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dobos torte

Notes: 

This dobos torte, as far as I’m concerned, is rare among really showy cakes in that it tastes even awesomer than it looks, and that days later, its as good if not better than it was the first day it was made. Personally, I always pause before making sponge cakes, and they can be a little dry and a bit dull. But this one, with an insanely buttery dark chocolate frosting sandwiching it’s pancake-like layers, manages to be neither, and has a softness you wouldn’t expect from something that slices so neatly. In the fridge, that shell-like chocolate exterior locks in the moisture for days.

I detoured from tradition in a few ways. First, I made more layers than the requisite 7. You’re welcome to make your cake layers as thin as you can bake them up, as most pastry chefs enjoy challenging themselves to. You can double or quadruple the cake recipe and make a staggering stack of a cake, too. 35 for a 35th birthday, anyone?

I also made the cake rectangular as this was how I remembered it most fondly, and allowed me to minimize my baking and fussing. Although round cakes are more traditional, I felt extra validated by my choice when I consulted George Lang’s The Cuisine of Hungary and found that he, too, advised a squared-off cake and the least fussy baking approach. If you have an oven that fits a 12×17-inch pan (mine, alas, does not) you can bake this entire cake in 5 minutes, and divide the layer in a 6-high cake.

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Ingredients: 

I made this cake lazily, with several long interruptions, over a span of 5 hours. With more focus, I believe it can be done in 3 hours. With good planning and the rev of a strong cup of coffee, I suspect it could be pulled off in 2 hours, but hardly think that would be much fun.

Here are some shaping/stacking options. For each, you can make additional layers if you feel comfortable baking your cake layers thinner:

A 7-layer 9-inch round cake (the most traditional)
A 14-layer 6-inch round (would serve fewer people but have tall, showy slices)
A 12-layer 4×8-inch cake (my method, baked in 4 quarter-sheet pans, each divided into thirds)
A 6-layer 4×8.5-inch cake (the more traditional rectangle, baked in a single 12×17-inch sheet pan)

Cake layers:
7 large eggs, separated
3 large egg yolks
1 pound (3 1/2 cups or 455 grams) confectioners’ sugar, plus extra for dusting racks
3/4 cup (94 grams or 3 1/3 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon table salt

Frosting and filling:
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

Caramel layer (optional)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon water
Handful of toasted, peeled hazelnuts


 

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