What is a Dobos torte – Dobostorta? It`s a famous chocolate cake that originates from Hungary, consisting of six thin, round sponge cake layers filled with chocolate buttercream and caramel on top. It was named after József C. Dobos, the chef who invented it.
In 2017 the Dobostorta was included in the Collection of Hungaricums – Collection of Hungarian Values. Today, this simple and elegant cake is popular not only in Hungary but throughout the region.
If you are looking for some more Hungarian tortes, I recommend my Chocolate Cherry Torte Squares, based on the traditional Goosefeet (Lúdláb) cake recipe.
The history of the Hungarian Dobos Torte
József C. Dobos was born in 1847 in Budapest as a son of a chef. He was the owner of a delicatessen where his homemade products were available. In his laboratory, Dobos worked on a cake with a longer shelf life, and as a result, in 1884 he invented the Dobos torte.
Tradition has it, that buttercream was invented by accident when an assistant added sugar to the butter instead of salt. Dobos liked the taste of the sweetened butter and used it for the chocolate buttercream.
Dobos presented the torte in 1885 at the General Exhibition of Budapest. Franz Joseph I of Austria and Empress Elisabeth were among the guests who tasted the cake. It became famous and popular and exported to various European countries. Many replications appeared, but the original recipe was held secret until 1906 when József C. Dobos retired. He donated the recipe to the Association of Confectionery and Honey Cookie Manufacturers.
Today a Dobos torte carved from marble stands on the memorial of its inventor.
Tips on making the torte
- The recipe may sound complicated, but it really isn`t too hard to make, especially if you have some experience in baking. This was the first torte I learned to make at a young age. It was also the theme of my final exam in pastry school, so I decided to include the Dobos torte in the logo of my website.
- The original Dobos torte is round, but I also made a few square-shaped ones for some of my customers, like this one in the image below. I made the pattern on the caramel by using a buttered oven rack. I pressed the rack into the caramel, lifted it off, rotated 90 degrees, and pressed again.
- Always be cautious when you make the caramel because it reaches 150°C / 300°F and can cause severe injuries. It`s best to keep your children and pets away when you work with caramel.
- The traditional way to make sponge cake circles is to bake them on greased and floured baking sheets, but you can bake them on trays lined with baking paper. Mark six circles 22 cm (8.5 inches) in diameter with a cake ring. In a large fan-assisted oven you can bake all 6 sponge cake sheets at once.
- If you have a conventional oven, mix only two sponge cake circles at a time using 1/3 of the ingredients. Then repeat until you make all six, because the batter can`t stand too long without the loss of quality.
A few words about the ingredients
- The sponge cake layers contain eggs, powdered sugar, cake flour, and butter.
- The buttercream contains eggs, powdered sugar, vanilla sugar, butter, chocolate, and two unusual ingredients: cocoa mass, and cocoa butter. These are not available in grocery stores, but you can buy them in some specialty stores or online.
- Cocoa mass (cocoa paste) is made of mechanically processed cocoa beans. The cocoa beans are fermented, dried, roasted, and separated from their skin. Then the beans are ground at a high temperature and we get cocoa liquor (liquid cocoa) as a result. It solidifies when tempered and cooled down.
- Cocoa butter is a valuable type of fat pressed from roasted cocoa beans. Cocoa butter is light yellow and has a pleasant taste. It also has a characteristic chocolate aroma. It is used in the production of confectionery products.
How can I make the Dobos Torte?
Let`s make the sponge cake layers first:
- Prepare the greased and floured baking sheets and preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F.
- Separate the eggs into two bowls.
- Mix the egg yolks with half of the powdered sugar until double in volume and a light yellow color.
- Beat the egg whites with the remainder of the sugar until soft peaks form.
- Carefully combine the beaten egg whites and the mixed egg yolks.
- Add the flour and the melted butter and stir carefully.
- Divide the sponge cake batter into 6 equal parts and spread inside the marked circles with an offset spatula.
- Place the baking sheets into the preheated oven and bake for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Take the sponge cakes out of the oven and lift them off with a thin knife, then shape the circles with the cake ring.
- Mix the eggs with the powdered sugar over a double boiler (bain-marie) until it reaches 70°C / 160° During this process the eggs will be pasteurized and safe to consume.
- Take off the bowl from the heat and beat with an electric mixer until the mixture cools down to room temperature.
- Mix the butter with the vanilla sugar until fluffy.
- Melt the cocoa mass, cocoa butter, and chocolate on low heat and mix with the butter.
- Pour the egg mixture into the buttercream a little at a time, mixing constantly until fully combined.
Make the caramel top:
- Choose one sponge cake circle to coat with caramel and place it on a baking sheet or a marble countertop.
- Grease an offset spatula and one large kitchen knife with butter. Have the butter at hand, as you may need to re-grease the knife.
- Melt the sugar in a pan on low heat to make a light brown caramel.
- Pour the caramel over the sponge cake circle and smooth it out with the buttered offset spatula.
- Wait a few moments, just until the caramel starts to set, and mark 16 slices with the buttered spine of the knife. You can re-butter the knife during the process if it starts to stick.
- Cut off and remove the caramel bits that dripped down the edge of the sponge before they set.
- Cut the caramel with the edge of a buttered knife along the marked lines before the caramel is set completely.
- Let the caramel cool down completely.
Assemble the cake:
- Fill the remaining five sponge cake sheets with chocolate buttercream. The thickness of the sponge cake circles and buttercream layers should be equal.
- Arrange the caramel-covered triangles on top of the torte. You can place them flat onto the torte, or at an angle, supported by buttercream rosettes.
