Friday, February 3, 2012

Austrian Drum Torte

As I thumbed through a cookbook we got for Christmas, the word "Austrian" immediately caught my eye. You see, Katie, the kids and I spent the summer in Vienna directing a study abroad program. I looked at the incredible photo for the Austrian Drum Torte and read the recipe. Although it would probably be one of those very involved all day affairs, I knew I had to make it, and I knew who I had to make it for. One of my student employees, Rachel, was having a birthday, and she also went on the study abroad with us.

Here I am with some of our students at Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna. Rachel is on the left.
During my time in Austria, I had never seen nor heard of Austrian Drum Torte, but I didn't really care if this recipe was authentic Austrian because the photo in the cookbook looked so cool. However, I did do a little investigation online and found out there is really such a thing, but there seems to be a little confusion. I guess the cake is actually Hungarian and called a Dobos Torte. Dobos means "like a drum" in Hungarian. I thought the cake didn't look much like a drum, but after a little more research, I found the cake was named after its creator, Jozsef Dobos, a Hungarian pastry chef. He created the cake in 1884, and Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Sissi were two of the first to try it. Since Hungary was at the time part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, I think it's OK if Austria claims the cake, too.

Here's the finished product. Pretty amazing, isn't it. And really, it wasn't hard at all. It's just time consuming. But, I was able to multitask and get a lot of other things done while creating this work of art.

When I brought the cake to the office, it was a definite showstopper. And of course, it tastes every bit as good as it looks. I can't wait for the next special occasion to make it again.

Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag, Rachel!
Making this cake made me wish there were more time in a lifetime to learn several different professions. Training as a pastry chef in Vienna would be on my list. So many wonderful cafés, so many wonderful desserts! If you are wondering which café is my favorite, here are some photos of a little outing Tomas and I took to Café Central. That place is a—ma—zing! I had the Café Central Torte and Tomas had the Schokozauber (chocolate magic).  Tomas still talks about how he ate a piece of cake with real gold flecks on it.

Yep, I want to run a café like this.

Austrian Drum Torte

Chocolate Ganache
  • 8-oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3-oz. milk chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 Tbsps. butter
Sponge Cake
  • 12 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsps. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups cake flour
  • 3 Tbsps. butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbspn. Butter
  • 1 tspn. Fresh lemon juice
  • 2Tbspns. Water
  • 1-oz. semisweet chocolate
  • 16 chocolate chip pieces
Prepare chocolate ganache. In medium bowl, combine semisweet and milk chocolates; set aside. In 2-quart saucepan, heat cream to boiling over medium-high heat. Pour over chocolate in bowl; let stand 1 minute. With rubber spatula, stir until mixture is smooth. Stir in butter until melted and smooth. Chill uncovered in refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight. Let come to room temperature, stir with spoon until an easy spreading consistency.

Prepare sponge cake. Preheat oven to 400°. Grease bottoms of two 9-in. round metal cake pans. Line each pan with parchment paper and grease again. In a small bowl, with mixer at high speed, beat egg yolks with ½ cup sugar about 10 minutes, until thick and lemon-colored. Beat in vanilla; set aside. In a large bowl, with clean beaters and with mixer at high speed, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Beating at high speed, gradually sprinkle in remaining ½ cup sugar until whites stand in stiff peaks. Transfer yolk mixture to very large bowl. Gradually sift in and fold flour into yolk mixture, then fold in melted butter until blended. With spatula, fold beaten egg-white mixture into yolk mixture, one-third at a time, just until blended. Spoon about 1 cup batter into each prepared pan. With offset spatula, gently spread batter to even thickness. Bake cake layers about 10 minutes, until lightly golden and cake springs back when gently touched with finger. Loosen edge of each layer with metal spatula; invert onto wire rack to cool completely. Remove parchment paper from layers after layers are cooled. When pans are cool, repeat with remaining batter to make 6 layers in all. Stack cooled cake layers between sheets of waxed paper.

Prepare caramel. In 1-quart saucepan, combine sugar, butter, lemon juice, and water and heat to boiling over high heat. Continue cooking without stirring, about 4 minutes, until caramel I golden brown. Carefully pour hot caramel over top of 1 cake layer; spread evenly with offset spatula. Cool caramel 2 minutes to set. With greased chef's knife, cut later in 16 wedges (do not let caramel cool too long; it will crack when it is cut). Dip rounded outside edge of each wedge into melted chocolate; place on waxed paper-lined cookie sheet to set.

Assemble cake by spreading 1/3 cup chocolate ganache on 1 cake layer. Top with second layer and spread with 1/3 cup ganache. Repeat 4 more times. Place 16 chocolate chips evenly spaced around edge of top layer. If serving within2 hours, place 1 caramel-coated wedge, set at an angle, on top of each chocolate chip. If not serving right away, refrigerate cake, but do not place wedges on top; the caramel will get soft in refrigerator. To serve, remove cake from refrigerator at least 1 hour before serving and top with caramel wedges.

1 comment:

  1. Why, oh why, won't my brother bake a wonderful, amazing birthday cake for me?


Thanks for leaving a comment. I'll try and respond soon.