James Beard Award-winning Cookbook Author

Dobosh Torte


Dobosh Torte or Dobos Torta is one of the greatest Hungarian cakes. Created by József C. Dobos in the mid-1880s, it is traditionally five or more thin layers of sponge cake baked individually on parchment and filled with a silky smooth chocolate buttercream. The top layer is covered with a melted sugar caramel to suggest a drum. In fact, “dobos” means drummer. I bought a Dobos Torta recently at Otto’s Hungarian Import Store and Deli in Burbank, California.

The cake, imported from Hungary, is quite a sight to behold. More than 3 inches tall and containing seven layers, its glistening caramel candy top made a spectacular dessert for a holiday dinner.The dinner came about quite by accident. My wife and I were staying with her niece in Glendale and we decided to cook a meal based on what we found at a local farmers’ market. Fresh eggs, small zucchini, leeks, shallots, broccoli, and onions along with fresh basil and other herbs were in plentiful supply so I decided to make a cheese soufflé baked atop all those cooked veggies. Because the soufflé was layered I wanted a layered dessert, and bingo! Dobos Torta popped into my head.

So off we went to Otto’s and bought the last frozen Dobos Torta in the store. We thawed it at room temperature and put it in the fridge to keep the buttercream firm. The caramel-topped top layer had been cut into 12 wedges and made serving quite easy by cutting between the wedges. If you want to experience the real Dobos Torta, Otto’s will ship one out to you. To make one yourself, check out the many videos and recipes available online.

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