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.
I have to admit I was a little daunted by this recipe but wow, what a result! The Dobos Torte is a layered sponge and chocolate buttercream cake with caramel and hazelnuts. I only made some slight changes to the recipe, using flaked almonds and scorched (chocolate covered) almonds to decorate. I also brushed each layer with Pom Pomegranate and Cherry Juice which added a little burst of freshness to each bite.
I had a brainwave when it came to assembling the torte. Normally my layer cakes are pretty wonky, with each layer slip-sliding all over the place even when I try to hold them in place with skewers etc. This time I assembled the cake inside a springform pan. I used the base of an 8" pan as the template for my sponge layers. As they shrunk a little while baking they fit perfectly inside the pan leaving a slight gap around the edge. I spread the buttercream right to the edge on each layer so that when it came to unmold the sides were essentially iced already and my layers were perfect.
My only hiccup was with the caramel wedges for the top of the cake. The recipe said to use the best looking cake layer for the top but I chose my worst one because all the others were perfectly cooked and even and I wanted them for my layers. I sliced my cake into 12 even wedges and spaced them just a few millimeters apart on a baking sheet. My caramel was very foamy and didn't seem to spread out much as I poured it over the cake wedges so I just kept pouring more and more on. Suddenly there was way to much and it ran off the edges into a big toffee puddle. I decided to leave it exactly as was and break it into pieces including the extra bits.
Seemed like a good idea in theory, but it was really hot that day and my wonderfully majestic caramel fans wilted and sagged in the heat.
The taste test ...
I was worried this would be too rich but it was actually very light. Delicate sponge layered with fluffy, almost mousse-like buttercream. Our least favourite part was the caramel. Even though I adore citrus I didn't like the lemon flavour at all here - it didn't seem to complement the cake. Plus by the time we came to eat, the caramel had completely lost it and was a sticky, pull-your-teeth-out mess. Most of it got left on the plate. Nonetheless I would definitely make this again (minus caramel). It was fabulous!
Thanks to Lorraine and Angela for a great challenge. This is something I would never have attempted on my own! You can find the recipe here.