Mission Mile High

Interior Shot

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.

So, this month’s Daring Bakers challenge was quite an adventure.  As the header says, the hosts selected a dobos torte, which a) is something I’d never heard of before, and b) was yet another recipe from this Kaffeehaus book (as was the strudel I made a few months ago).

At first I was a little bummed that we were doing another recipe from the same book (variety, people!) but after reading through the recipe a few times, I realized that the techniques required were quite different and would be somewhat challenging.  I threw myself into this one wholeheartedly, all the while anticipating wonderful results.

The first part of the recipe calls for you to make 6 layers of sponge cake, as a dobos torte is a multi-layered, stacked dessert.  Being that I didn’t want something so large and so obviously decadent lying around the house for long, I opted to cut the recipe in half in order to make a mini-dobos which would serve the 2 of us nicely.

Egg Whites

Egg whites and icing sugar were beaten to a pulp, until they formed light, fluffy little clouds.  The remainder of the cake ingredients were then carefully folded in so as not to deflate the foam.

Cake Template

Using a circular lid as a template, I traced 6 circles onto a piece of parchment paper and spread the cake batter evenly between them.

Sponge Rounds

After baking them briefly, I was left with 6 puffy little sponge cake layers that were reminiscent of the angel food cake I’d made recently.

Honey Cream

A classic dobos is doused with a heavy dose of chocolate buttercream icing, but I for one don’t care for icing, and I really dislike buttercream, so I decided to go somewhat lighter by frothing up a honeyed whipped cream. In the end I added a bit too much honey, so the flavour was really strong, but I figured it would still make an acceptable addition to the cake once all of the other flavour components were assembled.

Assemblage

Next, I thought I would take the dobos and dress it up as my version of a strawberry shortcake; mile high and packed with fresh strawberry slivers.  I layered a plank of them on top of the first sponge, then topped it with a layer of cream.

Layered

I added another sponge and repeated the process, reserving one round to use as a garnish.  By the time it was assembled, the cake was close to 6 inches tall, and exhibited beautiful contrast between the snow white cream and the blood red berries.

Frosted

Next I applied a sealing coat of whipped cream to the outside and the top of the cake, smoothing everything along with my trusty offset spatula.  I set the cake in its dome in the fridge to cool down while I prepared the dobos topping; a layer of sponge triangles covered in caramel.

Caramel Coated

A simple sugar caramel was cooked up on the stove, and once golden and sticky it was poured over top of the remaining sponge layer, which I split into 6 equal triangular pieces beforehand.  A quick shot in the freezer caused the caramel to set up right quick, so I peeled back the parchment paper and began lining the caramel garnish up on the top of the cake.  I snuck a little corner of the garnish to sample, and I found the caramel to be completely  unappetizing, so I opted to remove the offensive little shards, instead.

Cakelet

Once the cake cooled and the whipped cream set up, it was a huge hit, especially with the Everyman.  I still thought the honeyed whipped cream was overpowering, but he certainly liked it, so I let him polish off the bulk of the cake.  It may not have been prepared exactly as intended, but I found the whole exercise to be beneficial for honing my cake-making skills, which have always been sub par in comparison to my cooking.  While definitely a learning experience, it’ll probably be a while before I decide to repeat this again.

Until next time…

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