Tuesday, February 9, 2010

dobos torte

this cake graced all the special occasions in my childhood. i don't think my mother ever made it herself. it was always ordered from various bakeries. some were great, and some not so much, but at that age, everything swaddled in chocolate is awesome. even stale, overly sweet cake. awesome, the whole lot.
after seeing it last august on the daring bakers it became an insidious bit of obssesion. this is not a dessert you just slap together, so i patiently waited for the magical intersection of a day i'd have people over for dinner and my husband would be home to mind the child while i baked it. he's away for days or weeks at a time, and pouring caramel with a toddler running around the kitchen is not exactly the pinnacle of safety-conscious cookery.

so i baked six thin layers. i made chocolate buttercream, despite the fact i've a deeply rooted aversion to buttercream and i never use it, not to save my life. i made the lemon caramel glaze and poured it on the top layer. then i assembled the thing and clothed it in pecan praline for a bit of extra oomph.
like proust with his madeleines, my tastebuds trembled with anticipation. i rushed everybody through their chips and dips, the goat cheese and asparagus tartelettes, the tuna empanaditas, and to hell with the chicken wings: who cares about that stuff?! let's cut the cake, right. now.
in the heat of things i never got to take a pic of a slice. it looked neat, equal thin layers of spongecake doused with coffee and deep chocolate buttercream. i only put praline on top so my husband could remove them. he's a nut hater. a hater of all nuts. (all but me.)
there's no easy way to say this: as i was eating, i felt cheated. robbed of one of the fondest culinary memories i had. this cake was nothing like the one i had growing up. it was good, fine, but just a bit too sweet. much sweeter than i like my desserts to be. i really resent a recipe when sheer sweetness masks all the other flavors. i used some great dark chocolate for the buttercream - i think it would have been the same made with wretched chips. you couldn't taste the coffee i brushed on the layers. it was too sweet.
so this cake gets a resounding, definite 'eh'. eh, i've had better. eh, next time i'll follow a romanian recipe and not use one just because it's already translated from the metric system.
luckily it wasn't the only dessert i had. i also made the parisians, only smaller so i'd get more mileage out of them, and another thing i can't say anything about yet because it's the current daring bakers' challenge. look how cute the miniature parisians are, and by miniature i mean about 5 or 6 inches long. these are always great, and even more so this time as i used king arthur flour.


  1. Hi Dana,

    ai dat Lovitura puternic.Minunat aratä. Compliment.

    Salutäri Jacob

  2. mersi mult jacob, esti tare amabil!

  3. le gâteau est sublime il a l'air divin
    bonne soirée

  4. Le gâteau et les croissants sont très très réussis. bravo!!

  5. nadjibella, tu est tres gentille, merci beaucoup!

  6. Looks great! Never made it yet... My Mom used to make it many times in my childhood on special occasions, of course. But I remember assembling the cake as a teenager. What a great taste!

  7. hi judith! the only challenge is the caramel top, which can be left out. i think this recipe called for a bit too much water, cause after more than half-hour of cooking it was still very pale, and it was already midnight so i just poured it, though i wasn't satisfied with it. and my friens now tell me it wasn't too sweet, so maybe it's a matter of taste... if you have your mom's recipe i'd love to hear about it! in any event, next time i'll make it i'll probably use the recipe at de re coquinaria - in my blogroll.

  8. Too bad the cake didn't live up to your memories. It's a beautiful cake and the parisians look SO good!

  9. hi dana :)
    ce frumos dobos ai facut :) felicitari
    multumec pentru vizita :),sa stii cai ff buna qua au vin trebuie sa o faci si tu

  10. karen, some of it was there, it wasn't a complete dissapointment - i was just deflated by my high expectations and i'm sure i'll be much happier next time when i'll adjust the sugar quantity.
    anca, mersi mult!

  11. Buna dana, Tortul Dobos arata fantastic! Sa sti ca m-am inspirat de la tine cand l-am facut pentru ziua fiicei mele. A iesit perfect! Pacat nu i-am facut o foto din cauza ca s-a defectat aparatul de fotografiat :((

    Iti ofer un premiu pe blogul meu. Sper sa iti placa!

  12. gaby, multumesc frumos! pupici


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