Throughout the last couple of months, to alleviate my withdrawal symptoms from Masterchef addiction, I dabbled in a couple of side projects, the Adriano Zumbo Mousse Cake, and the Aria Chocolate tart. I had soo much fun tackling those two recipes that I decided to join the Daring Baker’s Challenge. This month marks my first forray into the secrect baking society that is the Daring Baker’s Challenge (DBC).
The hosts for this month’s challenge was Lorraine of Notquitenigella and Angela from A Spoonful of sugar, they chose the Dobos Torte. Initially, I had no idea what it was, however, with the help of Wikipedia, all my questions were soon answered.
Dobos Torte is a 5 layered cake originating from Hungary. It consists between alternating between sponge layers with buttercream filling, topped with a caramel layer and coated with ground nuts, usually hazelnut.
I’m one of those people who loves to be super dooper prepared when I’m taking on a new task, this was no different. I started the baking process at 9am on a beautiful Sunday morning, and finished by midday, giving me the rest of the day to ejoy the fruits of my labour.
As I had decided on doing mini tortes, the following instructions is catered for my version, however the original recipe will be available for download.
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
1. Position the racks in the middle of the oven and set it at 200 C (150 fan force).
2. Cut off a piece of baking paper, long enough to cover the entire area of the baking tray.
3. Beat the egg yolks, 2/3 cup (81g), 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. Pour the mixture onto the baking sheet, using a spatula to spread evenly. The mixture is adequate for covering 4 large rectangular baking trays. Don’t be concerned if the mixture is not spread out 100% evenly.
6. Bake sponge layer for approximately 5 minutes, or until the top starts to puff up and adopt a golden brown colour. Remove from the oven, place another piece of baking paper to cover the top of the layer and flatten with another baking tray. This ensures that the layer is even. Allow to cool and repeat above processes for the remaining mixture.
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (200g) caster sugar 4oz (110g) bakers chocolate or your favourite dark chocolate, finely chopped
2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons (250g) unsalted butter, at room temperature.
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. (For this process, I would recommend getting someone to help. By the time I was done, my arm felt as if it was going to fall off)
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.
For the next step, the original recipe called for a caramel layer. I tried the caramel but found that it was too hard to eat, so instead decided to leave it out of the torte, I instead substituted it for spun sugar.
With the help of google once again, I was able to locate a site that provided great instructions on making spun sugar.
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup (glucose)
1/2 cup water
1. Prepare your working area, covering the surface of the table and the floor with newspaper. Place two pots/saucepans at the edge of the table, allowing it’s handles to stick out from the table. Cover the handles with oil.
2. Fill a bowl with iced water, and place it aside the pots.
3. Combine sugar, water and syrup into a medium sized saucepan, allow to melt under medium to high heat. Cover with a lid and allow to boil for 2-3 minutes, then remove the lif, stirring occassionally until the temperature of the mixture reaches 154 degrees celsius (310 F). Add 1-2 drops of yellow food colouring into the boiled mixture and mix well. Remove and place on the iced water to stop the cooking process. leave to stand for 2 minutes, allowing the syrup to thicken.
4. Dip a fork into the syrup and hold it 5-6 inches above the saucepan handle, flicking it back and forth between the two handles. If the strands have too many syrup beads, allow the syrup to cool fof another minute to further thicken it, then try again. If the syrup is too lumpy and therefore doesn’t form strands, quickly reheat the mixture again, however cool for a shorter period of time.
Assembling the Dobos
1. Use a cookie cutter or a round egg mould to cut out circles from the rectagular piece of sponge cake.
2. Place a dap of the buttercream on a plate, then top it with a piece or circular sponge, spread a thick layer of buttercream on top of the sponge. Alternate between sponge and buttercream, until you’ve added 5 layers of sponge. Using a spatula, evenly spread a layer of buttercream around and on top of the torte, covering the sponge layers.
3. Add raspberries on top, and drape the spun sugar around the torte.
4. To decorate, mix melted dark chocolate with heated cream. Using a tablespoon, scoop out the mixture onto the plate, flicking the spoon outwards to form the desired shape. Add a teablespoon of crushed almond praline to one side of the plate, topping it with a quenelle of mascarpone/cream and honey mix
Overall, once again, I had such great fun making this torte that the 2.5 hours of my beautiful sunday invested in baking was well worth it. Not only did I have fun, but the actual torte was delicious. The slightly sour Raspberries did a great job in neautralising the sweet and creamy buttercream. The sponge layer itself was soo soft and fluffy that it actually soaked in some of the buttercream. The spun sugar and almond praline added a different texture to the somewhat soft torte.
This is a recipe that I would definitely consider doing again, maybe next time as a large cake for a birthday. I would recommend you guys give this recipe a go, it might seem daunting, but once you get in to it, it’s quite easy although a little time consuming.
Once again, thanks to Lorraine and Angela for choosing such a fantastic recipe. It definitely challenged me and enabled me to try out new techniques.