Actually, I had never heard of a Dobos Torte until last month, when a new client requested one for his birthday.
Having worked in the library at the California Culinary Academy before I was a student there, he commented that this favorite treat of his used to be part of the curriculum. Suddenly, the stakes were high. The school curriculum had changed and Dobos Torte was not something I had learned how to make during my time there… I had homework to do!
I looked up several online images, recipes, and articles to find out what this new mystery dessert was all about:
A Dobos Torte is 6+ layers of a citrusy/nutty sponge cake, layered with chocolate German buttercream (another thing I needed to research.) A 7th layer of cake is covered with caramelized sugar, cut into wedges, then placed atop the frosted cake. The layers are traditionally baked individually, but many chefs now bake one taller cake and then torte (slice) it into the desired number of layers. This being my first time, I wanted to go old school!

Having only two 10″ pans, baking each of the 7 layers individually took the most time.

10″ Dobos Torte. $75. (Serves 12.)

German buttercream is made of pastry cream emulsified with butter. It is the richest and most unstable of all the buttercreams. (Meaning it doesn’t hold it’s shape for very long at room temperature.)

My first attempt at German buttercream.

Kitchen onlookers commented that the top of the cake resembled a jet engine.
Hooray for even layers!
(Photo courtesy of Daniel Hollander.)

A few days after the delivery, I received a card from my client with a charming poem paying tribute to all things Dobos Torte! I was glad to know that everything had turned out as he had hoped.