Hungary: Dobostorte

And we’re back! A lot quicker this week than last week!
Hungary!!

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I tried to think of some stereotypical Hungarian things that might be commonly known outside of Hungary- like leprechauns or Guinness for Ireland, chocolate for Switzerland, Yorkshire tea (or just tea in general) for England, ancient Roman ruins or pasta (“Mamamia, that’s a spicy meat-uh-ball-uh!”(name that movie!)) for Italy, but all that came to mind right away for Hungary was…a Hungarian Horntail. Can we guess who’s the nerd in the room???? (if you’re pointing to me, you’re correct.) I like Harry Potter, ok. Second thing that came to mind was “Hungarian Dance no. 5,” a song composed by Johannes Brahms….who was German…so…this doesn’t really count as Hungarian either. But I remember playing that song in high school when I was in orchestra, so it’s been drilled into the depths of my mind. And I’m really not doing well at this, so I’m just going go ahead and talk about this actually Hungarian thing that I made.

The Dobostorte!!
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I had a few options for Hungarian baked goods to pick from, and I originally didn’t want to make a Dobostorte, because it’s kind of stereotypical, and I wanted to switch it up a bit. Also, the bakery I work at sells Dobostortes (though I’m not the one who makes them) so I was already somewhat familiar with it. But I ended up settling on it anyway pretty much purely to feed my own ego. I’ve started attending this Monday-night church potluck thing, and since I sometimes like to show off with food, I sorta wanted to make something that looked cool…to impress people and in turn, make them think I’m cool. And the dobostorte had the most potential to impress!
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Side note: it did impress, so success!!!
Side note #2: ….that’s not the reason I started going to this church thing, I promise.
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Alright anyway..I’m pretty sure at my work, this is made differently than how this recipe had me do it. At work, they use two or three 8″ cake layers and slice them horizontally into maybe three separate layers each, and then stack them up with chocolate buttercream in between. This recipe had me spread small amounts of batter in a cake pan and bake each layer individually. I only had two 9″ cake pans and a spring form pan, so I used those three and baked a few rounds.
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I found it to be a little tricky, actually. 1. The recipe doesn’t call for the use of parchment paper. And I have no idea why. I greased and floured my pans but that did absolutely nothing with this sponge batter, and I lost the first three layers to the trash can, after being scraped off the bottoms of the pans! USE PARCHMENT PAPER. 2. The recipe only said to use about 1/4 cup of batter per layer. I dont know how they came up with that measurement, but I ended up using probably more like half a cup per layer, and may have used more, had I not lost three layers worth of batter! You need 7-8 layers to complete this cake, so I had to be a little stingy with my batter to make sure I could get 8 layers.

The frosting in this recipe is basically an Italian Meringue buttercream, except instead of using egg whites, you use the yolks only. Italian Meringue buttercream can be a little intimidating if you’ve never made it before, but it’s worth the work! So smooth and silky! I used to make Italian Meringue buttercreams multiple times a day at a previous job, so I have long since been intimidated by it, and like to make it whenever I can now!

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buttercream!!

Now, since I am a millennial, who lives in Chicago, with a job at a bakery, I’m not exactly sitting on a pile of money, neither literally or figuratively, so I attempted to be a little stingy when it came to the chocolate in the frosting. The recipe says, use either 2/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, or 10 oz bittersweet chocolate. I did have both on hand, preferred to use the melted chocolate over cocoa powder, but didn’t want to use all my precious chocolate chips, so I compromised and used 1/3 cup of cocoa powder, and about 5 oz. of melted chocolate. When the buttercream was ready for flavoring, I added in the melted chocolate first. I tasted it, it tasted good and chocolaty. So I thought “Yess this will be even more chocolaty after the cocoa!” and then added the cocoa powder, and the few teaspoons of vanilla and finished mixing it. I tasted it again. And became very confused. It actually tasted less chocolaty?!!? I had my roommate taste it to make sure I wasn’t going insane, and she too had more of a “Mmmm that’s really nice buttercream, so smooth!….is that chocolate…?” reaction. I have no idea why that happened, and I’m still baffled as to how adding cocoa powder made the chocolate flavor less prominent. I ended up adding about 3 oz. more melted chocolate, and that brought the chocolate flavor back up to a more or less satisfactory level. Next time, I will use all melted chocolate, and no cocoa.

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buttercream ingredients

Also, another side not about the buttercream recipe: It called for 2 cups of butter and 1/2 cup of shortening. And to that I said “HA!” and used all butter, 1. because I didn’t have shortening, and 2. butter is better anyway. #ALLTHEBUTTER

When it comes to finishing a dobostorte, the traditional finish is to pour caramel, or melted sugar, over a slice of cake, and cut it into wedges and place them on top of the assembled and iced cake. When I went to do this, I was again confused by the amounts of the recipe. I cooked the water, sugar and cream of tartar to the desired amber color. The recipe said to pour all of the sugar over the slice of cake. I just….there was enough sugar to cover like three slices of cake!! And I can’t just keep pouring it on, this is molten sugar that will just run right off the cake and on to the cutting board, then on to the table and who knows where else, and it’s HOT and STICKY and really hard to clean up!!! I poured on as much as I needed to cover the cake layer, then poured the rest into an 8×8 square cake pan, lined with parchment and left it to cool, and decided to find a way to use it for decoration.

