Dobos torte

by | Oct 16, 2015 | Desserts

Dobos torte is the best and most famous Hungarian torte made of 6 paperthin sponge cake layers, filled with chocolate butter cream and topped with caramel slices. This six-layer cake was named after József C. Dobos (1847-1924), a Hungarian chef and confectioner. He is often mentioned as one of the most influential chefs in the Hungarian culinary history.

Dobos introduced his torte on the National Exhibition in 1885. His aim was to create a cake that would last longer than other pastries in an age when cooling techniques were limited. Caramel topping and walnut coating served this purpose, as they helped prevent the torte from drying out. Dobos was the first in Hungary who used butter cream to fill the cake.

The torte was a great success, and became famous throughout Europe soon. Dobos received a lot of orders, so he designed a wooden cake box to ship his torte to customers all over Europe. The torte was so popular that there was an entire pavilion devoted to making and selling it at the Millennium Exposition in 1896. As the cake was frequently copied, without success, Dobos generously donated the recipe to the Pastry and Honey- Bread Makers Guild in 1906 under the reservation that the recipe has to be available for the public.

There is a common misconception about the recipe of the torte that the filling is a simple combination of soft butter and melted chocolate or cocoa powder. However, the base of the filling is eggs beaten over boiling water, which make the chocolate butter cream lighter and foamy. Thin sponge cake layers offset this full-bodied filling, too.

Dobos torte is not a five-minute dessert, you have to devote a few hours to prepare it, but it’s worth. My mom’s birthday was a good opportunity to give it a whirl. I baked 3 sponge cakes and cut them into 2 layers, which was tricky because the cakes were thin. But you are free, of course, to divide the batter into 6 equal portions and bake 6 separate layers.

Dobos torte
Dobos torte – photo:

The original recipe calls for cocoa butter and solid cocoa mass, but those ingredients can’t be bought in every store; therefore, I substituted them for dark chocolate and cocoa powder. I had strong doubts about making the caramel topping, but it was easier than I thought, and believe me, if I did it, so can you.

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Hungarian cottage cheese

This is what Hungarian túró looks like

You often ask me what kind of cottage cheese (or curd cheese or farmer's cheese - call it what you want) I use in the recipes. In Hungary the store-bought cottage cheese is dry and crumbly as you can see in the picture. So if a recipe calls for túró, I mean this type. If you can't obtain túró, you can try to make your own from whole milk. Click on the link below.

Metric system vs cup

In Hungary metric units are in use, all the recipes on this website are based on this system, so a kitchen scale is necessary. Since I’m not familiar with cup as a measurement unit, I convert grams to cups by using an online converter. The values in brackets, therefore, are only approximate volumes, so, please, double-check them before you start cooking.

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