Friday, April 27, 2012

Dobos Torta

A Hungarian 7-layer sponge cake, filled with chocolate buttercream, topped with caramel-coated cake slices and garnished with toasted hazelnuts.

photo courtesy: cake hour blog
Dobos Torta 
modified from 2009 Daring Bakers ChallengeSmitten KitchenJoe Pastry 

2 baking sheets
7" cake ring, for template
mixing bowls (1 medium, 1 large)
small saucepan
hand-held mixer
metal offset spatula
sharp knife
10” cardboard cake round
piping bag and tip, optional

8 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups (162g) confectioner's (icing) sugar, divided
1 tsp (5g) pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 Tbs (112g) Sifted cake flour (substitute: 95g plain flour + 17g cornstarch sifted together)
pinch of sea salt

1. Position the racks in the top and center thirds of the oven and heat to 425° F.
2. Cut four pieces of parchment paper to fit the baking sheets. Using a 7" cake ring as a template and a pencil, trace 2 circles on each of the papers, and turn them over (the circles should be close together and visible from the other side, so that the graphite or ink doesn't touch the cake batter. If you want, you can also make miniature rounds in the spaces between the larger circles, for mini cakes).
3. Beat the egg yolks, 2/3 cup (81g) of the confectioner's 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.
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 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 1 cup of the batter in an even layer, filling in the traced circles 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 center 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 eight layers (4 baking sheets). Completely cool the layers. Using a 7" cake ring as a template, trim each cake layer into a neat round. (A small serrated knife is best for this task).

Note: The sponge layers can be prepared in advance and stored, interleaved with parchment paper and well-wrapped, in the fridge, overnight. This recipe may make more than 8 layers, depending on the thickness of each layer. Extra layers are useful so you can choose the best-looking one for the caramel topping; most people make this cake with 5-7 layers but a 12+ layer cake would also be pretty darn awesome.

1/2 pound (8 ounces or 227 grams) semi- or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 pound (2 sticks or 226 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Melt chocolate until smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature, but of course not so cool that it hardens again. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter until soft and smooth, scraping frequently. Add vanilla and 3 egg yolks. Add sugar and cooled chocolate, beating until thoroughly mixed and scraping as needed.

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon water

Lightly grease a sheet of parchment paper. Place last cake layer on this sheet (if it just came out of the fridge, warm it up a bit in the microwave - you want it to be a little above room temperature so the caramel doesn't solidify upon contact). Cut the cake into 12 equal wedges and reassemble into a circle. Lightly butter the knife and a metal spatula, and set aside. Combine the sugar and water in a small, heavy saucepan and swirl it until the sugar melts and begins to turn a pale amber color. Quickly and carefully, pour this (you’ll have a bit of extra) over the prepared cake layer and spread it evenly with an offset spatula, right over the outer edges. Using prepared knife or cutter, quickly cut layer as you wish. Leave in place, then cool completely. Once fully cooled, cut edges of shapes again, to ensure that you can remove them cleanly.

Place a dab of chocolate buttercream on the middle of a 10” cardboard round and top with one cake layer. Spread the layer with about 1/3 cup of the chocolate icing. Repeat with 6 more cake layers. Spread the remaining icing on the sides of the cake (a bench scraper is handy for smoothing out the sides). Optional: press the finely chopped hazelnuts onto the sides of the cake. 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 before serving.