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.
Since I got my challenge done a little late in the month this time around, I was able to observe several other Daring Bakers’ reactions to this recipe before embarking on my own Dobos Quest. One of the things I noticed a lot of people saying was that they didn’t like the top caramel-soaked layer of cake, pretty as it is.
So I decided to forego that whole thing entirely, though with the shape my cake ended up taking on there are a lot of interesting patterns I could have made with a top layer like that. BUT, I decided to just play with some caramel on its own for the top.
Of course I had the caramel drizzled on the Silpat, THEN I remembered the totally awesome pulled sugar demo Chef did for us in class the other day, which involved pulling and kneading caramelized sugar until it looked like pure gold. If I had thought it out a bit better I could have (maybe) done a gorgeous golden ribbon, but I ended up with splatters that were nowhere near as delicate as what I originally wanted. However they did look quite a bit like flames, so I bent the bottoms to form bases and stuck the shards on top of the cake.
Since it’s just little old me alone in my apartment right now (and Bowser doesn’t eat cake), I halved the recipe and decided to bake the sponge cake in one large sheet and cut it into whatever shape I ultimately wanted for the cake.
I considered trying a crescent shape for an extra-fancy little cake but decided to go with a good old rectangle. Besides, neatly frosting the inside of a tiny crescent? No thank you.
I brushed the layers with a little Monin violet syrup, just for fun. The day I made it I couldn’t taste the syrup and everything was a bit too sweet for me, but after a day in the fridge, the cold dulled the sweetness and everything was much yummier! The caramel got a little gummy and melty from the humidity in my wacky fridge, but that just makes it easier to eat I think – not as shattery and sharp.
I really enjoyed this challenge for many reasons – I’ve never made sponge cake before, but I am really a fan of anything that involves whipping egg whites and folding them into something! And I like the texture of it. A lot of people said it was too dry, which it probably would be if I hadn’t brushed it with the syrup, but I did…so…nyah! I also REALLY loved the chocolate buttercream. It was some tasty stuff! I used some really nice super dark chocolate and it turned out yummmmmy.