Daring Bakers August 2009 – Is My Dobos Burning?

August 27th, 2009

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.

Well, it's technically BURNED, though not BURNING.

Well, it's technically BURNED, though not BURNING.

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.

Fun with hot sugar.

Fun with hot sugar.

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.

Seriously, the cake was the exact size and shape of a brick. Tastiest brick ever!

Seriously, the cake was the exact size and shape of a brick. Tastiest brick ever!

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.

Count 'em! Six!

Count 'em! Six!

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.

Uhoh, the buttercream is getting melty...*lick*

Uhoh, the buttercream is getting melty...*lick*

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.

Yeah, so they're not the straightest layers ever, but it's not like it matters. It all ends up the same in the end...

Yeah, so they're not the straightest layers ever, but it's not like it matters. It all ends up the same in the end...

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.

Agh! Throw it out the window!...Wait, don't!

Agh! Throw it out the window!...Wait, don't!

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.

Thanks to Lorraine and Angela for such a fun and beautiful challenge! Now that I’m done writing about mine I can go check out some of the other lovely cakes out there on the internet today!

19 Responses to “Daring Bakers August 2009 – Is My Dobos Burning?”

  1. Esi says:

    Nice job!! Yeah, I actually liked making the cake, but putting it together is where I failed. I agree…that chocolate buttercream was a dream!

  2. Julie says:

    Lovely caramel flames!!

  3. Lilly says:

    Anna- Wish I could have been there to enjoy it with you. It is just lovely and I love the idea of the violet syrup. What is this daring bakers? Would love to check it out!

  4. Caitlin says:

    Hahaha – love the flames! And no, I wouldn’t want to frost the inside of a crescent either *shudder*

  5. Jenni says:

    Your cake looks great! And I love the flames. I would be interested to hear how your violet syrup changed the taste – I have never used violet syrup before. Creative idea!

  6. Your Dobos looks beautiful – I love the caramel on top! I think it was a good idea to skip the caramel soaked layer!

  7. Anna, you have done excellent job with the caramel. They are fabulous! Just love them!

    And your layering is fantastic. I wish I have achieved the nice deep chocolate color of your buttercream. It is really outstanding.


  8. Aparna says:

    I’ve got to say that that’s a very unusual and beautiful torte.

  9. jennywenny says:

    I love your caramel, very cool! I enjoyed my cake but that texture just isnt my thing. I definitely enjoyed the assembled cake much more than the scraps though.

  10. sarah says:

    SO cool that you can play with sugar like that! Good job.

  11. wowsers!!! your caramel looks awesome, very artistic! I don’t think I’d be able to pull that off, great work. Like you, I loved the buttercream, hahah I think a little too much if my scale is anything to go by

  12. Y says:

    Haha I like your tasty “brick”, Anna! And the decorations are very inspired!

  13. I like the “fire” on top. Very nice indeed!

  14. anda says:

    I love the caramel decorations on your cake. Great job.

  15. Cynthia says:

    Lovely, luscious layers. And those photos with the blue background are wonderful, too. Reminds me of the Starry Night painting. Were you able to taste the violet syrup after you refrigerated it?

  16. Hannah says:

    Wow, beautiful caramel! I love how much motion and life you gave to simple pieces of burnt sugar… Amazing!

  17. Anna says:

    I was missing this beauty!
    I love that caramel, pretty cool!
    Good job!

  18. isa says:

    Your cake looks awesome – love your violet syrup! And your caramel is fantastic!

  19. Carolyn Jung says:

    It’s beautiful. And it DOES look like flames. It makes me think this would be the perfect treat for the next Nascar race winner. Heck, who needs a trophy when you can have cake instead? ;)

Leave a Reply