- Cover the sides of the cake with buttercream in a thin layer, and smooth it out with an offset spatula.
- Place the torte into the refrigerator to cool down before you serve it.
Can I make this torte ahead of time?
The shelf life of a Dobos torte is 7 days in a cold and dry place, but the caramel on the top of the cake will last only two days in a humid environment. You can also keep the torte in the freezer for up to three months.
What Is a Dobos Torte? – The Authentic Recipe
The original Hungarian dobos torte (dobostorta) consists of six thin sponge cake
layers filled with chocolate buttercream and caramel on top.
- 6 eggs
- 100 g / 3.5 oz powdered sugar
- 100 g / 3.5 oz cake flour
- 35 g / 1.2 oz melted butter
- Butter or vegetable shortening and flour for greasing and flouring the baking sheets
- 4 eggs
- 200 g / 7 oz powdered sugar
- 235 g / 8.3 oz butter at room temperature
- 17 g / 0.6 oz vanilla sugar
- 35 g / 1.2 oz solid cocoa mass
- 35 g / 1.2 oz cocoa butter
- 200 g / 7 oz dark chocolate
- 150 g / 5.3 oz granulated white sugar
- Sponge Cake Sheets
- Grease and flour the baking sheets, then use a cake ring to mark 6 circles 22cm / 8.5 inches in diameter.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F.
- Separate the eggs into two mixing bowls.
- Mix the egg yolks with half of the powdered sugar until fluffy.
- Beat the egg whites with the remaining sugar until soft peaks form.
- Combine the two mixtures carefully with a hand whisk or a wooden spoon.
- Pour the flour onto the mixture and fold it into the batter.
- Add the melted but not hot butter and stir carefully.
- Divide the sponge cake batter into 6 equal parts, and spread evenly inside the marked circles with an offset spatula.
- Put the baking trays into the preheated oven and bake for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Use a thin flat knife to lift off each sponge cake sheet from the baking tray.
- Cut out perfect circles from the sponges using the cake ring and set them aside.
- Chocolate buttercream
- Mix the eggs with the powdered sugar over a double boiler until the mixture reaches 70°C/ 160°F.
- Take the mixture off from the heat and mix until cooled down to room temperature.
- Combine the chocolate, cocoa butter, and cocoa mass in a bowl and melt on low heat, then let cool down to room temperature.
- Mix the butter with the vanilla sugar until fluffy and add the melted chocolate mixture.
- Pour the cooked eggs into the previous mixture a little at a time, mixing constantly until fully combined.
- Choose one sponge cake circle to coat with caramel, and place it onto a baking tray or a marble kitchen countertop.
- Grease an offset spatula and the large kitchen knife with butter or shortening. You`ll need to grease the spine of the knife to mark the lines and the edge of the knife to cut along the marked lines.
- Melt the sugar in a pan on low heat until it melts and gets light brown.
- Pour the caramel onto the prepared sponge cake sheet and smooth it out with the buttered spatula.
- Wait for a little, and when the caramel starts to set, divide the circle into 16 equal triangles with the buttered spine of the knife.
- Cut the caramel with a buttered large kitchen knife along the marked lines.
- Cut off the caramel bits that dripped down the sides of the sponge, and let the caramel cool down.
- Assemble the torte
- Fill the sponge cake sheets with the chocolate buttercream. The thickness of the sponge cake and the buttercream layers should be equal.
- Place the triangles topped with caramel on top of the cake.
- Cover the side of the cake with buttercream and smooth it out with an offset spatula.
- Cool down the torte in the freezer or in the refrigerator. Keep the torte in a dry and cold place.
- Be cautious when making the caramel, because it can cause severe burn injuries.
- The sponge cakes are traditionally baked on greased and floured baking sheets, but you can also bake them on a baking sheet covered with baking paper.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 307Total Fat: 18.8gSaturated Fat: 11.3gSodium: 117mgCarbohydrates: 31.1gFiber: 0.7gSugar: 25.9gProtein: 4.3g
Disclaimer: Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.
I hope you like this classic Hungarian recipe as much as I do. If you have any questions or comments related to this recipe, please leave them in the comments below. If you like my Dobos torte recipe please don’t forget to share it.
You may also wish to find out if you can replace butter with margarine.
6 thoughts on “What Is a Dobos Torte? – The Authentic Recipe”
Wow, this looks amazing! I am not much of a baker but have dipped my toes in it. This recipe seems a little advanced for my current ability, but it looks so good that I might just want to go for it. It looks like an unusual dessert that could really hit the spot after dinner. Also, I had no idea that making caramel could be so dangerous! Haha. Thank you for showing me this new treat.
Thank you, Max. The dobos torte is truly an amazing dessert. It may take some practice, but it`s worth it.
There are so many ways to make chocolate cake, I love this kind of cake from a child and still do to this day. This is the first time that I have heard of the Dobos torte and I am sure that this cake type is a real treat. Thanks so much for a well-detailed post on this cake and how to make it. I am sure that many of your readers will give this cake a try, those of us who are chocolate cake lovers.
Thank you for your kind words, the Dobos torte is a really delicious chocolate cake. You can make it too, by following my step-by-step instructions.
I have a question, is there an ingredient missing in the list for the buttercream? (Combine the chocolate, cocoa butter and cocoa mass in a bowl and melt on low heat, then let cool down to room temperature.)
What is the “Chocolate” that it is referring too. I used both the cocoa butter and the cocoa mass. My buttercream is very soft, I put it in the fridge to try and harden a bit. Not sure what I did wrong.
There was indeed an error in the recipe, the buttercream should also contain 200g/7oz dark chocolate. Sorry for the error and my late reply.