Thursday, August 27, 2009

Daring Bakers August Challenge--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.

Well, this was my first Challenge as a newbie Daring Baker and I semi-succeeded and semi-failed. I used the opportunity of being on vacation for a week at my in-laws house to attempt this intimidating challenge and I'm glad I did because it took me many, many hours over two days to only semi-succeed!

It was pretty cool making the sponge layers, I've never made a sponge cake before or a cake without using a cake pan. First you spread the pancake-like batter on parchment paper and bake for just a few minutes
and you get this perfectly thin sponge cake layer!

Day One I made 6 of these sponge cake layers and the buttercream frosting. We were given the option of varying the flavor of the buttercream, being inspired by my husband and living in peach capital (not GA) I chose peach buttercream. I planned on doubling the frosting but I doubled every ingredient except for the butter! But it was too late once I discovered my mistake. I tried to fix it but ended up ruining it--too late to start a new batch. So, I wrapped up my layers of sponge cake and ended for the day.

Day two, I remade the peach buttercream better than ever and also made some white chocolate buttercream for the top (a mistake, should've just stuck with the one kind). I assembled the cake alternating sponge with peach buttercream.
Then, I poured the kind of runny white chocolate buttercream that I hoped would thicken up--but didn't. So I ended up with this runny layer on top.

Next I made the caramel, which I luckily tasted before putting on the cake and discovered it had an extra strong lemon flavor and was burnt! This was at about 9:30pm on day two, and I was not in the mood to try again. I also opted not to add the decorative, optional nuts to the side due to allergies of family members that would be eating it.

So, this was my final product, runny white chocolate buttercream frosting and all.And to top it all off, I discovered that I don't like sponge cake ;)
But I did learn some new techniques--hopefully next month I'll be more successful.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Have you ever seen this movie? Well we some friends that kept telling us we had to watch this movie, that Remy reminded them of Al. Well, Al was a little irritated that a rat reminded them of him. But after getting the movie for Christmas we finally watched it and within 3 minutes we knew exactly why Remy reminds our friends of Al. At the very beginning Remy is tasting food and can tell each ingredient that is in each dish--that's SO Al. So, it was only fitting that we should make Ratatouille ourselves don't you think?

We used this Eating Well Grilled Chicken Ratatouille recipe. I didn't take a picture of the grilled chicken, but it just looks like grilled chicken. Also, I didn't have any fresh marjoram and didn't care to buy any so I just used dried marjoram (which is actually in the family of oregano, so you could substitute oregano if you don't have any marjoram lying around). A little tip on converting fresh herbs to dried, 1TB fresh herbs = 1 teas. dried herbs.

Doesn't this look so colorful and delicious? I had more fun that I probably should've grilling up all these vegetables.I'm still deciding on whether or not I like eggplant but have recently learned that eggplants are best small, because they have no seeds. And eggplants should NOT be stored in the fridge.
The red (purple) onions are definitely a must that can't be substituted, I think they really make this dish!

And this is what we ended up with.
Now Al really likes vegetables despite his heavy meat eating tendencies, so he liked this dish enough to try it again some time, but not worthy enough for the menu rotation. I loved it because it was so fresh and summery and made me feel like I was eating so healthy.

Out of 10 Al would probably give this Grilled Chicken Ratatouille a 5 and I would give it a 7.