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Looks like stained glass!

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I ended up grinding into sugar shards and using it around the base of the finished cake. I tried to break the hardened sugar into pieces using paper towels and a rolling pin, but it wasn’t getting fine enough for my taste. So i dumped it all into the food processor and pulsed it a bit until it was my desired texture.

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cooking the sugar for the buttercream

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Mmm yessss butterrrr
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all my layers

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The only negative from taking this to a potluck is that I didn’t get a chance to take a fancy picture of a slice of it, and had to use my phone camera as the slice was sitting on my plate right before I ate it….
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And for our Hungarian current events!
….I was actually a little saddened by all the headlines the came up for news about Hungary. 98% of them were about anti-refugee movements, plans to build walls and fences on the borders, “welcoming foreign workers as long as they’re not Syrian”…The Hungarian govt. even sent out leaflets to citizens with a map highlighting “no-go zones”, a.k.a. places that had “too many” refugees, many being big cities, such as London, Brussels, Marseille, Berlin, Stockholm and Copenhagen. Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister, Jean Asselborn, has actually called for Hungary to be either suspended or expelled from the European Union for “its ‘massive violation’ of EU fundamental values.” Hungary pretty much just brushed off his comment as nothing.

I searched another news site, and 98% of the headlines there had to do with the Euro 2016 tournament. Bluh.

How about some fun facts about Hungary instead of news??
1. Hungary is famous for its mathematicians including the designer of modern geometry Farkas Bolyai and his son designer of non-Euclidian geometry János Bolyai, Paul Erdős for Erdős numbers and John von Neumann, who was a key contributor in Quantum mechanics, Game theory, and digital computing.
2. 13 Hungarian or Hungarian-born scientists have received the Nobel Prize, all of whom emigrated from Hungary, due to persecution during the communist regime.
3. If you’ve seen Captain America: Civil War, at one point Vision attempts to make Paprikash for Wanda, and Vision is reading the recipe and says “a pinch of paprika…a pinch…” I was curious what Paprikash was, and turns out it is a Hungarian dish, basically of chicken cooked in a paprika sauce. I tried to make it, because it sounded good to me, and found out that you need a little more than a pinch! You need like 1/4 cup of paprika to make Paprikash! No wonder Vision’s paprikash didn’t taste right, geez. If you’re also feeling like channelling the spirits of Hungary and don’t want to bake a cake, I recommend making Paprikash, it was pretty good!

Recipe source: [HERE]

Dobostorte

INGREDIENTS

  1. Chocolate Buttercream:
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 3/4 cup water
    • 6 large egg yolks
    • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter or margarine, softened
    • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening (I replaced this with more butter)
    • 10 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled, or 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • Pinch of salt
    • 2 to 3 tablespoons rum or kirsch (optional) (I did not add this)
  2. Batter:
    • 6 large eggs
    • 1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon (9 ounces) sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour, measured by dip-and-sweep method
  3. Caramel (optional):
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 3/4 cup water
    • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

PREPARATION

    1. 1. To make the buttercream: Stir the sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and boil, without stirring, until the syrup reaches the soft-ball stage, or 250°F on a candy thermometer, about 10 minutes.
    2. 2. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks until pale and thick, about 4 minutes. In a slow, steady stream, pour the hot syrup into the eggs, beating continuously as you pour. (Do not let the syrup touch the beaters or it will spin into threads.) Continue beating until the mixture thickens and cools to room temperature, about 10 minutes.
    3. 3. Beat in the butter and shortening, 2 tablespoons at a time, until absorbed. Gradually beat in the chocolate. Blend in the vanilla, salt, and rum if using. Do not add the flavoring too quickly or the buttercream might curdle. Chill until of spreading consistency, at least 2 hours or up to 1 week. If the buttercream firms too much, return to room temperature before using, about 1 hour.
    4. 4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease the bottoms of several 9-inch round cake pans and dust with flour, tapping out the excess. Or grease and flour several large baking sheets and, using a 9-inch saucepan lid or springform pan, mark 9-inch circles on the sheets.
    5. 5. To make the batter: Beat the eggs and sugar until thick and creamy, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the vanilla and salt. Sift the flour over the top and carefully fold it in.
    6. 6. Spread about 1/4 cup of the batter evenly over the bottom of the prepared pans or over each circle on the baking sheets.
    7. 7. Bake until the edges begin to color, 5 to 7 minutes. Loosen with a spatula, invert onto a rack, and let cool. Wipe the pans, regrease, dust with flour, and repeat until there are 7 or 8 matching layers.
    8. 8. To make the caramel if using: Stir all the caramel ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Stop stirring, increase the heat to medium, and cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until the syrup turns a deep amber color. Do not burn.
    9. 9. Using a lightly oiled metal spatula, spread all of the caramel evenly over one of the cake layers. Let set slightly (do not let it harden), then use an oiled knife to cut just the caramel into 8 to 10 wedges (indicating where the cake will be sliced).
    10. 10.To assemble: Place a cake layer on a serving plate, spread with 1/8-inch thick layer of buttercream, then place a second layer on top. Repeat layering the buttercream and cake layers. Cover the top of the cake with buttercream. If using the caramel layer, place on top of the cake. Cover the sides of the cake with buttercream. Chill. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 day or in the freezer. Let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving.
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