Thursday, April 14, 2011

Dobos Torte with Anna

This is the lovely Anna, currently the pastry chef at Allium & Lily on Orcas.  I originally met her at The Herbfarm a couple of years ago baking away fabulous mini desserts and breads early in the morning when I would come by and feed Basil and Borage (The Herbfarm's famous Vietnamese potbellied pigs) or drop off the fresh harvest that we gathered that morning  for the evening meal.  I would make sure to stop by and say hi to the morning crew and check to see what kind of goodies that were making that day.  It was always very interesting and fun to talk to everyone from the front of the house staff to the savory and sweet crew.  I do miss working at The Herbfarm, but very happy I made some wonderful friendships that will last a long time.

She came over a few weeks ago and we made this gorgeous delicious torte cake.

Usually you will see this cake as a round cake but by using the rectangular shape it makes it easier to assemble.  We made this cake in just under three hours from start to finish.  It is a little bit complicated to make but trust me. It is well worth it. The traditional way of making this cake you would piped the cake batter into round circles and then bake. By baking the cake in a 12x17 sheet pan, you can evenly mark and cut up the cake to the specify shape and size that you want.

Cake Batter
6 large eggs, separated and at room temperature
1 Tablespoon water
Pinch of salt
9.5 Tablespoon sugar
9.5 Tablespoon of cake flour, sifted

  • Grease and line two 12x17 inch half sheet pan with parchment paper.
  • Whip the egg yolks with half of the sugar, 5 Tablespoon, until ribbon stage (It should be thick and pale yellow)
  • Whip the egg whites, water and pinch of salt, slowly add the other half of the sugar, 4 Tablespoon, until stiff but not dry
  • Fold the yolk mixture into the white mixture
  • Gently fold in the sifted cake flour
  • Divide the batter between the pans, and then smooth the top and tap the sides a few times to even out
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown, if necessary rotate the pan half way through
  • Cover the cakes with a piece of parchment while cooling in order to retain some moisture
  • Once the cakes have cool down, use a rule and cut the cakes into 8x4 inch pieces, set aside the best piece for the top layer, you should have nine layers. 
 **Save any cake scrapes for emergency patches. 
If some spots are not as thick as the other pieces

1.5 teaspoon of vanilla extract or ½ vanilla bean
¾  cup powder sugar
6 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 Tablespoon strong coffee
1 large egg
3 oz dark chocolate, we used 70%
Pinch of kosher salt 

  • Mix ¼ cup of the sugar, egg, vanilla extract or bean and coffee over a double boiler until the mixture reaches 140 F and mix in the chocolate until melted and smooth
  • In a mixer, beat the butter, pinch of salt and ½ cup of the sugar until light and fluffy, add the chocolate mixture and beat until the filling is light and fluffy

    Chocolate Buttercream

    2 large egg whites
    ½  cup sugar
    6 oz butter at room temperature
    3 oz dark chocolate
    Pinch of salt

    • Mix the egg whites, sugar and pinch of salt in the bowl of the mixer over a double boiler until the mixture reaches 140 F
    • Whip with your KitchenAid mixer until the meringue forms soft glossy peaks
    • Next add the butter a little at a time until it is well incorporated, keep beating if the mixture looks like ricotta cheese, it will come back together
    • Melt the chocolate and add it to the butter cream.  Mix the mixture with a hand whisk for one minute before putting it back in the KitchenAid and whisking until it is fluffy.

      Caramel Layer

      ½ cup of sugar    
      ** This part you must work quickly; the caramel is extremely hot 
      and can burn your skin easily - have ice water standing by just in case.

      • Heat sugar in pan and stir mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved.  With a wet pastry brush, wash down the inside of the pan to prevent crystallization.   Boil sugar mixture until the syrup turns a lovely amber color or reaches 248 F, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Remove from heat.
      • During the last few minutes, watch it carefully because it can burn quickly
      • Carefully pour the caramel on to the top of the last layer and spread to the edges with an oiled knife.  Quickly score the caramel into into eight wedges.  Alow to cool slightly and then rescore a little bit deeper with your oiled knife. Allow to cool completely and then cut the wedges up.


        • Fill the eight layers with the chocolate filling. The cake and the filling should be the same thickness, about ¼ inch 

        ** A little secret technique for anyone who OCD like me.  If you have a kitchen scale, 
        this will be your best friend.  Have a small bowl and weigh each layer filling.  
        This will ensure you will have the same thickness for each layer!

        • Put a little of the filling into a pastry bag and set aside for decorating
        • Frost the sides with a thin coat of the buttercream; don’t worry about the crumbs, this is a crumb coat
        • Let the cake firm up in the refrigerator for 10 minutes then frost the cake with the rest of the buttercream
        • Decorate with the leftover filling and add the caramel portions to the top
        • Let the cake sit for at least 3 hours to overnight and slice with a hot knife

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