I like chocolate I make the original chocolate butter cream from the recipe but instead of the classic hazelnuts, I paired it with pistachios since I love the green of pistachios against the dark chocolate color. The cake was easy to make, but I ended up over baking it so I think that the 400F baking temperature is an over kill, especially when the cake layers are so thin. The other big problem I encountered was with the butter cream. The execution was simple, and it looked very velvety, and it tasted ok (note here, just okey). The problem lied in the consistency, made worse by the heat. Even chilling the butter cream didn't help, as soon as the cake was out of the fridge the butter cream started running, and the weight of the nuts brought the cream down the sides! The cake looked nice, but it was not one of those cakes that knocks your socks off in my opinion, in fact I don't think I will try it again unless I try another recipe.


I was intrigued to try a new butter cream recipe that calls for whole eggs, instead of the butter cream I normally make which has only whites, sugar and butter. I wasn't impressed at all by this recipe, it is too sweet and it tastes too rich. I think that it works well as a filling but as a glaze is way too soft, and I know it was not just my mistake, other DBakers had the same problem. I had fun making the pistachio star decorations with the extra caramel. To make them, warm up the pistachios slightly so they won't cool the caramel too much. Add the pistachio pieces to the hot caramel, and pour the hot and still liquid caramel onto a silicone mat, or an oiled parchment paper. When the caramel is setting but still soft, score it with a wheel or a cookie cutter. When the caramel is cooled, separate the pieces and let cool completely until hardened.



19 comments:

Jill said...

I love that you used pistachios--the color looks gorgeous against the chocolate! The caramel stars just add that extra wow factor--especially since I know what a pain dealing with the caramel was. :) I'm glad you were able to get everything done--I hope farmer's market went well for you. :)

LegalAlien said...

Hey, I was worried!!
I had more luck with the buttercream,but it's definetely not a summer dessert.
Those pistachio stars are beautiful!

Sophie said...

Your dobos torte looks fantastic!!

Just pure indulgence!

Pamela said...

Your cake looks GREAT! I feel the same about the buttercream if I made this again would definatly use my old favorite buttercream

kellypea said...

I thought about a rectangle, too. Shape is what I often think about most on our challenges. Love the star pieces and you're so right -- the green of the pistachios looks excellent against that rich brown. Nice job ; )

lisaiscooking said...

Interesting about the buttercream. I'll have to remember that. Your pistachio caramels on top look great!

isa said...

What a beautiful cake! I love your presentation with the pistachios and your caramel stars!

rashelie said...

the pistachios add a really nice touch!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Really beautiful! I love your pretty decorations! Very well done here!

Cheers,

Rosa

jillian said...

I really like the look of the pistachios! Nice work even if you didnt love it :)

Laura said...

Jill, the market was okey, I sold out of the challah bread I made for the first time. It will be a big seller on Fridays.

Anna, grazie! Mi piace lavorare con il caramello.

Sophie, thanks for stopping by. It was fun to make.

Pamela, I am glad it wasn't me but the recipe!

Thank you Kelly, I love pistachios.

Lisa, Isa, Rashelie, Rosa, and Jill ian, thanks for stopping by. It is always fun to belong to a greater community.

bake in paris said...

Your creation reminds me of Van Gough "Starry Starry Night" and the song sang by my fav Julio Iglesias. Love the color combination and the stars really emphasize the beauty of Dobos.

Regards
Kris

Audax said...

The pistachios are so green against the dark chocolate and I love the idea of the star adds a nice touch of the fabulous to the torta. Very well done and even if it wasn't to your liking the challenges always add to your 'skill set'. Cheers from Audax in Australia

Laura said...

Kris and Audax, thanks for your words. Yes, the stars were a fun addition to the cake. It was fun after all, and you are right Audax, you always learn something, even from a cake I didn't find too exciting.

sweetakery said...

wow ! Your dobos torte looks fantastic! love the way you used pistachios! 2 of my fav things...yumm!

natalia said...

Ma quanto è bella ??? mi piacciono tantissimo le stelline di caramello !!!

Julia @ Mélanger said...

I love the pistachios and the cut little shapes of caramel on top. Just lovely!

Rose said...

Mmmm pistachios! Yum! Cute little stars :)

Lisa said...

I cannot believe I missed your gorgeous Dobos Torte, Laura! I guess you have so many mouth watering treats on your site, I become fixated on one at a time :) The caramel stars and pistachios really kick it up several levels, aesthetically and flavor wise. VERY nicely done, and a great B-Day Cake!

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