Thursday, August 27, 2009

My First Daring Bakers Challenge!!!

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.

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.

I really enjoyed my first Daring Baker's Challenge! I got all three kids down for a nap, pulled out everything that the instructions called for, prepped all the ingredients and had a ball! None of the components were particularly difficult to make, but I had myself all freaked out and nervous that I over-analyzed everything. That said, it turned out beautifully! And I only set the fire alarm off once, success!

All the required equipment! Aaaahhh!!!

All organized!
Beat the yolks and sugar until light and forms a ribbon.

Huh, a little overly stiff. Oops.

Folding the whites into the yolk mixture.

More folding.

 Sifting and folding.

 More folding.

Done! Might I mention here that folding is not my forte? I am too heavy handed and impatient.

Spreading the cake batter out into a circle.

Ta da!

I started out doing the 'pan dance', then I totally bailed and baked each layer separately, so much easier to keep an eye on things that way.

Beating the eggs for the buttercream.

Looks good!

Onto the double boiler.
Stir in the chocolate. Mmmmm, the chocolate! I used Guittard.
Remove to bowl to cool.

Shaping cooled cake layers. (This went a lot better than I thought it was going to.)

Cut layer for caramel topping.

Pretty, right? Looks like zebra stripes!
Oiled knife and spatula at the ready.
I was afraid I'd burned this layer when I first pulled it out. It is on the overdone side, but the bottom had these pretty stripes, so I used it for the caramel layer!

Heating sugar, lemon juice and water. (Blah. For future reference, do yourself a favor and leave out the lemon juice.)

Made a sugar syrup.

Uuuuuum, use a bigger pan here! Dumb mistake on my part.

No picture of the process here, I needed both hands as the caramel cooled really quickly. I think it helped that I pushed them apart as it was cooling and went around the outside to move the pooling toffee. I can't imagine what a pain it would have been if I'd let it harden!

Time to finish buttercream.

Beating in the butter. Mine was a tad too soft at this point, but my buttercream turned out fine anyway!

Dangerously delicious!

Yeah, I wasn't taking any chances. The recipe said divide into 6 portions, so I divided. 3.5 ounces of buttercream in each ramekin, Baby!
Stacking layers.

Wow, that was easy!

Saved a little time with pre-chopped, toasted hazelnuts. Also, I only had about 12 whole hazelnuts in the house.)

All said, this took me about 3 hours. But I was being super meticulous because I wasn't sure what to expect, so I could probably could have shaved at least an hour (if not more) off that. And I could have done it in stages, which is nice to know for the future. I've decided I didn't really care for the lemon juice in the caramel, it tasted a tad funky and judging from everyone's plates I wasn't the only one who thought so. I definitely will be making this the next time I need an impressive dessert! It was wonderful!

For the full recipe, please visit Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella, here


Megan said...

You did a great job! It loooks fantastic! 1st challenge completed!

Jennie said...

Thank you! You actually had me in a panic about making this! I saw you and Barbara tweeting about it and was all freaked out that I'd ruin it!