Thursday, August 27, 2009

Daring Baker's Dobos Torte!

Second Daring Baker's challenge for me! Woot! Everyone do a little happy dance now. =)

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.

Didja get that? I'm making a torte from Eastern Europe. How cool?!? And to think, soon after making it I'll actually be in the Czech Republic for a few days vacation with the husband. Good planning ladies, you picked just the right dessert for my schedule.

Back to the baking. A traditional Dobos torte is 5 layers (of course you can find recipes with lots more layers if you look) of sponge cake with chocolate butter cream frosting and caramel on top. YUM! The original was created in 1885, by a man named József C. Dobos, who kept his recipe secret until he retired in 1906 and then shared it for all to enjoy. Lorraine and Angela were nice enough to give the Daring Baker's a lot of leeway with alterations to the basic recipe including using egg-less butter cream (I took full advantage of this for baby's safety), shape of the cake, flavor variants, and nuts or no nuts. Some bakers took full advantage of the leeway, while I stuck pretty close to the original flavors and made a nice pretty square cake.

Since this recipe included so many steps, I'm just going to link you to the Daring Baker's homepage where you can find pictures of others work as well as the recipe once the reveal date has passed.

Sponge cake--
I halved the given recipe and only used one pan to make it so mine was quite thick. Since I was waiting until the last minute I figured it'd be ok If I cheated a little and had thick sponge cake vs. tiny little layers. Kudos to all those patient enough for the tiny layers. You deserve a medal.

Butter cream--
I used an egg-less recipe I had laying around.
1 stick softened butter
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar (add more if needed)
about 1/3 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract

Put in a bowl and mix! Not rocket science, but it works for me. And it's delicious!

Halved the recipe again. Not a fan of the lemon in it, maybe I just didn't let it get dark enough, but it remained sticky and pretty flexible. I was worried about burning it to my pan since I didn't want to actually have to scrub so could have been my fault. Although if I had used it to coat a piece of the sponge cake like directed it might have been perfect? Who knows! Needless to say, I forgot to take pictures of it before it graced my cakes top.

Finished product--
Oh my! It was delicious! Not sickeningly sweet, but just right. I ended up with two little square cakes, one with nuts and one without, and put them in the freezer since husband and I are leaving this morning for a few days in Czech (the army hasn't said no so we're just assuming they mean yes. Stupid army anyway.) I did snitch a piece for breakfast just to make sure it tasted ok, and boy howdy does it! Definitely would make this again, probably without the caramel since I'm not a fan, but overall, not as hard as I predicted it would be and it was perfect for a little light snack cake. Good choice ladies!! See you all next month.

Caramel and chocolate
Cashews, caramel, and chocolate.
My breakfast the day after. It was AWESOME!

The inside cut. Three chubby spongecake layers each.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Daring Cooks--August

Dear Daring Kitchen gods,

Please never ask/tempt me to prep an artichoke heart by myself.

Thank you,

This month Olga from Olga's recipes brought to us a wonderful dish created by Jose Andres. he hosts the TV show Made in Spain as well as owning a few restaurants in the Washington, DC area. Her dish of choice is......Rice with Cuttlefish, mushrooms, and Artichokes! Thank you Olga for the chance to play around with a wonderful looking seafood dish.

Since we all know (by we all, I mean me lol) that I follow recipes oh so well, I'll include my ministrations in blue. As well as my best attempts at some pretty pictures.

Here we goooooooo....

Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes
Cooking time: 45 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4):

--4 Artichokes (you can use jarred or frozen if fresh are not available) I made a valid attempt to use a fresh one. I really did. Maybe I just bought a crap artichoke, but it honestly ended up a total waste of money by the time I had mauled the thing to death and gotten not very much heart out of the deal.
--12 Mushrooms (button or Portobello) I used a giant white one.
--1 or 2 Bay leaves (optional but highly recommended)
--1 glass of white wine She said in a later update that she meant somewhere around 1/3 cup. I just dumped some in. A couple
--2 Cuttlefish (you can use frozen cuttlefish or squid if you don’t find it fresh) Found frozen squid, but only in a 5 pound package. No way do I need that much squid on hand. I chose to use scallops. I like scallops.
--“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 brown rice. Gestational diabetes limited me here, and brown rice is a little better than white so it's what I used.
--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)
--Allioli (olive oil and garlic sauce, similar to mayonnaise sauce) - optional


  1. Cut the cuttlefish in little strips. I used smaller bay scallops so no cutting was needed.
  2. Add 1 or 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and put the cuttlefish in the pan.
  3. If you use fresh artichokes, clean them as shown in the video. Cut artichokes in eights. I repeat. Failed miserably.
  4. Clean the mushrooms and cut them in fourths.
  5. Add a bay leaf to the cuttlefish 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. I dumped some in a couple times. I like white wine in food. Don't hate. Gotta get my alcohol however I can for another couple months.
  8. Add a couple or three tablespoons 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. Skipped this step completely. No way am I buying Saffron in Euro since that'd be uber expensive.
  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)-

Cooking time
: approx. 1 hour

Ingredients: I didn't make near as much of this as this recipe made.

--2 tablespoons of olive oil
--5 big red ripe tomatoes, chopped Only used one
--2 small onions, chopped Used 1/2 cup maybe?
--1 green pepper, chopped (optional) nada
--4 or 5 garlic cloves, chopped forgot it when shopping...used minced. I slack I know.
--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!)
And since I forgot to buy garlic while shopping I was missing an essential Allioli ingredient (It's made up of garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice. Mostly Garlic.) Luckily it was an optional component so my little (read large) pregnant self was not forced to get back in the car and go shopping again.

So Let me say that this was DELICIOUS! Both the husband and I loved it. While I didn't follow the recipe exactly, I tried to stay within the spirit of the dish. I know my pictures don't do it justice. Give it a shot. Not as hard as it seems. Most of it is just letting it cook on the stove while you wash the dishes and sweep the floor and scrub the fridge out. Don't like artichokes? Use asparagus! Not a fan of seafood or allergic? Try some chicken and chorizo! I'm hoping that the sofregit can be made in large batches and frozen since I loved it. Serve it over pasta (If I'm ever allowed to eat it again, or on crispy bread. Or as a sauce over some tilapia.) I have plans for this one! Delicious and worth the effort (other than that freaking artichoke.)