Malto Mario


The Lady & Sons

1,000 Italian Recipes

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dobos Torta

Well.. I'm at a loss. This cake had promise.. I was excited about it. First thing I thought about was strawberries. I wanted a strawberry cake with dark chocolate buttercream. And after a chat with a certain French lady I happen to know, I was even more excited because she came up with the solution of how to incorporate strawberries into the cake.. by pulverizing the freeze-dried strawberries I had into a fine power and adding it instead of pureed strawberries because not only would the powder flavor the cake it would color it and not cause it to turn out gray.. works for me, the Queen of Run-On Sentences.

And then I read the recipe and it all went straight to hell.

BUT FIRST! A word from our sponsors... hehe

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 see the Baking Gods weren't smiling upon me. Imagine that. I even think they are tired of laughing and pointing at me.. now they just turn their Godly backs towards me. I've bored them with my total lack of improvement in the "folding" arts.

I know how to fold. I was taught IN PERSON by MY GURU. I was taught WELL. But when I am faced with a recipe that is all about fakkin folding, my palms start to sweat. My mouth goes dry. I frown. I know before the spatula touches the batter that I'm going to FAIL. Ohhh and when I read that you have to fold the wet stuff.. AND THEN fold the dry stuff well I about lost the contents of my bladder.

I just can't stop folding.. it's those fakkin white whispy streaks.. I HATE THEM. They MUST BLEND IN DAMMIT. I fear they'll show up in my baked product and ewww who wants white trails through their cake? Not I, my friends. Not I.

So I keep folding.. and folding.. and soon I've got a consistent color with absolutely no fluff. And I look at it, every single time amazed at what I had just done. Like I'm surprised or something. WTF? I can't stop myself. So my batter ended up being about 1/2 of what I believe I should have ended up with.

I went with 3/4 cup for each layer.. and each layer turned out like.. well.. pita bread. Lavash. Rubbery and flaccid. And yet they were also dry as the Mojave. Oh and I only had enough batter for 5 droopy layers. But what the hell, the buttercream will make it all better! Right?

Mmm hmm..

I went with my go-to buttercream recipe.. Jacques Torres' to be exact. Italian Meringue Buttercream. It's to die for. I've made it several times and each time it's come out perfectly. I had no worries. I knew this buttercream was going to save this cake, just like it did the infamous crepe cake of long ago.. *shudder*

Yeah. No.

Apparently, my eggs got too hot. I must have drizzled the sugar syrup in too quickly. I admit I wasn't concentrating on it, since I was full of so much OC (over confidence) - and I know better than that. You'll never make your shot if you've got the OC going on. I learned that in the poolhalls and bars of my younger days.. good times. Good times. Anyhoo.. so I overheated the eggs, so says My Guru. And when you overheat your eggs, your buttercream doesn't stay fluffy after you add the butter.. instead it turns into a thick glaze. Horse Pucky!!

I threw it in the fridge overnight.. and THANK THE BABY JEBUS it didn't separate or deflate even more.. it turned out okay.. other than it melts the second room temperature air hits it. But that's okay, it tastes so good that I could eat it on a cake or drink it through a straw.. makes no nevermind to me. Keep in mind, I haven't had buttercream or any kind of cake for 3 months now. I could bathe in the stuff and be a happy woman.

So I frosted (HAR!) my strawberry flatbread cake layers after I brushed them with strawberry syrup and called it DONE. No caramel. Oohh hells no. There just wasn't a snowball's chance in hell that I was going to f*ck with the Baking Gods a third time. Sorry, kids. Lissee knows when to scream UNCLE.

The cake was excellent if you like chocolate buttercream covered crackers. There was no strawberry taste whatsoever. The texture was so far off that I really can't even call this a cake. It was more like a molded hunk of buttercream with cracker-like separators. I ended up peeling the "cake" off the buttercream and yes, I ate all of the buttercream. ALL OF IT. And my slice was sliverish (not like the hunk I cut for my horrible photos), yet I'll wager it weighed 3 pounds. You just have to appreciate the miracle of butter, sugar and chocolate.

There were way too many amazed and happy Daring Bakers for me to think this was just a bad cake. No, I know it's a damn good recipe, I just blew it. Again. Gah. Many thanks to both Angela and Lorraine, they were fabulous hostesses and this was a great challenge! Not one I'll repeat, thankyouverymuch. :P But it really was a great challenge, we learned techniques and were still given enough leeway for creativity to make these cakes our own. Well done, girls! :)

So do yourselves a favor and leave this blog now.. run far, far away from it and check out the Daring Baker blogroll to find hundreds of gorgeous and tasty cakes to drool over!

