dobos torta

dobos torta
The Most Famous Dessert in “the Land of 10 million Pastry Lovers”

Hungarian sponge cake layered with chocolate espresso buttercream and topped with crispy caramel.
Pronounced [doh-bosh], this traditional coffeehouse torte was created in 1887 by renowned Hungarian chef and confectioner, József C. Dobos (1847–1924), a delicatessen owner in Budapest, at the height of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The famous dessert evokes the elegance of Vienna and the traditions of Hungary, a country touted as “the land of 10-million pastry lovers,” by George Lange, the Hungarian-born American restaurateur, food and travel writer, critic and journalist.

This classic Hungarian torta has five thin layers of light vanilla sponge cake each separated with chocolate buttercream that also cloaks its exterior. Our version of the buttercream is a rich combination of Valrhona Satilla chocolate flavored with a little espresso. The torta has a very distinctive garnish; the top of the cake is covered in a layer of crisp dark caramel rather than icing and then is cut to use as garnish for each individual triangular piece. Dobos developed the caramel top to keep the cake fresh for longer during a time when refrigeration was difficult, if not impossible, to come by. Another innovation was his use of buttercream, which was very little known at the time; cake fillings and frostings were usually made with cooked pastry cream or whipped cream. (Dobos had discovered buttercream while traveling in France.) Capitalizing on the torta’s popularity, Dobos also found a way to package the durable cake so he could ship it to customers all over Europe.

Today most Dobos Tortes are round, but in many of the older recipes it was actually rectangular, so we chose to go with history and make ours rectangular as well. The sides of the cake can be left plain or covered in a wide variety of nuts, but we decided to use crunchy chocolate crumbs to keep the torte nut-free. Join us for a delicious taste of Hungary’s delectable past.

Hungry for more Hungary?! Join us on the Zingerman's Food Tours Hungary trip — September 5 – 15, 2022
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