DBs Do 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 Cafés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

If you had a bakery and needed something sensational for the window, this Dobos Torte would be it. It just looks amazing.

Because it it so beautiful, I wish I could say my cake was an unqualified success. But those toffee pieces on top, the ones that arrange into such a fabulous pinwheel, were responsible for more fits than I have had over cake in quite some time. (And that’s saying something; it’s pretty much a given around here that where there is cake, there are fits.)

For starters, I did not care for the flavor of lemon juice in the caramel. It just tasted sour to me. And then there was the question of how to eat them. Too hard to cut and to chew without fear of dental disaster. And I won’t even mention how long it took me to cut these babies apart. Once again, it appears that caramel and I are simply not destined to be friends.


The excess caramel did fashion itself into a trend-setting piece of abstract art for the coffee table, though.


The technique of baking thin sponge cake layers individually on parchment paper was new to me and one I was glad to learn, although I’m really much too lazy to be doing this sort of thing more than once a decade or so. I found that an easy way to trim each layer was to lay it on top of an inverted 8-inch cake pan and use scissors to cut away the edge.


The buttercream frosting was delicious, but a bit runny. Maybe this was due to the coffee concentrate I added, my one attempt at putting my own spin on the recipe (these things are usually daring enough for me as is). Or maybe I undercooked the eggs? If so, no one’s suffered from it, that I’ve heard of anyway. Not the kind of thing you’d want to leave standing out at a summer potluck picnic, in any event.


As always, this challenge was fun and educational, and (mostly) delicious, and for that I thank Angela and Lorraine. Also as always, more fun, education, and deliciousness abounds today as all of the DBs’ Dobos (Doboses? Doboi? Dobosen?) hit the webwaves.

CommentsLeave a comment

  1. says

    I found the buttercream to be a bit runny as well. You did a great job! The caramel was difficult to put it nicely, but yours looks perfect :)

  2. says

    OMG!! This is why the thought of DB gives me the shivers! Your cake looks stunning. And now, if you ever make it again, you know how you’ll improve it!

  3. says

    It’s beautiful! I agree, the lemon was funny tasting (and how did you keep your caramel so smooth? my caramel just sunk into the cake itself). I think that beating the buttercream for a longer time might be the solution to the runny-ness. In any case, it does look tasty!

  4. says

    Well, it looks freaking amazing. With all my traveling right now, I had to take a pass on the torte. I’m so absent minded that I didn’t want to risk third degree burns with the caramel!

  5. says

    Abstract art – win! It’s a bonus! After everyone’s comments though, I’m glad I decided to go without the caramel layer – kudos for trying it anyway!

  6. says

    I think my luck with caramels are on par with yours. I just failed miserably! At least your one turned out and looks beuatiful on your torte. If I had a cafe and needed a beautiful cake for show, I’d definitely enlist your help =D

  7. says

    I am so impressed, Susan, your torta is beauty, defined.

    I was a raving maniac by the time I finished up my day of creation. I thought about getting drunk to celebrate, but then I remembered that I don’t drink. At that point, I simply slammed back a few extra calories and called it a day.

    Seriously, you really have a piece of art on your hands. Kudos to you!

    P.S. Did that lemon smell burn your nostrils as it heated up in the sugar? I had to blast my fan for fear I’d pass out from the smell. (Somewhere I read that lemon juice keeps sugar crystals from forming. Ya think?)

  8. says

    OMG – I think my heart stopped when I clicked on your blog and saw the photo. Then came the drool…. Maybe this cake is intended for the window and not for consumption. It would DEFINITELY get me into the bakery, and – fool that I am – I’d probably buy it and devour every last crumb. And then lick my fingers.


  9. says

    That’s not for eating, right? Over the top, girl!
    I have a built in defense against making things that look like that – I just say I’m a diabetic. My idea of cake these days (done in my oven) is Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake made with Splenda and Jack Daniels.

    Sincere congrats on a beautiful creation, and for the guts to share the associated pain.

  10. says

    Your cake looks worthy of that bakery window you were talking about.
    I didn’t particularly like lemon in caramel or the caramel layer either.

  11. says

    I made a cafe au lait cheesecake that called for fresh lemon juice, but I thought it detracted from the espresso flavor too much, so I know what you’re talking about.

    Great job, and it looks wonderful! The pinwheel design of the caramel pieces really do make it look impressive.

  12. says

    Susan, the trick with caramel is to score it when it is still soft, you could use a pizza cutter slightly oiled. When hardened they simply snap apart.

    Your cake looks amazing, it was all worth the effort I believe.

  13. says

    I’ve bumped into several of the dobos tarts that all of you are making this week and they are all so pretty but yours.. wow! Just gorgeous!!

  14. says

    I honestly don’t know how people can make cakes like that. Never in a million years I could pull anything remotely similar to this masterpiece you did!



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