Dobos Torta: The Most Famous Dessert in “the land of 10 million pastry lovers’”

Made of layers of light vanilla cake, chocolate butter cream and garnished with caramel slices, Dobos Torta or Dobosh Torta was created in 1887 by renowned Hungarian chef József Dobos at the height of the Austro-Hungarian empire. It evokes the elegance of Vienna and the traditions of Hungary. And we’re now making our own version at the Bakehouse.

Dobos was born in 1847 and was one of the most influential chefs in Hungarian culinary history. In the later part of his career, he opened a fine foods shop in Budapest and, during this period, created the Dobos Torta. Selling it in Budapest wasn’t enough for this entrepreneurial chef. He even found a way to package the torta so that he could ship it to customers all over Europe! The torta was so popular that there was an entire pavilion devoted to making and selling it at the Millennium Exposition in 1896 (a celebration of Hungary’s 1000 years of economic and cultural development). Since the cake was frequently copied but not always as well as Mr. Dobos would have liked, he generously donated the recipe to the Budapest Pastry and Honey-Bread Makers Guild in 1906. It then remained a Hungarian tradition.

It was the Hungarian restaurateur George Lang who called Hungary the land of 10 million pastry lovers. Proof of his description was demonstrated by the festival held to honor the 75th birthday of the Dobos Torta in 1962. For three days, the city of Budapest celebrated and honored the cake and its creator.

How could we resist making a version of this famous cake? This torta is an example of how delicious simple and classic flavor combinations can be. It has five thin layers of light vanilla cake each separated with chocolate butter cream that also cloaks its exterior. Our version of the butter cream is a rich combination of Valrhona Satilla chocolate flavored with a little espresso. The torta has a very distinctive garnish. The top layer of cake is covered in caramel rather than icing and then is cut to use as garnish for each individual piece. It originally allowed the cake to stay fresher longer, which was a problem in the late 19th century. Today most Dobos Torta are round, but in many of the older recipes it was actually rectangular so we chose to go with history and make it rectangular. The sides of the cake can be left plain or covered in a wide variety of nuts. We decided to use crunchy chocolate crumbs to keep the torta nut-free. Join us for a delicious taste of the past.