Crap!!! - Daring Bakers Dobos

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.

It really helps when you read the posting date for Daring Baker’s Challenge!!!  I am reading challenged and did not notice that it might be do ASAP until people started talking about it on twitter.  Oh Twitter, what would I do without you?!  So as of ten o’clock this morning I have been on the quest to finish the daring bakers challenge on time.  I grabbed both kids and we went to the grocery store to pick up a few items since I hadn’t planned and did not have everything I needed.  10 eggs needed…  I had five.  Yeah, that wasn’t going to work so off we go. 

Get to the store and have a toddler melt down moment.  “I dun wanna walk!!!”  This is what I hear until we get to the sushi area and I say “Riley, do you want Sushi for lunch?” The response was an enthusiastic “Yeeeeah!”.  My son thinks he’s from the Bronx or something, I’ve never been there but his “Yeeeah” sounds like it does on the movies.  Get the sushi and all the baking supplied needed.  Eggs, berry sugar, real vanilla, butter (I’m not sure how much we had), and some vitamin waters for me.  I love that stuff and can’t seem to stay away from it.  You should try it, it’s tastes like water with a hint of flavor, and not like the obnoxious “waters” that have kiwi strawberry or tangerine flavor and enough sugar to power a toddler for 4-6 hours.  Glah.  That stuff is gross if I wanted Tang I would have bought Tang!

We get home from a mostly uneventful trip to the grocery store, although it always seems to amaze the cashiers that I have my Save-On-More barcode in my iPhone.  I always get to hear “Wow” or “That’s so cool!  I want one!”.  The novelty has worn off for me, apparently it doesn’t wear off on the Save-On cashiers.  I get to work reading the recipe.  Ok, doesn’t sound too hard.  Have to wait till babies are willing to let me do this, that means nap time!  I love nap time lately.  That and bed time!

Speed ahead to right now…

The cakes are done!  I’m waiting for the chocolate mixture to cool enough and to thicken…  it’s definitely very sticky.  I don’t know about the thick part yet.  I hope this works!  I also help this tastes really good because I have now told a friend that I would bring it over to their house tonight for a post-birthday cake. 

Ahead about another four hours…

So the cake was a success!  It tasted very good although I was not a fan of the buttercream.  I’ve made better in my time.  If you want a to-die-for buttercream frosting I suggest you check out this one over at Smitten Kitchen.  I made the exact same cake a few months back for a wedding shower and it was a HIT!  I got lots of compliments and can’t wait to find an excuse to make it again.  I also found that the buttercream never got thick, I added the butter hoping that it would thicken up but the required amount didn’t do it.  I had to add another 100g to get it the right consistency.  It could have been that it was really humid and warm here today but I’m not sure.  Anyways, it was good but like I’ve said I think there are better buttercream’s out there. 

The cake part was really easy and I think really depends on you using good quality (high quality) ingredients to get the best results. 

The caramel was interesting.  It ended up so chewy and teeth sticking that our friends and us couldn’t eat it without pulling out our fillings.  I am going to the dentist tomorrow morning but not to get my fillings redone!  The little ones didn’t eat theirs and I don’t blame them besides, it saved me having to pin him down down and pry open his mouth with one hand while using the other hand to brush his teeth all the while trying not to hurt him brush his teeth for a long time tonight!    

Overall, great challenge!  I wonder what next month will be.  I’ve been doing the daring bakers challenges for over a year now and I’ve never made an actual cake with like flour and butter and eggs and frosting as part of the group.  Even though I would love to try just a regular old fashioned cake one month I am certainly enjoying trying all these new baked goods I would never to think to make on my own.

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I didn’t get any pictures of just the slice to show you since I left it at my friends for them to finish enjoying and it was quite hard to cut up without wrecking it.  I think it was too warm/humid for the buttercream.


  • 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.


P.S. Check back mid-month for the daring cooks.  Yes, I’m actually doing it this month!!!



Lovely torte, and hilarious post!!

For some reason I had it in my head that our posting day was TOMORROW (Friday)...If it weren't for Twitter, I would have been posting a day late! So yeah, I'm with ya--THANK GOODNESS FOR TWITTER! Great job!!

Great job finishing this with those little ones! I have no idea how I'm going to balance that someday when I have little guys running around. Yeah this buttercream was definitely different, tasty but still not perfect. Heres hoping next months is a wee bit more tasty!

Mmmmm, your cake looks delish! I agree, sometimes I totally forget it's DB time until I see things popping up over twitter and blogs! :)

I waited until the last minute too, but mine didn't look nearly that good! Excellent job!

I can sympathize with the baking-with-toddlers aspect of your saga. They make every challenge more challenging! Good-looking cake!

Kudos to you for starting and finishing this on posting day...I might have been tempted to just say oh well espically if it ment a trip to the store that's a deal breaker for me.

The kid thinks he's from the Bronx and loves Sushi? Give him a big hug for me.. he's alright in my book! SO CUTE! hahaha!

Your cake looks lovely.. I'm glad you had people to share it with. And such a nice occasion for it! :)

And yeah, you're right.. not since The Perfect Party Cake have we done another - maybe someone will choose a cake in the future! I'd love to see Molly's (Orangette) Far From Disaster cake made by everyone.. it's to die for, but I've yet to bake it without some kind of explosion, implosion, or catastrophe of some sort. hehee


Despite the last minute shopping, your looks pretty good to me. Yes the buttercream was kinda melty, so my torte spent most of its life in the fridge!

Love the post!! Despite the last minute prep it looks beautiful

than never is what I say, and this is the first time in forever I've been done early! Just reading about what you and others have mentioned about the buttercream has made me glad to have used what I did. We left our caramel on our plates because like you we were worried about fillings. Cheers to you on another completed challenge. Onward and upward (and thank goodness for twitter ; )

Great job on the torte! I always seem to make DB challenges at the last minute :)

Great job on the torte, they look divine. I completely agree on the buttercream, they are very runny!!

Thanks for a great site. The information and thought you have put into this is fantastic. I'll bookmark you and return :-)

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