A Secret Revealed – The Dobosh Torte

She and I…we had a secret.

It was on a Sunday when Little Missy, our soon-to-be-fourth-grader granddaughter, greeted me after worship services. She softly whispered a message into my ear. It had to do with a certain upcoming family member’s birthday and the need for a birthday cake. A three-layer Better-Than-Fudge Cake was the request.

As I knew the birthday girl like the back of my hand, I suggested to Little Missy that if she were willing to exchange her cake request for a Dobosh Torte, I could foresee that it would be highly acclaimed and received by one with thirty-plus candles on her cake.

Dear Readers, my baking schedule was tight, but I’m pretty much a pushover for this little curly-haired requester. I would just need to set my alarm clock a few hours earlier and shake off sleep in order to accommodate the sweet little girl who is a carbon copy of her momma.

Miss NiNi’s family has enjoyed a lingering history with the awe-inspiring Dobosh Torte—all the way back to when Second-Born Dear Daughter chose to exhibit her accomplished baking skills as a junior 4-Her.

Since that time, every-so-often, I have created the required ten-plus layers of thin sponge cake that are stacked and filled with even thinner layers of chocolate ganache and then covered with more of that velvety chocolate goodness.

Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Desserts

Maida Heatter’s cookbook, Book of Great Desserts includes my go-to recipe. The baking bar is set high when baking a Dobosh Torte! I love the challenge!

I might say that my family has a present-day “love affair” with a Dobosh Torte. But so did Franz Joseph I and his Empress Elisabeth when the cake was first introduced over a century ago at the National General Exhibition of Budapest in 1885.

European pastries and dessert delicacies are phenomenally exceptional to the eye and to the taste. Miss NiNi can personally vouch for that! Therefore, I can understand dear Franz and Elisabeth’s conundrum! They wanted to frequently eat cake—and not just any old cake, Dear Readers. Their taste buds desired cake fit for royalty! However, in that era, cooling techniques were limited which put the kibosh on that ubiquitous desire!

Solving a Problem for the Emperor

Along came Hungarian confectioner József C. Dobos who solved that problem. Not only did multiple thin sponge cake layers help solve the dilemma, but also did the chocolate buttercream with added cocoa, caramel topping, and ground nutmeats that coated the cake’s round sides.

As a “student” of dessert baker extraordinaire, Maida Heatter, I have followed her recipe for Dobosh Torte to the “T.” Was caramel created to smooth the top of the cake? Were almonds, hazelnuts, chestnuts, or walnuts listed in the ingredients? No and no.

Ms. Heatter’s recipe may be more simplistic in nature than Mr. Dobos’ but certainly is an exceptional royal crown for the individual palate!

Why do I know that, Dear Readers? All I need to do is ask the family of four who of late enjoyed the Dobosh Torte birthday cake created by Miss NiNi! The palates of two youngsters and their parents agreed as noted by the birthday girl, “We could all eat ourselves sick on it!”

Limited Availability!

Miss NiNi recently introduced a beautiful Dobosh Torte to my dessert queue. Dear Readers, just in case your curiosity has been nudged about this astonishing dessert, it is available on a limited basis at Miss NiNi’s Desserterie.

I admit to the fact that my recipe can only imitate the perfection of Mr. Dobos’ creation. One might surmise that the little slip of paper that held the scribbles of this original recipe was lost over time.

Dear Readers, I am delighted to tell you that the original recipe for Dobosh Torte was not lost. Near the end of Mr. Dobos’ career in 1906, he donated his recipe to the Pastry and Honey-Makers’ Guild.

I have a distinct feeling that due to the familial popularity of Miss NiNi’s recipe for Dobosh Torte, it will not be lost through the generations either. The sweet little girl whose thoughtful secret was shared with her baking grandma will make certain of that!