Dobos Torta


One of the thing I love about being a DB is the chance of making  multi layer cakes as challenges, which normally I tried to avoid, because no matter how easy the recipes are, they need a lot of time, patience and high synchronisation of hands and mind… the last point is really not my strongest character 😉 … so please my fellow DB’ers except me for my clumbsiness and approve my humble dobos tortas just as they are and hopefully my skill of making and decorating layer cake will become better in years to come 😛


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.



  • 2 baking sheets
  • 9” (23cm) springform tin and 8” cake tin, for templates
  • mixing bowls (1 medium, 1 large)
  • a sieve
  • a double boiler (a large saucepan plus a large heat-proof mixing bowl which fits snugly over the top of the pan)
  • a small saucepan
  • a whisk (you could use a balloon whisk for the entire cake, but an electric hand whisk or stand mixer will make life much easier)
  • metal offset spatula
  • sharp knife
  • a 7 1/2” cardboard cake round, or just build cake on the base of a sprinfrom tin.
  • piping bag and tip, optional

Prep times

  • Sponge layers 20 mins prep, 40 mins cooking total if baking each layer individually.
  • Buttercream: 20 mins cooking. Cooling time for buttercream: about 1 hour plus 10 minutes after this to beat and divide.
  • Caramel layer: 10-15 minutes.
  • Assembly of whole cake: 20 minutes

Sponge cake layers

  • 6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups (162g) confectioner’s (icing) sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (112g) sifted cake flour (SUBSTITUTE 95g plain flour + 17g cornflour (cornstarch) sifted together)
  • pinch of salt

Chocolate Buttercream

  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) caster (ultrafine or superfine white) sugar
  • 4oz (110g) bakers chocolate or your favourite dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons (250g) unsalted butter, at room temperature.

Caramel topping

  • 1 cup (200g) caster (superfine or ultrafine white) sugar
  • 12 tablespoons (180 ml) water
  • 8 teaspoons (40 ml) lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil (e.g. grapeseed, rice bran, sunflower)

Finishing touches

  • a 7” cardboard round
  • 12 whole hazelnuts, peeled and toasted
  • ½ cup (50g) peeled and finely chopped hazelnuts

Directions for the sponge layers:

NB. The sponge layers can be prepared in advance and stored interleaved with parchment and well-wrapped in the fridge overnight.

1.Position the racks in the top and centre thirds of the oven and heat to 400F (200C).
2.Cut six pieces of parchment paper to fit the baking sheets. Using the bottom of a 9″ (23cm) springform tin as a template and a dark pencil or a pen, trace a circle on each of the papers, and turn them over (the circle should be visible from the other side, so that the graphite or ink doesn’t touch the cake batter.)
3.Beat the egg yolks, 2/3 cup (81g) of the confectioner’s (icing) sugar, and the vanilla in a medium bowl with a mixer on high speed until the mixture is thick, pale yellow and forms a thick ribbon when the beaters are lifted a few inches above the batter, about 3 minutes. (You can do this step with a balloon whisk if you don’t have a mixer.)

4.In another bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 2/3 cup (81g) of confectioner’s (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, then fold in the remainder, leaving a few wisps of white visible. Combine the flour and salt. Sift half the flour over the eggs, and fold in; repeat with the remaining flour.
5.Line one of the baking sheets with a circle-marked paper. Using a small offset spatula, spread about 3/4cup of the batter in an even layer, filling in the traced circle on one baking sheet. Bake on the top rack for 5 minutes, until the cake springs back when pressed gently in the centre and the edges are lightly browned. While this cake bakes, repeat the process on the other baking sheet, placing it on the centre rack. When the first cake is done, move the second cake to the top rack. Invert the first cake onto a flat surface and carefully peel off the paper. Slide the cake layer back onto the paper and let stand until cool. Rinse the baking sheet under cold running water to cool, and dry it before lining with another parchment. Continue with the remaining papers and batter to make a total of six layers. Completely cool the layers. Using an 8″ springform pan bottom or plate as a template, trim each cake layer into a neat round. (A small serrated knife is best for this task.)

Directions for the chocolate buttercream:

NB. This can be prepared in advance and kept chilled until required.

1.Prepare a double-boiler: quarter-fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to a boil.
2.Meanwhile, whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale and thickened, about five minutes. You can use a balloon whisk or electric hand mixer for this.
3.Fit bowl over the boiling water in the saucepan (water should not touch bowl) and lower the heat to a brisk simmer. Cook the egg mixture, whisking constantly, for 2-3 minutes until you see it starting to thicken a bit. Whisk in the finely chopped chocolate and cook, stirring, for a further 2-3 minutes.
4.Scrape the chocolate mixture into a medium bowl and leave to cool to room temperature. It should be quite thick and sticky in consistency.
5.When cool, beat in the soft butter, a small piece (about 2 tablespoons/30g) at a time. An electric hand mixer is great here, but it is possible to beat the butter in with a spatula if it is soft enough. You should end up with a thick, velvety chocolate buttercream. Chill while you make the caramel topping.

Lorraine’s note: If you’re in Winter just now your butter might not soften enough at room temperature, which leads to lumps forming in the buttercream. Male sure the butter is of a very soft texture I.e. running a knife through it will provide little resistance, before you try to beat it into the chocolate mixture. Also, if you beat the butter in while the chocolate mixture is hot you’ll end up with more of a ganache than a buttercream!

