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Friday, August 28, 2009

The fatest cake you will ever eat?

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.

Since there was no way Syd and I were eating this on our own (and I don't even think I want to make a gf-version for me...but we will see), I decided to make a half recipe, even though we are maybe going to share this with a couple of friends for a (belated) birthday. Although birthday girl's husband is kind of being a jerk at the moment, so...maybe not. He is not deserving of cake. He is more deserving of a good punch in the nose. :3

I haven't changed this recipe much (shocking!). The cake layers themselves aren't terribly fattening, it is mostly the buttercream frosting that does it. :P Although there is rather a lot of sugar as well.

So, a Dobos Torte is a tart/cake/torte that originated in Hungary. It consists of three essential parts:
multiple layers (5 here, but can be more) of sponge cake,
It's spongey and it's cake!Sponge cake layers

(dark) chocolate buttercream icing,
Buttercream...but it has no cream in it O_oChocolate buttercream

and caramel wedges on top.
Dark Caramel...oopsCaramel covered sponge cake wedges

I beat the eggs for the recommended amount of time, and they seemed to come out better than some of the other eggs that I have beaten previously.
The egg mixEgg whites and yolks mixed, before adding the flour

I kind of estimated the amount of batter to use for each layer, so I hope my layers are thick enough. They didn't burn or anything, and they look good. They also smell good. Too bad I can't eat them. :(
Batter on the baking sheetsBatter spread in circles...it was hard to get an even thickness

I grated my chocolate instead of chopped it. I used half a baker's chocolate bar leftover from making ystervarkkies.
Chocolatey goodnessFinely ground chocolate, castor sugar all measured out

I think I may have over cooked the carmel juuuuuuuuust a bit, ooops. I was doing laundry. ^^' I should not mutlitask while daring kitchening!

Icing the cake was the fun part!
No, Donkey, Ogres are not like cake!You can see the layers!

And the finished cake! It was kind of hard to get the wedges to stand up and look nice without nuts underneath propping them up. Oh well, I still think the final effect is nice.
you can't even tell there are five layers inside...It looks good enough to eat! ^_^ ...I hope

I'll post pics of the insides of the cake once I see them. :P

Here is the Recipe: My notes are in italics

Dobos Torte


•2 baking sheets I did this with only one..
•9” (23cm) springform tin and 8” cake tin, for templates I made a template out of paper myself, and traced it onto the parchment paper and waxed paper...
•mixing bowls (1 medium, 1 large)
•a sieve
•a double boiler
•a small saucepan
•a whisk (you could use a balloon whisk for the entire cake, but an electric hand whisk or stand mixer will make life much easier)
•metal offset spatula
•sharp knife
•a 7 1/2” cardboard cake round, or just build cake on the base of a sprinfrom tin. Making my own
•piping bag and tip, optional

Prep times

•Sponge layers 20 mins prep, 40 mins cooking total if baking each layer individually.
•Buttercream: 20 mins cooking. Cooling time for buttercream: about 1 hour plus 10 minutes after this to beat and divide.
•Caramel layer: 10-15 minutes.
•Assembly of whole cake: 20 minutes

Sponge cake layers
I made half a recipe..
•6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
•1 1/3 cups (162g) confectioner's (icing) sugar, divided
•1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
•1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (112g) sifted cake flour (SUBSTITUTE 95g plain flour + 17g cornflour (cornstarch) sifted together)
•pinch of salt

Chocolate Buttercream
also half a recipe
•4 large eggs, at room temperature
•1 cup (200g) caster (ultrafine or superfine white) sugar
•4oz (110g) bakers chocolate or your favourite dark chocolate, finely chopped
•2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons (250g) unsalted butter, at room temperature.

Caramel topping
Halved this one as well...are we seeing a pattern here? :P

•1 cup (200g) caster (superfine or ultrafine white) sugar I found this as Superfine Baker's Sugar
•12 tablespoons (180 ml) water
•8 teaspoons (40 ml) lemon juice
•1 tablespoon neutral oil (e.g. grapeseed, rice bran, sunflower)

Finishing touches

•a 7” cardboard round Making this myself, couldn't find a 4" round :P
•12 whole hazelnuts, peeled and toastedNo nuts in my house!!!
•½ cup (50g) peeled and finely chopped hazelnutsNo nuts

Directions for the sponge layers:

NB. The sponge layers can be prepared in advance and stored interleaved with parchment and well-wrapped in the fridge overnight.

