Daring Bakers August Challenge: (Mini) Dobos Torte

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.

The Dobos Torta is a five-layer sponge cake, filled with a rich chocolate buttercream and topped with thin wedges of caramel. (You may come across recipes which have anywhere between six and 12 layers of cake; there are numerous family variations!) It was invented in 1885 by József C. Dobos, a Hungarian baker, and it rapidly became famous throughout Europe for both its extraordinary taste and its keeping properties. The recipe was a secret until Dobos retired in 1906 and gave the recipe to the Budapest Confectioners' and Gingerbread Makers' Chamber of Industry, providing that every member of the chamber can use it freely.

I decided to do Mini Dobos, using my dessert rings. Because of that I halved the ingredients of the recipe. Each Torte had only 3 sponge layers, and instead of whole nuts I used also the chopped ones to lift the caramel wedges. I like a slight taste of coffe, so I added instant espresso powder to the buttercream. I wanted the sponge layers to look dark (no striped cake for me) that is the reason for the addtional cocoa powder.

Sponge cake layers

  • 6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups (162g) confectioner's (icing) sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
  • 95g plain flour + 17g cornflour (cornstarch) sifted together
  • adapted: added cocoa powder - 90/10/12 g
  • pinch of salt
Chocolate (Espresso) Buttercream

  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) caster (ultrafine or superfine white) sugar
  • 4oz (110g) bakers chocolate or your favourite dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons (250g) unsalted butter, at room temperature.
  • adapted: 2 packages instant espresso powder
Caramel topping

  • 1 cup (200g) caster (superfine or ultrafine white) sugar
  • 12 tablespoons (180 ml) water
  • 8 teaspoons (40 ml) lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil (e.g. grapeseed, rice bran, sunflower)
Finishing touches

  • a 7" cardboard round
  • 12 whole hazelnuts, peeled and toasted
  • ½ cup (50g) peeled and finely chopped hazelnuts
Directions for the sponge layers:

NB. The sponge layers can be prepared in advance and stored interleaved with parchment and well-wrapped in the fridge overnight.
1) Position the racks in the top and centre thirds of the oven and heat to 400F (200C).

2) Cut six pieces of parchment paper to fit the baking sheets. Using the bottom of a 9" (23cm) springform tin as a template and a dark pencil or a pen, trace a circle on each of the papers, and turn them over (the circle should be visible from the other side, so that the graphite or ink doesn't touch the cake batter.)

3) Beat the egg yolks, 2/3 cup (81g) of the confectioner's (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. (You can do this step with a balloon whisk if you don't have a mixer.)

4) In another bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 2/3 cup (81g) of confectioner's (icing)sugar until the whites form stiff, shiny peaks. Using a large rubber spatula, stir about 1/4 of the beaten whites into the egg yolk mixture, then fold in the remainder, leaving a few wisps of white visible. Combine the flour and salt. Sift half the flour over the eggs, and fold in; repeat with the remaining flour.

5) Line one of the baking sheets with a circle-marked paper. Using a small offset spatula, spread about 3/4 cup of the batter in an even layer, filling in the traced circle on one baking sheet. Bake on the top rack for 5 minutes, until the cake springs back when pressed gently in the centre and the edges are lightly browned. While this cake bakes, repeat the process on the other baking sheet, placing it on the centre rack. When the first cake is done, move the second cake to the top rack. Invert the first cake onto a flat surface and carefully peel off the paper. Slide the cake layer back onto the paper and let stand until cool. Rinse the baking sheet under cold running water to cool, and dry it before lining with another parchment. Continue with the remaining papers and batter to make a total of six layers. Completely cool the layers. Using an 8" springform pan bottom or plate as a template, trim each cake layer into a neat round. (A small serrated knife is best for this task.) I trimmed the layers using the dessert rings.

Directions for the chocolate (espresso) buttercream:

NB. This can be prepared in advance and kept chilled until required.

1) Prepare a double-boiler: quarter-fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to a boil.

2) Meanwhile, whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale and thickened, about five minutes. You can use a balloon whisk or electric hand mixer for this.

3) Fit bowl over the boiling water in the saucepan (water should not touch bowl) and lower the heat to a brisk simmer. Cook the egg mixture, whisking constantly, for 2-3 minutes until you see it starting to thicken a bit. Whisk in the espresso powder and afterwards (when dissolved) the finely chopped chocolate and cook, stirring, for a further 2-3 minutes.

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 soft butter, a small piece (about 2 tablespoons/30g) at a time. An electric hand mixer is great here, but it is possible to beat the butter in with a spatula if it is soft enough. You should end up with a thick, velvety chocolate buttercream. Chill while you make the caramel topping.

