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.
You know that feeling when you spend hours making a recipe (along with a huge mess) and then the results are disappointing?
The Dobos Torta was *visually* spectacular, but I didn’t end up liking any part of it except the white chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream. I had my suspicions when I realized the cake layers didn’t have any oil or butter in them… The end result was kind of like eating a cake made of dry-ish pancakes with stupendous buttercream between the layers. I thought the toffee layer had too much lemon flavor and it wasn’t enjoyable to eat; the sugar just stuck to my teeth and the roof of my mouth.
As I had hoped, the cake layers *did* absorb some of the moisture of the buttercream overnight, but it wasn’t enough to make much of a difference. Sponge cake is sponge cake, I suppose.
On a positive note, I did enjoy most of the techniques I used to make this cake happen. Baking the cake layers reminded me quite a bit of the tuiles challenge since we had to spread the batter on parchment. I got the best results when I spread the batter and then carefully raised the parchment a few inches and dropped it back onto the counter. This popped the air bubbles in the batter and helped distribute it more evenly than I could do with an offset spatula alone.
This is also the first time I made a Swiss meringue buttercream, which was incredibly delicious. I almost gave up on my first attempt because it just didn’t seem right; I followed the directions to a “t” and allowed my egg-chocolate mixture to cool before adding the butter, but it was so soupy that it seemed hopeless. Thankfully, I went back to the Daring Bakers’ forums and read a post by KayEess, who said her Swiss meringue buttercream always “goes through a gross liquid stage” and then turns out if she keeps beating it. I turned the mixer back on medium-high, walked away for a few minutes, and sure enough, the velvety texture I had been waiting for was materializing when I came back. I’m not sure how well this frosting would hold at room temperature, though, because my leftover buttercream was a liquid mess the next morning. (I had stored the actual cake in the refrigerator overnight.)
So I learned something new without having to deal with the temptation of eating the results. That’s not so bad, is it?
I’m off to (carefully) scrape bits of toffee from my kitchen table and floor… ;)
Recipe link: Dobos Torta