1.Position the racks in the top and centre thirds of the oven and heat to 400F (200C).

2.Cut six pieces of parchment paper to fit the baking sheets. Using the bottom of a 9" (23cm) springform tin as a template and a dark pencil or a pen, trace a circle on each of the papers, and turn them over (the circle should be visible from the other side, so that the graphite or ink doesn't touch the cake batter.)

3.Beat the egg yolks, 2/3 cup (81g) of the confectioner's (icing) sugar, and the vanilla in a medium bowl with a mixer on high speed until the mixture is thick, pale yellow and forms a thick ribbon when the beaters are lifted a few inches above the batter, about 3 minutes. (You can do this step with a balloon whisk if you don't have a mixer.)

4.In another bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 2/3 cup (81g) of confectioner's (icing)sugar until the whites form stiff, shiny peaks. Using a large rubber spatula, stir about 1/4 of the beaten whites into the egg yolk mixture, then fold in the remainder, leaving a few wisps of white visible. Combine the flour and salt. Sift half the flour over the eggs, and fold in; repeat with the remaining flour.

5.Line one of the baking sheets with a circle-marked paper. Using a small offset spatula, spread about 3/4cup of the batter in an even layer, filling in the traced circle on one baking sheet. Bake on the top rack for 5 minutes, until the cake springs back when pressed gently in the centre and the edges are lightly browned. While this cake bakes, repeat the process on the other baking sheet, placing it on the centre rack. When the first cake is done, move the second cake to the top rack. Invert the first cake onto a flat surface and carefully peel off the paper. Slide the cake layer back onto the paper and let stand until cool. Rinse the baking sheet under cold running water to cool, and dry it before lining with another parchment. Continue with the remaining papers and batter to make a total of six layers. Completely cool the layers. Using an 8" springform pan bottom or plate as a template, trim each cake layer into a neat round. (A small serrated knife is best for this task.)

Directions for the chocolate buttercream:

NB. This can be prepared in advance and kept chilled until required.

1.Prepare a double-boiler: quarter-fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to a boil.

2.Meanwhile, whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale and thickened, about five minutes. You can use a balloon whisk or electric hand mixer for this.

3.Fit bowl over the boiling water in the saucepan (water should not touch bowl) and lower the heat to a brisk simmer. Cook the egg mixture, whisking constantly, for 2-3 minutes until you see it starting to thicken a bit. Whisk in the finely chopped chocolate and cook, stirring, for a further 2-3 minutes.

4.Scrape the chocolate mixture into a medium bowl and leave to cool to room temperature. It should be quite thick and sticky in consistency.
5.When cool, beat in the soft butter, a small piece (about 2 tablespoons/30g) at a time. An electric hand mixer is great here, but it is possible to beat the butter in with a spatula if it is soft enough. You should end up with a thick, velvety chocolate buttercream. Chill while you make the caramel topping.

Directions for the caramel topping:
1.Choose the best-looking cake layer for the caramel top. To make the caramel topping: Line a jellyroll pan with parchment paper and butter the paper. Place the reserved cake layer on the paper. Score the cake into 12 equal wedges. Lightly oil a thin, sharp knife and an offset metal spatula.

2.Stir the sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over a medium heat, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. Once dissolved into a smooth syrup, turn the heat up to high and boil without stirring, swirling the pan by the handle occasionally and washing down any sugar crystals on the sides of the pan with a wet brush until the syrup has turned into an amber-coloured caramel.

