Daring Bakers Challenge….Dobos Torta…sigh

Oh woe is me… if you know me, then you know I have a tendency to sigh – great, loud sighs. So imagine me typing this and sighing. Yep – this challenge left me shaking my head while I licked my spatula and wondered why I was unable to properly follow a recipe.

I’m late in posting my August Challenge. I just lost track of time and baked a whole bunch of other things on my list this past month… leaving this challenge on the sidelines. I will admit that I was so excited when I first received the challenge – a Hungarian speciality – baked in my little kitchen in Ottawa! Yay! Only, it didn’t work out as well as the recipe promised. I swear – I tried!!! But alas sometimes it doesn’t matter how good the intentions… sometimes, it just doesn’t work out :0(

Not to say the result doesn’t taste good… I mean, sugar, chocolate and butter combined – it still TASTES good, it’s just become a variation of what I had intended.

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 Caffes of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

This should have been simple enough – a 5 layer sponge-cake with a rich buttercream frosting and topped with thin wedges of caramel. 2 of my 5 layers didn’t bake properly. My caramel tasted of lemon. The only thing I was successful at was the buttercream frosting – I mean, whisking sugar and eggs, adding chocolate and then whisking in 2 sticks of butter – yep, rich chocolate frosting was made.. and licked… you have to taste the good rights?

So my end result was a 3 layered sponge cake, with buttercream frosting and pecans. No caramel. No special effects. This means I need to have another go at it another time…

I’ll provide you with what I did successfully complete though…

Sponge cake layers
6 eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 1/3 c. icing sugar, divided
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c. + 2 tbsp sifted cake flour
pinch of salt

Position the racks in the top and centre thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 400F.

Cut six pieces of parchment paper to fit an 9″ circle template.

Beat the egg yolks, 2/3 c. icing sugar and the vanilla in a medium bowl with a mixer at high speed until the mixture is thick, pale yellow and form thick ribbons with the beaters are lifted out of the batter (3 minutes).

In another bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gradually beat in the remaining 2/3 c. icing sugar until the whites form stiff, shiny peaks. Using a large rubber spatula, stir about 1/4 of the beaten whites into the egg yolk mixture. Fold in the remaining egg whites, leaving a few wisps of white visible.

Combine the flour and salt. Sift half of the flour over the eggs, fold in, and then repeat with the remaining flour.

Line a baking sheet with one piece of the parchment paper that has the circle template. Fill the circle with about 3/4 c. of the batter (fill in the traced circle with the batter using a spatula). Bake on the top rack for 5 minutes. Remove it from heat and place on a wire rack to cool. Meanwhile, bake the remaining layers, one at a time, 5 minutes each on the top rack. Allow all of the layers to cool completely.

Grab an 8″ circle round to trim the layers so that they are all the same size and shape.

While they are cooling you can start on the frosting.

Chocolate Buttercream
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 c. white sugar
4 oz (110g) dark chocolate chips or chocolate finely chopped
2 sticks butter, at room temperature

Bring a large saucepan with an inch or so of water to a boil, bring it down to a simmer. Once the water is ready, combine the eggs and sugar in a large glass bowl. Place the bowl on top of the pot (without the water touching the bottom of it) and whisk the eggs and sugar together (I use my electric beaters for 3 minutes).

Add the chopped chocolate to the egg mixture and continue beating the batter for another 3 minutes (over the simmering water). Remove from the heat, pour into a clean bowl and allow the batter to cool down a little.

Once it’s reached room temperature, slowing start to whisk the mixture adding the butter about 2 tbsp at a time – you’ll notice that it will slowly thicken. Keep your beater going until all the butter has been incorporated. Place the frosting into the fridge to chill – it will thicken up (leave to sit for about an hour). When you’re ready to assemble the cake, remove the frosting from the fridge and allow it to sit for a little bit before using it.

Now this is where everything really fell apart for me (even though by this point I’d already lost 2 of my sponge layers)… I followed the recipe for the caramel and ended up with a sticky lemon syrup – really not the best way to highlight this dessert… so I dumped it and continued to assemble my layers…

I put some of the buttercream on the serving plate and spread it out a little. I then placed the bottom layer on top of it (the buttercream allowed the cake to adhere to the plate and not move). Spread more of the frosting between the layers – cake, frosting, cake, frosting, cake and then more frosting. You’ll want to spread some of the buttercream around the sides as well. I then grabbed some whole pecans and placed them on the sides and top of the cake.

Totally not how it was supposed to turn out… but like I said before, it still tasted rich and delicious… even through all the sighs :0)

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