Directions for the caramel topping:

1) Choose the best-looking cake layer for the caramel top. To make the caramel topping: Line a jellyroll pan with parchment paper and butter the paper. Place the reserved cake layer on the paper. Score the cake into 12 equal wedges. Lightly oil a thin, sharp knife and an offset metal spatula.

2) Stir the sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over a medium heat, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. Once dissolved into a smooth syrup, turn the heat up to high and boil without stirring, swirling the pan by the handle occasionally and washing down any sugar crystals on the sides of the pan with a wet brush until the syrup has turned into an amber-coloured caramel.

3) The top layer is perhaps the hardest part of the whole cake so make sure you have a oiled, hot offset spatula ready. I also find it helps if the cake layer hasn't just been taken out of the refrigerator. I made mine ahead of time and the cake layer was cold and the toffee set very, very quickly-too quickly for me to spread it. Immediately pour all of the hot caramel over the cake layer. You will have some leftover most probably but more is better than less and you can always make nice toffee pattern using the extra to decorate. Using the offset spatula, quickly spread the caramel evenly to the edge of the cake layer. Let cool until beginning to set, about 30 seconds. Using the tip of the hot oiled knife (keep re-oiling this with a pastry brush between cutting), cut through the scored marks to divide the caramel layer into 12 equal wedges. Cool another minute or so, then use the edge of the knife to completely cut and separate the wedges using one firm slice movement (rather than rocking back and forth which may produce toffee strands). Cool completely.

Assembling the Dobos

1) Divide the buttercream into six equal parts.

2) Place a dab of chocolate buttercream on the middle of a 7 1/2" cardboard round and top with one cake layer. Spread the layer with one part of the chocolate icing. Repeat with 4 more cake layers. Spread the remaining icing on the sides of the cake.

3) Optional: press the finely chopped hazelnuts onto the sides of the cake.

4) Propping a hazelnut under each wedge so that it sits at an angle, arrange the wedges on top of the cake in a spoke pattern. If you have any leftover buttercream, you can pipe rosettes under each hazelnut or a large rosette in the centre of the cake. Refrigerate the cake under a cake dome until the icing is set, about 2 hours. Let slices come to room temperature for the best possible flavour.

After assembling the torte I had to be very quick taking pictures because of the heat the buttercream got very fluid (although nearly firm from the freezer) and after a while the cake sloped more and more ...

Daring cooks August challenge - Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes

The August Daring cooks challenge was hosted by Olga from Las Cosas de Olga and Olga's Recipes . She has chosen a delicious Spanish recipe, Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes by José Andrés, one of the most important Spanish Chefs at the moment.

Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes

  • 4 Artichokes (you can use jarred or freezed if fresh are not available)
  • 12 Mushrooms (button or Portobello)
  • 1 or 2 Bay leaves (optional but highly recommended)
  • 1 glass of white wine
  • 2 Cuttlefish (you can use freezed cuttlefish or squid if you don't find it fresh)
  • "Sofregit" (see recipe below)
  • 300 gr (2 cups) Short grain rice (Spanish types Calasparra or Montsant are preferred) - about 75 gr per person
  • Water or Fish Stock (750 ml for 150 g of rice)
  • Saffron threads (substitute: turmeric or yellow coloring powder)
  • Allioli (olive oil and garlic sauce, similar to mayonnaise sauce) - optional


  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 5 big red ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 4 or 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup of button or Portobello mushrooms, chopped (optional)
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • Salt
  • Touch of ground cumin
  • Touch of dried oregano

Put all the ingredients together in a frying pan and sauté slowly until all vegetables are soft. Taste and salt if necessary (maybe it's not!)

(here is the video José Andrés cooking it if you don`t like to read ;)

  1. Cut the cuttlefish in little strips.
  2. Add 1 or 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and put the cuttlefish in the pan.
  3. If you use fresh artichokes, clean them as shown in the video in tip #7. Cut artichokes in eights.
  4. Clean the mushrooms and cut them in fourths.
  5. Add a bay leaf to the cuttlefish and add also the artichokes and the mushrooms.
  6. Sauté until we get a golden color in the artichokes.
  7. Put a touch of white wine so all the solids in the bottom of the get mixed, getting a more flavorful dish.
  8. Add a couple or three tablespoons of sofregit and mix to make sure everything gets impregnated with the sofregit.
  9. Add all the liquid and bring it to boil.
  10. Add all the rice. Let boil for about 5 minutes in heavy heat.
  11. Add some saffron thread to enrich the dish with its flavor and color. Stir a little bit so the rice and the other ingredients get the entire flavor. If you're using turmeric or yellow coloring, use only 1/4 teaspoon.
  12. Turn to low heat and boil for another 8 minutes (or until rice is a little softer than "al dente")
  13. Put the pan away from heat and let the rice stand a couple of minutes.