3.The top layer is perhaps the hardest part of the whole cake so make sure you have a oiled, hot offset spatula ready. I also find it helps if the cake layer hasn't just been taken out of the refrigerator. I made mine ahead of time and the cake layer was cold and the toffee set very, very quickly—too quickly for me to spread it. Immediately pour all of the hot caramel over the cake layer. You will have some leftover most probably but more is better than less and you can always make nice toffee pattern using the extra to decorate. Using the offset spatula, quickly spread the caramel evenly to the edge of the cake layer. Let cool until beginning to set, about 30 seconds. Using the tip of the hot oiled knife (keep re-oiling this with a pastry brush between cutting), cut through the scored marks to divide the caramel layer into 12 equal wedges. Cool another minute or so, then use the edge of the knife to completely cut and separate the wedges using one firm slice movement (rather than rocking back and forth which may produce toffee strands). Cool completely.

Assembling the Dobos

1.Divide the buttercream into six equal parts.

2.Place a dab of chocolate buttercream on the middle of a 7 1/2” cardboard round and top with one cake layer. Spread the layer with one part of the chocolate icing. Repeat with 4 more cake layers. Spread the remaining icing on the sides of the cake.

3.Optional: press the finely chopped hazelnuts onto the sides of the cake.

4.Propping a hazelnut under each wedge so that it sits at an angle, arrange the wedges on top of the cake in a spoke pattern. If you have any leftover buttercream, you can pipe rosettes under each hazelnut or a large rosette in the centre of the cake. Refrigerate the cake under a cake dome until the icing is set, about 2 hours. Let slices come to room temperature for the best possible flavour.

End Notes:
While a bit time consuming, this wasn't terribly difficult, but it looks impressive. I have no idea how it tastes, however!

I will add a review here once we have had the cake with the birthday girl and people...either tonight or tomorrow night. Yep.

That was fun! ^_^

Monday, August 24, 2009

I really need to be better at updating ._.

I updated my 101 in 1001 list, finally. I had been slacking in updating (and in posting about what I have done, as well!).

We took my Dad up to the Neil Armstrong Museum for his birthday, one of the places on our list, so I can check off one of the "visit 10 places in Ohio"...next stop: who knows? Maybe someplace over labor day weekend.

Also, I am in the process of looking for a job, but I was not anticipating the economy being this bad, and have only even managed to get one interview (yes, ONE interview in almost 9 months!!! T_T) so that is a bit out of my control. :( The "get a credit card" is also out of my control, because neither of us have credit history and so we CAN'T get a credit card and we don't really feel like freezing $5000 for a year. Argh. Maybe if I can find a job.

But we did finally start working on our Budget App, using MVC (which is cool) and NHibernate (which is cool but NHibernateRepository is causing problems, which is not cool).

I have also been studying for the MCTS, and am currently through chapter 11 so I should be taking the test by the end of next month, then I can go on to study the services book and the web app book as well. Then I can be a MCP too! ^_^

I have also been crafting a lot lately, making cool stuff for Syd's cube and for our new apartment which is love. <3 I recently made fish decals for the bathroom, and they are awesome. I am dying to do the study but I am going to have to order stuff from Amazon first. White walls get kinda boring after a while, and we don't even have any art or photos up yet (and last week I broke the only photo frame we had out! D:). Also I am knitting on a hoodie (Riding to Avalon by Connie Chang Chinchio, from Interweave's KnitScene, Fall 2008) for the SKC KAL...I really wanted to knit the Apres Surf Hoodie (same designer) but Elann.com is all out of the yarn I wanted to use in the color...and the original yarn is discontinued and I can't find the color I want in a yarn that I want (I don't want an all or mostly wool yarn because I do not want the Apres Surf Hoodie to be too hot).

There are so many things that I want to do but I just end up either not having the time to do or not having the money to do. It is kind of frustrating, actually. This mostly includes electronic projects from Make, Instructibles, and Switch Craft, but also includes anything that requires a sewing machine or button machine. :P

Yeah so I should stop wasting time and finish coloring in my shrinky dinks. Yep.

Coming later this week: Daring Baker's August Challenge! Which has yet to be baked! ^^'

Saturday, August 15, 2009

More seafood!

