Daring Bakers August: Twice the Dobos, twice the fun

This has been the most challenging Daring Bakers mission for me so far. Today was a weird day, and not in a good way. I got some pretty bad news, so I was not in a good place to begin with. And I knew I had to make the challenge by myself, because as has been our MO lately, we put off making it to the very last day. Knowing how long it would take to do the challenge, I couldn't wait until Markus got home from work. Thus, I was on my own.

Anticipating a lot of stupid mistakes, eggs and sugar splashing all over the kitchen, and stuff burning to oblivion in the oven, I went baking. But rather than in the company of Murphy, I found myself in a very focused and relaxed place. Things went smoothly, stuff worked the way it was supposed it, there was flow.

Oh, I guess I am supposed to tell you what I was making, huh?
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 had never heard of a Dobos Torta before, but Angela and Lorraine provided us with a bit of neat background history:
The Dobos Torta is a five-layer sponge cake, filled with a rich chocolate buttercream and topped with thin wedges of caramel. (You may come across recipes which have anywhere between six and 12 layers of cake; there are numerous family variations!) It was invented in 1885 by József C. Dobos, a Hungarian baker, and it rapidly became famous throughout Europe for both its extraordinary taste and its keeping properties. The recipe was a secret until Dobos retired in 1906 and gave the recipe to the Budapest Confectioners' and Gingerbread Makers' Chamber of Industry, providing that every member of the chamber can use it freely.
So, today I was going with the flow of the Dobos. There was no way I was going to make a big buttercream-filled cake just for the two of us, so I decided on miniature cake. And since I was doing this last minute, by myself, and with bad news whirling around my brain, I of course opted for two different kinds of miniature cakes. Can't just make one vesion of this kind of tricky, time-consuming cake you've never heard of before, now can you? Nope, obviously not. So, I made one regular chocolate Dobos, and one white chocolate and rasperry.

I halved the recipe, and got started on the sponge cake. I decided to spread the batter out and, using a glass, cut out little disks for cake layers after it was baked. It worked like a charm, and I got 17 disks - meaning 9 layers for one cake, and 8 for the other.

Then came the buttercream, which also went smoothly (as long as you didn't think about OMG, all that butter!!!). However, the white chocolate one was a lot runnier than the normal one. Maybe that has something to do with the properties of white chocolate (which isn't really chocolate)? I had not planned to mix the raspberries in with the buttercream (the idea was some kind of layering within the cake), but let's just say there was a glitch in the flow.

The finishing touch of a Dobos is the caramel decoration. To see how it should look, you can visit our lovely hosts Angela and Lorraine because they know their stuff. Me, I felt that caramel would be poking the flow to hard, risking its disappearance, so I skipped that, sorry to say. But I did stay within the spirit of the challenge, because I made raspberry caramel (toffee?) to decorate the white chocolate-raspberry Dobos with. I used another recipe which I was more comfortable with (and by this time Markus was home so I got help), and it turned out very yummy. Maybe not too practical to eat together with the cake, because it sticks to your teeth like crazy, but it looks nice. For the chocolate Dobos, we just decorated with some chopped up almonds. To add an extra layer of flavor, we also brushed the chocolate Dobos cake layers with Grand Marnier (triple orange) liqueur.

So, how did it taste? Well, very very rich, but also very delicious! At two o'clock this afternoon, I never thought I would have made two finished miniature Dobos Tortas by the end of the evening. This challenge turned what could have been a lousy and stressful day into something enjoyable and relaxing. Thank you Angela and Lorraine! To see the recipes as well as the other Daring Bakers' creations, visit the Daring Kitchen recipe archive and blogroll!

Raspberry caramel/toffee
(adapted from Godis by Maria Öhrn)

(about 30 pieces)

1 dl pureed raspberries, fresh or frozen and thawed
1 tbsp lemon juice
1½ dl cream
2½ dl sugar
1 tbsp light molasses

Line a small tin, no larger than 20*20 cm, with parchment paper. Run the berries through a fine mesh sieve - we skipped that part which meant caramel and raspberry seeds in the teeth. Mix with the lemon juice, and put together with the other ingredients in a pot. Let it boil slowly, stirring frequently, until it reaches the hard-ball stage (120°C). Pour into the pan and let it cool. Cut into squares. Store in a cool, dry place.


  1. WOW! Several flavors in addition to this time consuming challenge! Great job! :)

  2. Beautiful presentation, I love minicakes!

  3. Glad it went so smoothly for you! Love all the variations! Beautiful!

  4. Lovely flavors!! Glad it helped your day as opposed to making it worse :)

  5. I love the creativity! Gorgeous!

  6. Wow...you did such a fantastic job with this month's challenge...beautiful! :)

  7. Kudos to you! There is nothing more rewarding than attempting and completing a very Daring moment.

    I hope you are blessed with peace through this trying time. I'm sorry to hear that you were faced with bad news. Hopefully the clouds will lift soon. I'll think happy thoughts for you in the days ahead.

  8. Gorgeous dobos! I love the idea of the raspberry dobos! YUM! :)

  9. So jealous that your layers are perfectly even! Great job!

  10. Ciao ! I really like your minis ! And the rasperry sticky caramel is really beautiful ! Bravissima !

  11. Beautiful mini cakes - I love your raspberry dobos!

  12. All of your Dobos Tortes turned out gorgeous, from the whole one to the mini's, but I have to say, I'll take the raspberry one with the raspberry toffee. So creatiive and mouth watering!