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Comments on "Dobos Torta"


Anonymous Julie (Willow Bird Baking) said ... (8/27/2009 8:03 PM) : 

It LOOKS good, and I like your photos! So sorry it was a ton of trouble and not a great result :( But you know -- you took a risk! It was worth it!


Blogger maybelle's mom said ... (8/27/2009 8:07 PM) : 

okay, hilarious post--at least those freeze dreied strawberries didnt get pulverized in vein.


Blogger Helene said ... (8/27/2009 8:09 PM) : 

YOu would not have told me or called me I would never have been able to tell...that's how good it looks!
Next time I come visit, we are doing 3 days of straight folding!!


Blogger Dips said ... (8/27/2009 8:14 PM) : was a disappointment...atleast we tried :(


Blogger Celeste said ... (8/27/2009 8:30 PM) : 

Well, it sure does LOOK yummy...Your story had me laughing out loud! My icing melted at room temp too...oh well. ;)


Blogger Jenni said ... (8/27/2009 9:35 PM) : 

Oh poor thing!! I totally understand about the folding - I never know when to quit, and I always fear about streaks of cooked egg inside my cake. Ew. But yeah, I agree with the others that your torte LOOKED really good! I can't believe it didn't have any strawberry flavor! Sad day! At least you tried!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8/27/2009 9:44 PM) : 

Girlfriend, you are just too funny!

P.S. I hated my horror-of-horrors too, but I'm evidently driving a bus full of wantabees. Care to join us?


Let's just blame it on that set of gods you have dancing in the kitchen. Oh, do me a favor...tell them I've moved.


Blogger Kat said ... (8/27/2009 9:47 PM) : 

Holy cow you're funny! I thought I was having troubles all the way through, as well, but I used my happy lens on the camera so it looks okay in retrospect. I also had my daughter helping me, so I had to keep a stiff upper lip and set the good example.
her: do we have to post it?
me: yes
her: does the post have to have a picture?
me: yes
her: do you think we could go buy one somewhere?
me: no. we completed it and that's success.
her: you should use your fancy lens to take photos.
me: good call. you can stay up late tonight.
her: okay. do we have to eat the cake?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8/27/2009 9:49 PM) : 

OMG, ya know I just love the FAKK outta ya!!! I laughed my ass off and you know you can testify that musta been a lotta laughing!!!! Despite your problems, it is exactly as Helene said, Had you not said a thing" looks divine!!!!


Anonymous raquel said ... (8/27/2009 10:06 PM) : 

i just about lost all the contents of my bladder, too, while reading your post! and i felt like throwing that fakkin spatula at the gods for making you feel frustrated!!! LOL. and inspite of all that, your torte still looked fabulous.


Anonymous Kim said ... (8/27/2009 10:21 PM) : 

Just wanted to say a few things.
1.) LOVE your blog.
2.) I'm SO sorry to hear about your troubles. I've been there with souffles...and many many other things. I think we all can relate.
3.) Despite everything, it looks absolutely sinful!
4.) Don't let the folding beat you! You will divide and conquer.


Blogger Jill @ Jillicious Discoveries said ... (8/27/2009 11:06 PM) : 

Your pictures look beautiful and calm--if I didn't know the story behind the torta, I would have thought everything went smoothly. I love that you are so honest with your experiences! :)


Blogger Fahrenheit 350° said ... (8/27/2009 11:07 PM) : 

Just like everyone says... no one would have known. The difference between you and me is that despite the background of what may or may not have happened during the baking process, yours looks delicious and beautiful and mine looks disgusting. Making it look good, is 99% of the trouble!


Anonymous Holly said ... (8/28/2009 12:03 AM) : 

I'm sorry it didn't turn out the way you wanted it to. It looks fabulous in the pictures though!


Blogger PAM said ... (8/28/2009 12:30 AM) : 

You are too funny. Loved your post and your Dobos looks great even if it didn't taste the way it should. I don't think the torte is all that great, even when its made perfectly.


Blogger Meeta K. Wolff said ... (8/28/2009 2:39 AM) : 

lisa too hilarious. but i think many had trouble with some aspect of this cake. you were right to flavor the sponge layers because they were tasteless. your cake looks great though if i had not read your post i would not have known!