Well, I certainly seem to be on a seafood kick recently! Between pan-frying cornbread battered fish, making fish and spinach quesadillas, and the last daring cook's challenge of Skate with Traditional Flavors Powdered, I think I have eaten more seafood in the last two months than...well...in the entire rest of my life combined! o.0

Not that that is a bad thing. I really like seafood. :)

So this months daring cooks challenge is ALSO seafood. This time, cuttlefish (and once again, a kind of fish that is not easily accessible in the middle of the midwest)!

This month's daring cooks challenge was hosted by Olga of Las Cosas de Olga and Olga's Kitchen. She chose a Spanish dish called Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes by José Andrés, a well-known Spanish cook.

ingredientsHere's all of the ingredients..

So first I started the sofregit cooking. That wasn't too hard, just a couple of tomatoes (chopped), and onion (chopped), some garlic (chopped), bay leaves, and spices.

sofregit...mmmmTomatoes and spices and onions oh yum!

While that was cooking away (and smelling mighty good!), I learned how to cut artichokes. I don't think I have ever EATEN artichoke before, much less cooked with it. So, that was definitely an experience.

Conclusion? Artichokes. Are. Weird!Interesting...

I need a better knife. And now I need to clean my kitchen, and I just cleaned today! D:

And then I de-stemmed and gilled the portobello mushrooms. I have never done that before either, but it was kind of fun. Mushroom gills are soft. ^_^

Portobello Road, Portobello Road...Mushrooms!

Anyways, so then I took out the shrimp and ran half of it under cold water to thaw, removed the sofregit from the stove, and heated up olive oil and started cooking the shrimp.

And it was at this point that...my digital camera died. T_T Noooooooooooooo....So, sorry, no pictures of the finished dish. ^^'

Once the shrimp had been sitting in the oil for a bit, I threw in the mushrooms and artichoke hearts, and a couple of bay leaves, and sauteed that for a while.

Then, I added white wine, mixed that up for a bit, and then added the entire amount of sofregit. I didn't make a terribly large amount, to begin with...

After letting that sit for a bit, I added the water and brought that to a boil. Once it was really boiling, I added the rice, and boiled that for five minutes.

I substituted tumeric for saffron. I could actually find saffron, but I wasn't going to spend $16 on it, and I already had tumeric.

Then the rice boiled for another 8 minutes and sat until we decided to eat.

Final DishRice and shrimp!

I was going to make some delicious Spanish dessert to go with this, but I either didn't have the ingredients for things or my husband wasn't hungry for them. And I didn't really want to run to the store, so...no dessert. I'll have to make dessert another night. :P (I was debating between arroz con leche, which Syd doesn't really like but I do, churros, flan, and custard...sigh...but my milk went bad!)

Anyways, here is the official recipe, with my changes in italics.

Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokesExcept I used shrimp instead
Cooking time: 45 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4):
As I was serving only 2, I made a half recipe, but it still served more than two :P
•4 Artichokes (you can use jarred or freezed if fresh are not available)
•12 Mushrooms (button or Portobello)
•1 or 2 Bay leaves (optional but highly recommended)
•1 glass of white wine
•2 Cuttlefish (you can use freezed cuttlefish or squid if you don’t find it fresh)or shrimp...seafood is hard to find in the midwest, and cuttlefish are too cute to eat anyways!
•“Sofregit” (see recipe below)
•300 gr (2 cups) Short grain rice (Spanish types Calasparra or Montsant are preferred, but you can choose any other short grain. This kind of rice absorbs flavor very well) – about 75 gr per person ( ½ cup per person) Please read this for more info on suitable rices.I used sushi rice because that was the only short-grained rice I could find
•Water or Fish Stock (use 1 ½ cup of liquid per ½ cup of rice)
•Saffron threads (if you can’t find it or afford to buy it, you can substitute it for turmeric or yellow coloring powder) I tok the tumeric option, saffron is too expensive
•Allioli (olive oil and garlic sauce, similar to mayonnaise sauce) - optionalOptional, so I didn't make this, I don't have a mortar and pestle...gosh, some people have everything!


