I joined Daring Bakers, and this is my first challenge. I was very excited to get into this group, but I must say, I was a little intimidated by the dessert we were to make. 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.
Let me tell ya, there is a reason why this is called a challenge. I don't think I've ever spent so much time to make a cake. There are a lot of steps.
You have to make the sponge cake mixture.
You have to individually bake the really thin sponge pieces.
You have to carefully peel the thin cakes off of the parchment paper.
You have to trim the cakes.
You have to make the buttercream.
You have to skin the hazelnuts. (I suppose this could have been avoided if I had bought the unpeeled ones, but that's beside the point.)
You have to toast the hazelnuts.
You have to make the caramel.
You have to struggle for ages trying to get the caramel/cake pieces apart.
You have to ice in between each layer.
You have to decorate the cake.
You have to wonder how in the world other people made it look so easy and look so nice.
Then...you have to eat it.
After all of the struggles, the end result was really quite nice. Jacob said it was better than he thought it was going to be. He had sneaked some of my cake remains and thought the cake was going to be quite bland. But the combination of the cake with the buttercream really gave it depth. I have to say, though, my favorite bites included the chopped hazelnuts that I used to decorate the sides. I guess it reminds me of Nutella, but I felt the cake really came together in those bites. I would have liked to used the hazelnuts throughout the cake.
As for complaints, (I've got to vent somewhere) I did not really like this buttercream recipe. It was kinda melty at room temperature, and I felt like it could have been more chocolatey. Perhaps a ganache would have been nice. Or maybe add a few ounces more chocolate to the buttercream. But I didn't really like the method of making this buttercream, though. It was time consuming, and very hard to get smooth. And then there was the caramel. I cringed when I saw that it was part of this recipe, but wanting to be a good Daring Baker, I did it. And I found out a cringed for a reason. How is it that caramel made at home tastes so bitter. And it was sticky. And it was nearly impossible to get apart from the parchment paper. There has got to be a better way get pretty amber colored decorations than that.
So of the other Daring Bakers did some other flavor combinations, and I hope that someday, I'll get around to trying one or two.