I didn't like the outcome, it tasted a little bit strange and not a spicy as I expected it to do - guess there were a few things that went wrong:
  1. I used canned artichokes. I don't like them too much and all my friends keep telling me I should try the fresh because they taste completely different - so canned ones were a bad idea anyway.

  2. Didn't cook the Sofregit long enough so it wasn't concentrated at all and the taste was lost on the way (it may also be noticeable on the picture, it's just a pale red)

  3. Added way too much water ...

Robert didn't like the taste either - said there was a kind of cough sirup-taste in it. Maybe he also ment the artichokes ... I know that the Spanish kitchen is delicious and full of flavours - so next time I'll try harder to get the 'original' taste.

Scharfe Kürbissuppe mit Kokos, Garnelen und Pappadams

Die Kürbissaison hat begonnen! Im Garten wuchern die Hokkaido-Kürbisse fast schon. Die ersten Exemplare wurden schon gefüllt und verspeist - und auch Suppe mußte sein. Da ich bereits das letzte Mal weder das Rezept für Suppe oder Pasta mit Kürbis gepostet habe, werde ich das jetzt nachholen.

  • ein halber Hokkaido-Kürbis, gewürfelt
  • eine Zwiebel, gehackt (nach Belieben)
  • je ein gehäufter TL Paprikapulver, Chilipulver und Tandori Masala
  • ein halber TL Ingwerpulver oder geriebener frischer Ingwer
  • eine Dose Kokosmilch
  • 2 EL Erdnußbutter
  • eine Handvoll Garnelen
  • Salz

Die Kürbiswürfel zusammen mit der Zwiebel in heißem Öl anbraten, die Gewürze dazugeben und kurz mit anrösten. Kokosmilch dazugießen und ca 15 Minuten köcheln lassen bis der Kürbis weich ist. Pürieren und mit Wasser verdünnen bis die gewünschte Konsistenz erreicht ist, Garnelen kurz mit erwärmen und mit Salz und Erdnussbutter abschmecken. Öl in einer beschichteten Pfanne erhitzen und die Papadams darin kurz von beiden Seiten frittieren bis sie braun sind. Zur Suppe reichen oder darauf zerbröseln.

Death by chocolate (Der Kuchen)

{Note: I recognised many people like the recipe so I'll translate it into English too}

Tod durch Schokolade? Nicht die schlechteste Wahl wenn Ihr mich fragt. Im Vapiano gibt es als Dessert eine Schokoladenkuchen des gleichen Namens. Aber das kann ich auch selbst! Nach einiger Suche bin ich dann auf ein Rezept gestoßen, welches ich noch ein bißchen abgewandelt habe. Hier ist das Ergebnis:

Death by chocolate
(for English version scroll down)

  • 250 g Bitterschokolade (mind 65% Kakaoanteil)
  • 125 g Butter
  • 150 g Zucker
  • 80 g Mehl
  • 4 Eier
  • 4 EL Kakao
  • 1 Pck. (oder 4 gehäufte TL) Cappuccino, ich habe Jacobs Cappuccino Daim genommen
  • 1 gehäufter TL Backpulver
  • 1 halber TL Natron
  • eine Vanilleschote
  • ein halber Becher Creme fraiche

  • 100 g Zartbitterschokolade
  • 60 ml Sahne

Kakao, Backpulver , Natron und Mehl mischen. Butter mit der Schokolade über dem Wasserbad schmelzen und etwas abkühlen lassen. Das ausgekratzte Vanillemark hinein rühren. Eier und Zucker schaumig schlagen, bis die Masse hell und cremig wird. Dann erst die Buttermischung und danach die Mehlmischung einrühren. Zum Schluss die Creme fraiche unterrühren.

Eine gefettete Springform füllen und glatt streichen. Bei 175 Grad etwa 25-30 Minuten backen. Auf ein Gitter stürzen und auskühlen lassen.

Für den Guss die Sahne wieder im Wasserbad erhitzen. Die Schokolade darin schmelzen lassen. Etwas abkühlen lassen. Den Schokoladenkuchen damit bestreichen. Möglichst 2-3 Stunden durchkühlen lassen.