Directions for the caramel topping:

1.Choose the best-looking cake layer for the caramel top. To make the caramel topping: Line a jellyroll pan with parchment paper and butter the paper. Place the reserved cake layer on the paper. Score the cake into 12 equal wedges. Lightly oil a thin, sharp knife and an offset metal spatula.
2.Stir the sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over a medium heat, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. Once dissolved into a smooth syrup, turn the heat up to high and boil without stirring, swirling the pan by the handle occasionally and washing down any sugar crystals on the sides of the pan with a wet brush until the syrup has turned into an amber-coloured caramel.
3.The top layer is perhaps the hardest part of the whole cake so make sure you have a oiled, hot offset spatula ready. I also find it helps if the cake layer hasn’t just been taken out of the refrigerator. I made mine ahead of time and the cake layer was cold and the toffee set very, very quickly—too quickly for me to spread it. Immediately pour all of the hot caramel over the cake layer. You will have some leftover most probably but more is better than less and you can always make nice toffee pattern using the extra to decorate. Using the offset spatula, quickly spread the caramel evenly to the edge of the cake layer. Let cool until beginning to set, about 30 seconds. Using the tip of the hot oiled knife (keep re-oiling this with a pastry brush between cutting), cut through the scored marks to divide the caramel layer into 12 equal wedges. Cool another minute or so, then use the edge of the knife to completely cut and separate the wedges using one firm slice movement (rather than rocking back and forth which may produce toffee strands). Cool completely.

Assembling the Dobos

1.Divide the buttercream into six equal parts.
2.Place a dab of chocolate buttercream on the middle of a 7 1/2” cardboard round and top with one cake layer. Spread the layer with one part of the chocolate icing. Repeat with 4 more cake layers. Spread the remaining icing on the sides of the cake.
3.Optional: press the finely chopped hazelnuts onto the sides of the cake.
4.Propping a hazelnut under each wedge so that it sits at an angle, arrange the wedges on top of the cake in a spoke pattern. If you have any leftover buttercream, you can pipe rosettes under each hazelnut or a large rosette in the centre of the cake. Refrigerate the cake under a cake dome until the icing is set, about 2 hours. Let slices come to room temperature for the best possible flavour.


  1. So lovely. They are like little individual versions, no? Just adorable.

  2. So dainty! Your mini Dobos Tortas look fabulous! Just like in a coffee shop!



  3. That looks wonderful! I love the idea of a mini Dobos 🙂 And thankyou for embracing the spirit of DB 🙂

  4. while i love db for improving my skills too, i dont think yours is clumbsy.

  5. Beautiful mini Dobos, just the perfect size for eating with a cup of strong coffee! I love how clean and sharp the caramel wedge on top is.

  6. What a beautiful piece of cake!!Perfectly done.

  7. Perfectly done Zita! 🙂

    • MandyM
    • August 27th, 2009

    Your buttercream came out so beautifully dark and luxurious. Lovely work 🙂

  8. wow! great job!!! very impressive 🙂

  9. These are so cute Zita. They look perfect and not clumsy at all.

  10. Nice pictures… and your chocolate buttercream is really dark and appealing. I barely achieved anything like that! The cake looks delicious!!


    • Julie
    • August 27th, 2009

    Gorgeous photos and cakes!

  11. What exactly are you aplogizing for? All I can see is squares of lovely layered chocolate cake.

  12. Now I think I need another slice, so I can have a nice strong cup of coffee with it! Beautifully done, and lovely photographs!

    • pragmaticattic
    • August 27th, 2009

    Oh, just too charming looking! Love it.

  13. I love your second last photo. It shows the layers very nicely!

  14. love your photos!

  15. Beautiful Dobos Torta and I love your photos 🙂 Great job! Cheers.

    • E
    • August 27th, 2009

    Wonderful…and nice suggestion using rice oil!!!

  16. Humble!? Those look amazing! Great job!

  17. Those mini square dobos are perfect! So cute and they look delicious. Love every single photo! 🙂

  18. Lovely aesthetic!

  19. That. is. CUTE!

  20. I love your take on this recipe! So petite and darling!

  21. Pretty photos! Your tortes look delicious. 🙂

    • Malin
    • August 28th, 2009

    Beautiful! That buttercream looks really rich and decadent. I was thinking of adding nuts too, but I was too lazy. You see I’m also impatient and clumbsy! 😉

  22. Looks yummy! Love the photos! Congrats on the great job!

  23. Wow, this torte looks delicious…so pretty…yummie…it would me nice if I could only have a bite of if 🙂

  24. mba, propnya lucu2 banget d. That torte is GORGEOUS!! I wanna.. =)

  25. Nice cake! You must have got the hands and mind well synchronised very well.

  26. WOW! If perfection had a name, it would have found it here…

  27. looks lovely ^^ .. yummy yum! I didn’t make it this time unfortunately … have a fun weekend 🙂 XOOX

  28. Zita, are you kidding? NOT clumsy at all, beautifully executed and eye catching! They look darling and super delicious. Amazing job!!

  29. Gorgeous job! Your tortas are stunning, and the photos are beautiful =D.

  30. I love your photos. Makes me want to sit down and have bite with a nice cup of afternoon coffee. Great job.

  31. They are fabulous! I love your presentation. You are very talented!

  32. I love the look of your cake layers. And stunning photos!!

    • Y
    • August 30th, 2009

    What mouth watering photos. I love how dark your buttercream turned out too. Mine was lighter than I would’ve wanted it to be.

  33. Clumsy or not I’m sure they were as delicious 😉

  34. Your mini dobos are just ‘dobostastic’ Zita. Lovely! Wish I’d made mini ones too. Beautiful pictures! WOW!!

  35. Gorgeous! Not clumsy at all!

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: