Dobos Torte: Hungarian cake

There’s no other way to put it.  I’ve been creamed by the Hungarian dobos torte.  At least after the first attempt.

I chose Earthmother’s entry as the winner of my sinful pleasures dessert contest last week, knowing full well I might be wandering too far into unknown (in this case, Hungarian) territory.  But the beauty and unique drool-worthiness of the original recipe made it a challenge I couldn’t pass up.  Although the finished product fell flat, or more like squashed, it wasn’t a total loss.

I’ll first explain how I went about the process of recreation.  I decidedly went for a miniaturized torte due to cost and overall uncertainty to the finished product.  Thank goodness.

I used a traditional recipe submitted by Earthmother with the entry, and broke it down section by section.  The easiest and most successful part was the chocolate.  I’ve got plenty left to make more goodies even after I’ve been in and out of sugar comas (yes this can happen with raw food) from testing, testing, testing and eating spoonfuls of it.

{ raw vegan chocolate }

There are two ingredients that made this chocolate different than any other chocolate I’ve made.  In the original torte recipe, it calls for “3 tablespoons strong coffee”, and so I followed suit by grinding fresh espresso beans and adding 2 tablespoons.  The result was a subtle enhancement to the dark richness raw chocolate already tends to have, and the coffee flavor is only slightly detectable.

The other component was a product I purchased weeks ago to try it out, and this happened to be the perfect occasion.  If you aren’t familiar with agave inulin, it’s practically a dead ringer for confectioners’ sugar.  Fine and powdery, it isn’t nearly as sweet as confectionary but it does lend the same physical characteristics.  The taste is very light and delicate, which is kind of nice rather than a powerful sugar surge.  Now, I don’t believe this agave inulin is raw, but the Viv Agave product (available at Whole Foods Market)  is stated as “organic, prebiotic, and probiotic”.  And when making sweets that call for confectioners’ sugar I think it’s a very good compromise.

So the original torte recipe is emphatic on using vanilla confectioners’ sugar  both in the chocolate and the cake.  As you can see from the photo, I used vanilla inulin but I also added 1 1/2 scraped vanilla beans to the mix.  For the raw translation, I’m not sure that it made a big difference in flavor, perhaps very subtly it did.  But the product was fun to work with and I can see where it would be a great feature for other raw desserts.


{ bowl of agave inulin mixed with scraped vanilla beans }

On to the next main component of the dobos torte monster: the golden cake layers.  I was pretty enthusiastic while making this “batter” since the test specimens I whipped up seemed successful.  Again I used agave inulin, in addition to coconut flour.  True raw coconut flour is made simply by dehydrating young coconut meat and grinding it to flour consistency.  Bob’s Red Mill also makes packaged coconut flour, but since there’s no stipulation to whether it’s raw on the label, I have to assume it isn’t.  My thoughts behind using coconut flour and the agave inulin was that it would help to create a truer light “cake” texture that wasn’t too dense.  Maybe the macadamia nuts screwed it up? I’m not sure.  But when it came out of the dehydrator (maybe a little too done) it was far from the light cake texture I’d hoped for.  It tasted good, but it was dry and cracking up.

{ cutting out the cake layers }

Still trying to make it work, I went ahead using a ring form to punch the layers but it continued to break apart. “No way!” I thought.  I was gonna keep this thing together somehow, and surely the thick chocolate would help glue it all together.  Wrong!

{ dabbing on the chocolate }

By the time I assembled and stacked all five layers, they began to collapse under their own weight.  The chocolate oozed from every side, the cake continued to crack and slide around upon each chocolate layer.  But I had just one more idea in the hopes of salvage.  I let this torteless thing rest until it appeared to be well settled.  Then I took a very sharp knife and attempted to clean up the edges to its intended round, uniform shape.  NOPE, no deal.

{ torteless mess }

The final step would have been to add the caramel glaze.  I think I still have a good idea of how to do that, but as you can see it didn’t quite get that far.  Despite this total construction fail, the chocolate was really good and the cake may have been better had I not let it go all night in the dehydrator.  So here’s how I did it:

The vanilla sugar:

1 cup Viv Agave organic blue agave inulin
1 1/2 vanilla beans, scraped

Blend together in a food processor until the sticky vanilla beans are evenly distributed.

The Chocolate:

1 cup cacao nibs
1/2 cup vanilla inulin
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup agave
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp finely ground espresso
1/4 tsp sea salt

Blend all ingredients together in a high speed blender or Vita-mix. I strongly recommend a blender versus a food processor to assure the chocolate becomes very smooth and silky.

The “cake”:

1 cup macadamia nuts, soaked at least 8 hours
1 cup sifted coconut flour
1 cup water
1/2 cup vanilla inulin
1/4 cup agave
1 tbs coconut oil
1/4 tsp sea salt

First, put the macadamias, agave, and coconut oil in a food processor and blend well. Then gradually add dry ingredients and blend again. A dough ball will form, and at this point begin drizzling in the cup of water until it becomes a sticky batter consistency. With an offset spatula, spread mixture about 1/4″ thick onto lined dehydrator trays and dehydrate until desired tenderness.

And finally…

Earthmother:   I know you were looking forward to this, so I hope the raw goodies make up for the wonder torte that socked it to me.  I still wouldn’t have chosen different, and this isn’t the last attempt!

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