Hungary // Dobos Torte

Hungary was a pretty rough ride.

Usually, I like to think of myself as pretty flexible and resilient when it comes to schedules and getting things done.  But my game has been completely off recently between traveling recently, and preparing for more traveling in the next few months. How many days does it take to get a child’s passport and all the necessary paperwork?  Three. THREE WHOLE DAYS. That’s how many.  

And I ain’t gonna lie, the #suchalotofworldtoeat project has gotten the short end of my falling-apart stick.  When I finally got it together and tried to make Paprikash last week, it was decidedly just meh. Not terrible, but the sauce part of it had almost zero flavor (wrong kind of paprika maybe?) and the chicken tasted like it had sat in a crockpot for 37.592 hours.  So I fell back on my favorite meal of the day– dessert.

Enter the Dobos Torte, aka, the most perfect layer cake I’ve encountered in my life. The torte was created and named after it’s creator, Josef Dobos and presented to the public in Budapest in 1885.   

Usually I’m not a huge fan of cakes, but this one made me stand in the kitchen and brag to Micah that it was the best cake I’d ever eaten, and I was going to say it even if I had made it and that isn’t technically a nice thing to do.  It was tender and moist and flavorful without being just sugary fluff.  The icing was chocolatey and rich, but such a tasteful amount that you didn’t feel like you were going to die from overload. 

Oh, but my version wasn’t exactly perfect, because see those six layers? Um, yeah, traditionally there are seven layers.  But I burned the last one, so six it was.  Also, I skipped the caramel layer that goes on top.  So is it the most technical of all Dobos Tortes?  Nope.  But it tasted amazing, so it comes highly recommended.

Dobos Torte

Makes a seven layer 9-inch round cake (ignore the six layers in my pictures)
Recipe inspiration from many places, but mostly Smitten Kitchen

  • 10 large egg yolks
  • 7 egg whites
  • 1 pound or 3.5 cups confectioners sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 pound semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 sticks or 1/2 pound of butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar

Prepare your cake pans by cutting parchment circles to fit in the bottom of each, then butter and lightly flour each pan. If you only have two pans, precut all of your parchments, and wipe out the pans and rebutter and flour between each baking.  Then preheat the oven to 425 degrees and place a rack in the center of the oven.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (I used my heavy duty hand mixer, but the motor really struggled, so I wouldn’t do that again), beat the egg yolks on medium-high until smooth and lemon colored, about 2-3 minutes.  Gradually beat in the pound of confectioner’s sugar and continue beating until smooth and glossy, occasionally scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Reduce the speed to low and add in the flour and salt, then return to high speed and beat for 5 minutes.  Stir in the 1/2 Tbsp. of vanilla extract.

Making the Cakes: Using a clean bowl (you can transfer the batter to another bowl and then wash the mixer bowl) and beaters, beat eggs whites until they form stiff peaks.  Put a couple of large spoonfuls of the egg whites into the batter and stir– it will be pretty stiff, so you get to work off some of the cake calories before you even consume them. #lifewinOnce the egg whites have softened the mixture, scrape the rest of them in and gently fold them into the cake batter.

Next, spread about a 1/4 inch of the batter into each of the cake pans and bake them on the center rack for 5-8 minutes each, or until they are a very pale golden color and not doughy in the center.  Remove them from the pans and allow to cool.  

Frosting/Filling: While the cakes are cooling, melt the 1/2 lb of chocolate, then allow to cool until room temperature but not hard.  Beat in the butter, vanilla, egg yolks, and confectioners sugar.

Assembling: To assemble the cakes, place one layer on a round cake plate.  Spread a thin layer of the filling evenly over it, and carefully center another layer on top of it.  Repeat this process until all of the layers are filled and stacked, then use the remaining frosting to cover the cake.  Refrigerate until serving, and allow it to sit at room temperature for a few minutes for the chocolate frosting to soften before cutting.  The cake keeps well for at least three days.

Note:  You will have a lot of egg whites leftover from this recipe.  It would be a stellar life choice to make macarons with them.

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