Blogger Aparna Balasubramanian said ... (8/28/2009 4:55 AM) : 

I think you've managed to turn out a decent Dobos despite your "overfolding". At least, that's what it looks like from your picture.
Sometimes,. even when the recipe is right it might not be right for us. :)


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8/28/2009 5:34 AM) : 

Lol! Sounds like you had a lot of... fun? ;)
At least you persevered!


Blogger Cook the Books said ... (8/28/2009 7:43 AM) : 

I did not like this cake either!! However, my post is not nearly as humorous as yours :) Looking forward to September's recipe.


Blogger Audax said ... (8/28/2009 8:16 AM) : 

Well your post made me smile and laugh then wince and then laugh again. At least the photo looks fab and you did get to eat a lot of buttercream. I love the idea of the powdered berries. Wonderful post and the pictures look superb and the backstory is so funny. Cheers from Audax in Australia


Blogger Lauren said ... (8/28/2009 11:04 AM) : 

Wonderful post! The torta looks great, even if the buttercream was the only good part =D.


Blogger Mary said ... (8/28/2009 11:55 AM) : 

My layers were wafer thin and rubbery too. I did make the buttercream that came with the recipe and it was really soft, but delicious. I ate it around the cake too! :)


Anonymous Lisa said ... (8/28/2009 12:04 PM) : 

Lis, your cake turned out so aesthetically gorgeous, I was surprised when I read the first few paragraphs, but truthfully, kind of pysched, because I knew it was going to be funny!. That said, hey, I love chocolate covered crackers, so I'd eat every last crumb - seriously! All that matters is flavor, so send me some!! I ghad the opposite problem,,turned out light and fluffy, delicious, but they all looked like sheet! Sloppy, rushed work and my FIXED' camera broke again!

Also LOL@ your whole post. Once again, 'You make my Day' :) *hugs xxx*


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8/28/2009 12:13 PM) : 

Your description of folding cracked me up because I can completely relate!


Blogger minisuperbias said ... (8/28/2009 1:20 PM) : 

:( better luck next time. i'm sure it still tasted great, though!


Anonymous Wolf said ... (8/28/2009 2:07 PM) : 

ROTFL, and people think MY posts are funny}:P

It's good to know I'm not the only one who has failcakes occasionally}:P


Blogger Rose said ... (8/28/2009 3:22 PM) : 

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA "The cake was excellent if you like chocolate buttercream covered crackers." Hilarious :) What you may have 'messed up' in the making of this cake, you triple in providing towering layers of humor :D


Blogger Jennywenny said ... (8/28/2009 5:48 PM) : 

You are so funny! I think I had a similar thing, I know I folded in a little bit of the egg whites first, quickly, then it seems to make it easier to fold in the rest, but I can appreciate that anguish of just folding and folding and it still not being combined!

I think my cake was the same as yours though, a chewy sponge, but it definitely improved when slathered with buttercream!

Thanks for giving me a chuckle!


Blogger Caribbean Dreamer said ... (8/28/2009 10:27 PM) : 

That's okay last attempt at sponge cake turned out a lovely floor mat for my car! Love ya!


Blogger Kitchenlander said ... (8/29/2009 3:25 AM) : 

Ha, you mademe laugh!
But really, the slice looks perfect!


Blogger Valerie Harrison (bellini) said ... (8/30/2009 8:41 AM) : 

I am sure this Hungarian treat tasted delicious with or without caramel.


Blogger Vanesuky said ... (8/31/2009 4:47 AM) : 

Hello Lis,

I have a problem. I've been on holidays.Can I still participate?



Blogger Jenny said ... (9/01/2009 12:44 PM) : 

Hehe well it looks pretty good, so no one would know it tasted like crackers if you didn't tell them!


Anonymous Juliana said ... (9/01/2009 4:13 PM) : 

Wow, the torta looks so spite of the "troubles" nice pictures!


Anonymous George@CulinaryTravels said ... (9/03/2009 12:28 PM) : 

Oh it looks fabulous to me! I bet it tasted fabulous too.


Blogger Michele said ... (9/09/2009 5:20 AM) : 


I think it looks lovely! Not a disaster--truly!!


Anonymous kellypea said ... (9/13/2009 11:27 AM) : 

Well it still looks like something I'd love to have on a breakfast plate about now! Just look at all those luscious layers of sweetness. You gotta say Uncle on the streaks Lis. Really. You'll feel so much bettah. ; )


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