Lt. Recherche im Netz verändert der 'death by chocolate' durch den hohen Schokoladenanteil Geschmack und Textur stark in Abhängigkeit von der Serviertemperatur: Kühl serviert ist 'death by chocolate' recht fest. Bei Zimmertemperatur serviert entfaltet 'death by chocolate' das ganze Schokoladenaroma und ist sehr weich und saftig. Das fertige Ergebnis ist nicht ganz so saftig wie der Kuchen im Vapiano, dafür etwas fluffiger und schokoladiger. Mein neuer Favorit, und bestimmt auch einer für die nächste Feier. Nachdem er fertig in der Küche stand, dauerte es nicht lange bis er von Robert erspäht wurde, der ihn natürlich sofort verspeisen wollte, und das noch vor der Hauptspeise ...


  • 250g bittersweet chocolate (minimum 65%)
  • 125 g butter
  • 150 caster sugar
  • 80 g all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tblsp cocoa
  • one package (or 4 tsp) instant cappucino
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • one vanilla bean
  • 100g creme fraiche
  • 100g bittersweet chocolate
  • 60 ml heavy cream
Mix the dry ingredients. In another bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar until the mixture becomes light and creamy (that may take a while). Meanwhile melt chocolate and butter in a water bath. Stir until combined. Let cool a little bit and add the pulp of the vanilla bean. Combine with the egg-mixture and add the dry ingredients afterward. Stir in the creme fraiche.
Preheat your oven to 175°C. Butter a springform pan and fill it with the dough. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Let the cake cool on a rack.
Heat the cream and dissolve the chocolate in it. Spread evenly on the cake. Let cool into the refridgerator for 2 to 3 hours.

Selbstgemachte Lachs-Spinat-Lasagne

Zur Zeit habe ich wieder einmal eine "Nudelphase". Robert kommt die Pasta inzwischen schon zu den Ohren raus, und wenn ich ihn frage was ich kochen soll antwortet er nur noch: "Alles, bitte nur keine Nudeln!". Also ich weiß gar nicht was er hat, Nudeln sind soooo lecker ;) Letztens entdeckte ich eine Packung Spinat im Tiefkühler, die ich verwerten wollte, aber nur Spaghetti mit Spinatsoße - wie langweilig! Hmmm, Lasagne könnte ich mal wieder machen, und da die Pastamaschine sowieso noch da steht, warum nicht die Blätter gleich selbst machen ...
Pastateig (s. hier) - reicht für neun große Lasagneblätter
Den Teig in 9 gleichgroße Stücke teilen und zu dünnen Blättern ausrollen (Stufe 7). Die Blätter bis zur Verwendung mit einem feuchten Küchentuch bedeckt lagern, zwischen die einzelnen Blätter Pergamentpapier legen damit sie nicht zusammenkleben.

Bechamelsoße und Spinatfüllung
  • zwei Schalotten
  • eine Knoblauchzehe
  • 70 g Butter
  • 60 g Mehl
  • 100 ml Weißwein
  • 250 ml Sahne
  • 350 ml Fischfond
  • Saft einer halben Zitrone
  • 450 g Spinat (TK)
  • vier Lachsfilets, in Streifen geschnitten
  • 100 g Cheddar, gerieben
  • Chili, Kurkuma, Koriander, Cumin, Salz & Pfeffer
    Spinat: Den Knoblauch reiben und mit Chili, Salz und Pfeffer unter den Spinat rühren.
    Bechamel: Die Butter in einem beschichteten Topf zergehen lassen, die gehackten Schalotten dazugeben und kurz dünsten, einen TL Cumin sowie je einen halben TL Cumin und Koriander dazugeben, dann das Mehl einrühren und anschwitzen. Sahne und Fond mischen und unter kräftigem Rühren mit der Mehlmasse vermischen (achtung Klümpchen, blos das Rühren nicht vergessen!). Zum Schluß den Wein dazugeben und ca 3 Minuten auf kleiner Flamme köcheln lassen. Wer keinen Alkohol verwenden möchte, einfach mehr Fond benutzen. Mit Salz, Pfeffer und Zitronensaft abschmecken.

    Lasagne: Die Lasagneblätter in kochendem Salzwasser ca 1 Minute kochen. Den Boden einer feuerfesten Form mit zwei Blättern quer auslegen. Die erste Schicht Spinat darauf verteilen, dann 1 1/2 Blätter und ca ein Drittel der Bechamelsoße, diese mit der Hälfte der Filetstreifen belegen. Dann wieder eineinhalb Lasagneblätter und die letzte Schicht Spinat. Es folgen zwei Blätter quer und wieder eine Bechamel-Lachs-Schicht. Mit den restlichen Lasagneblättern bedecken, die Überstände vorher einschlagen. Den Rest Bechamelsoße daraufgeben und mit Käse bestreuen. Für 30 Minuten im vorgeheizten Ofen bei 190°C backen.