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Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Daring Bakers: August 2009 Challenge

The August 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonfulof Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella They chose the spectacular DobosTorte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers' cookbook Kaffeehaus: ExquisiteDesserts from the Classic Caffés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.
Here Angela and Lorraine give you some background on this cake
So, what is the Dobos Torta (or Torte)? 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.
This cake was on my to bake list, so what a surprise when I opened up the August Challenge and found out that we were making it this month...YAYYYY!!! This cake is done in parts so if you need it for a quick get together then this is not the dessert for you.
I loved the final outcome, although I believe that I cooked the caramel too long. The next time I make this I will just use Swiss Meringue Buttercream. I happened to have ground almonds and whole as well so I used that instead of the hazelnuts, but I'm going to try those the next time.
This was a wonderful use of time, and I can't wait to see what the next host comes up with.
Prep times
Sponge layers 20 mins prep, 40 mins cooking total if baking each layer individually.
Buttercream: 20 mins cooking. Cooling time for buttercream: about 1 hour plus 10 minutes after this to beat and divide.
Caramel layer: 10-15 minutes.
Assembly of whole cake: 20 minutes

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
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (112g) sifted cake flour (SUBSTITUTE 95g plain flour + 17g cornflour (cornstarch) sifted together)
pinch of salt

Chocolate 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.

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 3/4cup 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.)
Directions for the chocolate 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 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.

Lorraine's note: If you're in Winter just now your butter might not soften enough at room temperature, which leads to lumps forming in the buttercream. Male sure the butter is of a very soft texture I.e. running a knife through it will provide little resistance, before you try to beat it into the chocolate mixture. Also, if you beat the butter in while the chocolate mixture is hot you'll end up with more of a ganache than a buttercream!

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.

Angela's note: I recommend cutting, rather than scoring, the cake layer into wedges before covering in caramel (reform them into a round). If you have an 8” silicon round form, then I highly recommend placing the wedges in that for easy removal later and it also ensures that the caramel stays on the cake layer. Once set, use a very sharp knife to separate the wedges.

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.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Days of busy-ness

Forgive me anyone who may actually read my blog. This has been somewhat of a busy month and a half. A new semester just started for me in school and soon it will be my kids turn to go back. I currently don't have the internet at home so trying to post has been here and there. I hopefully will be able to get back on the ball soon, but it won't be soon enough.

My opportunities with my TWD have dwindled as of late and my sweet tooth has been screaming at me to make something. I will try to get back on track with that next month as well.

So to my followers, oh wait there are only 4, and I haven't posted anything for them to follow, I will get better. Just bare with me.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

TWD: Classic Banana Bundt Cake

I know that I am a week and a day late with this post, but I don't get on the computer as much and I didn't need this cake until this week. The selection was by Mary of and it was a wonderful choice at that. You can find the recipe for this cake at Mary's blog site or you can just pick up a copy of Dorie's book and have other recipes to choose from. You definitely won't be sorry!

My family had a get together and it included a birthday and since not everyone is a huge chocolate fan and my parents don't like lots of icing this was the perfect match. This cake went so quick that I think when we go to Kings Dominion tomorrow that I will make another one.

This is the birthday cake for my 17, yes I said 17, years old daughter. As if this isn't crazy enough, I made her a Nemo blanket and she walks around with it everyday even when it's hot.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A little of this and a little of that!

Just a beautiful dragonfly enjoying it's leisure.So, I wrote about some bread pudding and said that I would have pictures and a recipe and here they are.

Tiramisu Bread Pudding
12 oz. stale bread, cubed
3 cups milk
1 tbsp instant espresso
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup chocolate chips, divided
2 tsp. vanilla
350 degrees
Put the cubed bread in whatever pan or dish you want to use, I used a 10" circle pan lined with parchment.
In a pot heat the milk, espresso, cinnamon, and sugar until warm to the touch. Ladle about half the milk into the beaten eggs to make the and whisk together. Pour the egg mixture back into the pot and add 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips. Stir until the chips melt and remove from heat. Stir in vanilla extract and pour over bread cubes. Top with the 1/4 cup of chocolate chips that were left. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve warm.
Coffee Liqueur Sauce
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook's Whiskey Sauce
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
4 tbsp water
2 1/2 tbsp coffee liqueur
1 1/2 tbsp marsala wine
In a saucepan melt butter. Stir in sugar, egg yolks, and water. Cook and stir constantly over medium-low heat for 5 to 6 minutes or until sugar dissolves and mixture boils. Remove from heat and stir in liqueur and wine. Serve warm.
I didn't get a picture of the bread pudding with the mascarpone, but you can serve it with some sweetened mascarpone to give it another flavor of Tiramisu.

These are some Mocha Madaleines

And this is a purse I sewed