1.Cut the cuttlefish in little strips. Thaw the shrimp
2.Add 1 or 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and put the cuttlefishshrimp in the pan.
3.If you use fresh artichokes, clean them as shown in the video in tip #7. Cut artichokes in eights.
4.Clean the mushrooms and cut them in fourths.
5.Add a bay leaf to the cuttlefishshrimp and add also the artichokes and the mushrooms.
6.Sauté until we get a golden color in the artichokes.
7.Put a touch of white wine so all the solids in the bottom of the get mixed, getting a more flavorful dish.
8.Add a couple or three tablespoons of sofregit or the whole batch of sofregit and mix to make sure everything gets impregnated with the sofregit.
9.Add all the liquid and bring it to boil.
10.Add all the rice. Let boil for about 5 minutes in heavy heat.
11.Add some saffron thread to enrich the dish with its flavor and color. Stir a little bit so the rice and the other ingredients get the entire flavor. If you’re using turmeric or yellow coloring, use only 1/4 teaspoon.
12.Turn to low heat and boil for another 8 minutes (or until rice is a little softer than “al dente”)
13.Put the pan away from heat and let the rice stand a couple of minutes.

Sofregit (a well cooked and fragrant sauce made of olive oil, tomatoes, garlic and onions, and may at times different vegetables such as peppers or mushrooms)

I also made a half-recipe of this

Cooking time: aprox. 1 hour

•2 tablespoons of olive oil
•5 big red ripe tomatoes, chopped
•2 small onions, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped (optional)
•4 or 5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup of button or Portobello mushrooms, chopped (optional)
•1 Bay leaf
•Touch of ground cumin
•Touch of dried oregano


1.Put all the ingredients together in a frying pan and sauté slowly until all vegetables are soft.
2.Taste and salt if necessary (maybe it’s not!)

Because I did not make the optional part of this recipe, the Allioli, I am not including the recipes for that here.

Final Verdict
I have decided that I don't really like artichokes, and they taste kind of like cooked broccoli. Ew.

However, overall this dish was very good. I think it might have been better if I had been able to use fish stock, but I definitely liked it with the shrimp.

Syd thought it was good, too. =)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Geek Crafts

I am jobless. Still. So, being bored, I have started crafting things for my nice new apartment. I haven't gotten very far yet, but I am working on it and I have a few things "in the works" that I will share once they are finished.

Anyways, Syd wanted Mario magnets for his cube (after I made him tetris magnets), so he can "play" Mario during work. I looked into various options, but he wanted them small (so I couldn't needle point them on plastic canvas as I did the tetris magnets, and he thought the perler bead option would be too big as well, plus we don't have an iron anyways...need one, though) so I ended up making them out of shrinky dinks. And it took FOREVER. Even though they are small, coloring all of those pixles is kind of annoying. Cutting out the pixel edges is even worse. And then it took forever to find magnets that would fit on the back of the shrinky dinks and yet not be too strong that they would stick to the fridge rather than to the shrinky dinks (the shrinky dinks were not damaged, just the glue came off). But, anyways, here they are!

The whole set!

I am rather proud of this set.

another view

I totally want to make another one just for me.

And another view

Except it took me oooooh two months to make them. I don't think you could pay me to make another set. Even if you paid me! Which you can't. Because Mario is Copyright Nintendo, of course. Although tons of people do. :\ Am I missing something, or what?

Although, now I kind of want to make a smaller set for myself. Just the power ups. Or maybe just mario and peach and the fish...or...argh. Now I want one too! :P I also am contemplating making earrings and/or a bracelet.

So that was for husband's work..."work" haha. >.>

Anyways, for our nice new apartment I made...coasters! And, not just any coasters, no. STARGATE coasters!

A wormhole through my table!!!

And that was before I knew Think Geek had official Stargate coasters. Sigh. When I have a job, I will happily spend all of my paycheck at think geek. They also have SGC shirts. Yes, I love Stargate. <3 I wish it was real. :(

Not bad for cardboard, paint, and varnish...

Anyways, those are not all of the projects I have lined up but I am on a budget (no job *sniff*) and I am also trying to study for the MCTS and do all of the housework and laundry so Syd doesn't have to. <3