This showstopping dessert is a Hungarian Dobos Torte – also known as a 7 layer sponge cake. Each layer is filled with a rich and fluffy chocolate buttercream. It’s topped with a caramel-crusted layer of cake!
My birthday was fast approaching, and I had no idea what kind of cake to bake. I researched cake flavors online and nothing spoke to me. Finally, I asked my skating friend (who is an up-and-coming baker extraordinaire) for her recommendations. She suggested this Hungarian Dobos Torte. I filed the idea away for a week, and after coming up short, I went back to her suggestion.
Because we were traveling out of town the weekend before my birthday, I was hard pressed for time. I wasn’t sure how much time I would have to dedicate to make the cake. Luckily, I had about an hour one Monday evening so I baked the 7 individual layers. I set them aside and covered them for the next day.
The next morning, I made the chocolate filling and the caramel glaze layer and assembled my cake. Because I left my cake layers out overnight, the cake itself was slightly on the dry side. Had I made everything the same day, I believe my cake would have been a thousand times better. However, I still loved the rich and fluffy chocolate buttercream.
I loved that the buttercream required a new technique. The method is similar to Swiss meringue buttercream, where sugar and egg whites are heated and then beaten. However, rather than adding in butter in the end, we creamed the butter for 10 full minutes beforehand. The resulting buttercream was thick, fluffy, and cloud-like.
While my husband and I both agreed that this cake was good, it didn’t make the Top 10 list. Regardless, the cake is still a showstopper and has an amazing filling and frosting.
Hungarian Dobos Torte
- 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- 1 and ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate finely chopped
- 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate finely chopped
- 1 pound unsalted butter room temperature
- 5 large egg whites room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup water
Make the cake
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line as many 9" round pans with parchment paper. You'll be baking 7 total layers. If needed, you can use the same pan multiple times, but I do recommend having 7 parchment circles cut out and ready to go. Before you mix any ingredients, I recommend you weigh the mixer bowl so you get a baseline of how heavy it is (this will come in handy in a little bit).
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add in the eggs, one at a time, and continue to mix well. Then add the flour and vanilla and mix until well incorporated.
- Weigh the mixing bowl and subtract its original weight. You will need to take the weight of the batter and divide it by 7 so each layer is about the same height. Weigh your cake pan so you get a baseline. Add ⅐ of the total weight of the batter so you know how much each cake pan will need to weigh before baking. Add the batter so you reach that goal weight.
- Bake in your preheated oven for 7 minutes or until the edges start to turn golden. Do not over bake the cakes.
- Repeat with the remaining batter. Set cakes aside as you work on the filling and caramel.
Make the filling
- In a large bowl, melt the chocolates. Whisk until smooth and set aside to cool.
- In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, beat the butter on low speed for about 2 minutes. Then increase the speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes. Finally, increase the speed to high and beat for 5 minutes. Your butter will appear very white and fluffy. Transfer this to the bowl with the melted chocolate and mix until no streaks remain. Clean the bowl (if using the bowl from a stand mixer).
- In a double boiler set over medium heat, melt the sugar and the egg whites together. Mix well until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture reaches 120°F. Transfer this into the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; alternatively, you can transfer to a separate large bowl.
- Whisk the egg white mixture on high speed until you achieve stiff peaks. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the bowl with the melted chocolate and whipped butter. Do not over mix. Set in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Assemble the cake
- Place one of the cake layers on a cake plate or serving plate. You may consider adding strips of parchment paper around the edges so the plate stays clean while you frost the cake.
- Add about ⅛ inch of frosting to the top of the cake. Repeat with remaining layers, saving the final layer and setting it aside (it will NOT be frosted with the filling). Spread any remaining filling around the sides of the cake as frosting if desired.
- Set the final layer of cake on top of a baking sheet or baking pan.
Make the caramel glaze
- In a small saucepan set over medium heat, melt the sugar and water together. Swirl the pan occasionally. Keep heating the sugar until it turns a deep amber color.
- Immediately pour the caramel over the final cake layer and spread it even. Immediately score the caramel with a knife into 8 even slices like a pizza. Set aside and allow the caramel to harden.
- Once caramel is set, break them off into slices. Arrange them on the top of the cake as desired - I stood mine up to make a fun pinwheel pattern. You can also just lay them directly on top of the topmost layer so it appears as just a regular caramel topping.
- Slice and enjoy.