Hungarian Dobosh Torte (Dobos Torta) Recipe

Hungarian Dobos Torte
Hungarian Dobos Torte. © Sergio Amiti / Getty Images
    80 min
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Dobosh Torte, also known as drum torte or dobos torta, is a Hungarian sponge cake consisting of seven layers filled with rich chocolate buttercream and topped with caramel.

It was invented by and named after Hungarian (some say he was Austrian) pastry chef Jozsef C. Dobos in 1884.

The sides of the cake are usually spread with buttercream and sometimes coated with ground hazelnuts, chestnuts, walnuts or almonds, and made in a round or loaf pan. Dobos Torte is on a par with another elegant layered dessert -- Sutemeny Rigo Jancsi.

Click here for a larger image of Dobos Torta.

Makes 16 slices of Dobosh Torte

What You'll Need

  • Cake:
  • 8 ounces room-temperature unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large room-temperature eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Filling:
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 pound roojm-temperature unsalted butter
  • 5 large room-temperature egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Caramel Glaze:
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water

How to Make It

Make the Cake

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream 8 ounces room-temperature unsalted butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in 4 large room-temperature eggs, one at a time, then 1 1/2 cups flour and 1 teaspoon vanilla until smooth.
     
  2. Lightly coat the bottom of 7 (9-inch) round pans (or bake as many layers at a time as you have 9-inch cake pans and reuse them to bake the rest of the batter) with cooking spray. Weigh the batter (remembering to subtract for the weight of the bowl). Divide that number by 7 and that's how many ounces you will need for each pan in order to create even layers.
     
  3. Bake for 7 minutes or until edges are very lightly brown. Don't overbake. Remove from oven, loosen layer and immediately invert onto a cake rack. Continue until all the batter is used.

Make the Filling

  1. Melt chocolate in a microwave and set aside to cool. In a large bowl, beat 1 pound room-temperature unsalted butter on low for 2 minutes, then on medium for 3 minutes and finally on high for 5 minutes.
     
  2. Place 5 large room-temperature egg whites and 1 cup sugar in a double boiler over medium heat. Whisk gently to 120 degrees. Transfer to a mixing bowl and whip on high until stiff peaks form.
     
  3. Fold the melted and cooled chocolate into the butter, then fold in the egg whites until all traces of white are gone. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Make the Caramel Glaze

  1. Place one cake layer on a cake rack set over a pan to catch the drips. Mix 2/3 cup sugar and 1/3 cup water in a small heavy saucepan. Without stirring, cook until sugar dissolves, boils and begins to darken in color. Swirling the pan, continue to boil until caramel becomes a golden brown. 
     
  2. Immediately pour it over the cake layer. With a buttered knife, quickly mark the glaze before it hardens into 16 equal wedges without cutting all the way through.

Assemble the Torte

  1. Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate, or in a 9-inch springform pan to use as a guide, and spread on 1/8-inch of filling.
     
  2. Repeat with remaining layers and filling, finishing with the glazed layer on top.
     
  3. Use the rest of the filling to cover the sides of the cake. Sprinkle with ground nuts of choice, if desired. Refrigerate.
     
  4. To serve, slice along the lines marked in the caramel glaze.

Two Types of Caramel

There are hundreds of recipes for Hungarian dobosh torte out there. There is the poor imitation a certain food catalog puts out and others that have been appropriated from Hungarian or Austrian cuisine but aren't authentic. In this traditional recipe, the caramel is made with water.

There are two different kinds of basic caramel -- a wet caramel where sugar is melted with water (as in this case) and a cooked, or dry, caramel where sugar is cooked by itself until it liquefies and caramelizes. My traditional dobosh torte recipe uses a wet caramel.