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Dobos Torte Recipe July 24, 2007

Posted by Paula Erbay in Desserts.

My Grandmother’s family came from the area of Vojvodina, which was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. So it is no surprise that many of her cherished recipes are Hungarian. Dobos Torte is the quintessential Hungarian dessert. It consists of several thin, chocolate filled, sponge cake layers topped with hard caramel. Rick Rodgers, author of Kaffeehaus, states that a true Dobos Torte consists of five thin layers “no more, no less”; My cousin Sonja has made hers with as many as 12 layers. The recipe that follows is based on my grandmother‘s recipe, with help from cousin Sonja and a few tips I‘ve learned along the way.


Sponge CakeMakes 8 to 10 (9-inch) layers
10 Eggs, large Separated
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 Cup Flour, All Purpose Sift after measuring

Cake Directions:
Beat egg yolks with sugar about 15 minutes, or until lemon colored. Gradually fold sifted flour into the egg yolk and sugar mixture. Beat egg whites until stiff, but not too dry. Fold egg whites into the egg yolk and flour mixture.

Cut several pieces of parchment paper to line baking sheets. Working with three sheets at a time allows you to rotate them while spreading, baking, and cooling. Draw a 9 inch circle on each piece of parchment (a cake pan makes a great template). Flip the parchment over (ink/pencil side down but visible) and place on a baking sheet. Spread batter evenly within the circle, about ¼” thick per layer.

Bake in moderate oven, 375 degrees F, about 8 minutes, the sponge cake should spring back when gently pressed and edges are brown. Invert the cake and gently peel off the paper, place on wax paper until completely cooled. Repeat until all the batter has been used. Be sure the baking sheet has cooled prior to re-using.

Set the best looking layer aside for the top. Cut this layer into serving pieces. Place pieces on a wire rack set over foil. Note: you may want to reserve two layers in case of trouble with the caramel topping.

Chocolate Filling
½ pound Sweet German Chocolate (Baker)
4 Eggs, large – lightly beaten
½ Cup Sugar, granulated
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract (good quality such as Penzey’s)
½ pound Butter, unsalted – softened
5 teaspoons Powdered Sugar

Filling Directions:
In double boiler melt chocolate with a little water. Add sugar, vanilla and beaten eggs. Stir constantly until it thickens. Remove from heat, let cool. Mix ½ lb butter with Powdered Sugar. Add to cooled chocolate, mix well. Add more powdered sugar if needed.

Spread the chocolate filling between each layer and on sides of cake (save some filling to pipe around top but do not spread on layer reserved for the caramel top).

Caramel Topping
½ Cup Sugar, granulated

Caramel Directions:
Put sugar in saucepan on medium high heat. Melt until brown (use a light colored saucepan to better see the color of the sugar). Do not overheat.  Remove from heat and pour over top layer that has been cut and set on rack over foil (see above). Spread with a buttered knife if needed. Work quickly! This will harden very fast.

When caramel has cooled, place the caramel topped pieces carefully on top of frosted layers. Pipe the edges with reserved frosting.

Serve with your best dark coffee. Enjoy the cake, enjoy the complements!


For a story behind this recipe and photos go to Dobos Torte Memories




1. Rhonda Nesin - March 25, 2008

Paula – would you mind if I used this recipe for Dobos Torte and cite your blog? I am creating a cookbook for my child’s class. One student is Hungarian, and he claims his favorite dessert is Dobos Torte. Not having a recipe from his family, I would love to ‘borrow’ this. There will only be one copy of this handmade cookbook, but it will be sold as part of a school auction.

Thank you!

2. Paula Erbay - March 26, 2008

That would be fine.

3. Mary Shieh - January 21, 2009

Paula, one of my best friends is Hungarian.
On a very special Christmas, I asked for their choice of dessert, since dinner was at their house. Her husband immediately named the Dobos Torte.
I agreed, without knowing anything about this dessert.

Gotta tell you, this was more complicated, and made a bigger mess than a full Christmas dinner. But, it was definitely worth it!

If you make this on a regular basis, more power to you!!!

4. Jen Minkowitz - May 11, 2013

LOVE this. can’t wait to make it myself; once i gain the courage 🙂

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