Thursday, 27 August 2009

Daring Bakers: Dobos Torta

just a note....blogger is driving me nuts, merging all my text! ack!
August's 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 Caffes of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

sponge cake layers
6 large eggs, separated and at room temperature
1 1/3c icing sugar, divided
1tsp vanilla extract
95g plain flour + 17g cornflour
pinch of salt
2oz shelled pistachio nuts, quite finely chopped

chocolate buttercream
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1c caster sugar
110g dark chocolate
250g butter, at room temperature

caramel topping
1c caster sugar
180ml water
40ml lemon juice
1tbsp sunflower oil

finishing touches
whole, shelled pistachios
5oz shelled and roughly chopped pistachios

methods...
sponge layers
1. position racks in top and centre thirds of the oven and heat to 200C

2. cut 6 pieces of baking paper to fit the baking sheets - using a 9" cake pan draw a circle on each...as I made lots of mini tortas I drew round a 4" tart ring 6 times on each sheet. thus each tray would be for one cake, I made 6 mini cakes in total. make sure you turn the paper over...pen ink cake is not good!

3. beat the egg yolks with 2/3c icing 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 2/3c icing sugar until the whites firm stiff, shiny peaks. using a large rubber spatula, stir in about 1/4 of the beaten whites into the egg yolk mixture, then fold in the remainder, leaving a few wisps of the white visible. combine the flour and salt. sift half the flour over the eggs, and fold in; repeat with the remaining flour...at this point I folded in chopped pistachios and a little green dye...

5. line one of the baking sheets with a circle-marked paper. using a small offset spatula, spread about 3/4c (I used about 1 1/2tbsp for my mini ones) of the batter in an eve layer, filling in the traced circle on one baking sheet. bake on the top shelf for 5mins (mine took about 3mins). keep repeating this process with the other papers and cake mix. when the cakes are done invert onto a flat surface and carefully peel back the paper, slide the cake layer back onto the paper to cool. trim each layer into a neat round using a sharp knife, I used a large cookie cutter to trim mine to about 3".

chocolate buttercream
1. prepare a double boiler

2. whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale and thickened, about 5mins

3. fit the bowl over the boiling water in the saucepan. cook the egg mix, whisking constantly, for 2-3mins until it thickens a bit. whisk in the finely chopped chocolate and cook, stirring, for a further 2-3mins

4. scrape the chocolate mixture into a medium bowl and leave to cool to room temperature. it should be quite thick and sticky in consistency

5. when cool, beat in the butter, a small piece at a time, using an electric hand whisk. you should end up with a thick, velvety chocolate buttercream. chill while you make the caramel topping

caramel buttercream
1. choose the best looking cake layers for the caramel tops

2. line a baking sheet with parchment and butter, place the cake layers on the paper and divide into 6 equal wedges (if doing the one large cake, using just one layer and split into 12)

3. stir the sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan. bring to the boil over a medium heat stirring often to dissolve the sugar. once dissolved into a smooth syrup, turn up the heat to high and boil without stirring, swirling the pan by the handle occasionally until the syrup has turned into an amber-coloured caramel

4. pour, very quickly and evenly, over the cake wedges, spread with a spatula to get an even coverage

5. leave to cool the cut our the wedges with a sharp knife

assembling the dobos
1. spread a layer of buttercream on one of the cake layers, repeating til you have 5 layers stacked up. cover the sides and top of the cake...repeat with the remaining mini cakes! this took AGES! damn my mini-cakes!

2. press the chopped nuts round the sides of the cake

3. propping a pistachio under each wedge so the it sits at an angle, arrange the wedges on top of the cakes in a spoke pattern

4. refrigerate until icing is set, about 2 hours, let slices come to room temperature for best possible flavour