Reloading with a Classic

Slice of Dobos cake

I swear I have already written many posts…in my head. Life has just been a bit busy in the last couple of weeks that all the baking and adventures around the kitchen have not been typed in – yet. I promise to at least try to keep up with the happenings online as well. To make an elegant comeback I am writing down my recent experience with a classic Hungarian cake, the Dobos cake. It was the first one in my life and I am very excited about it.

Two sidenotes to add in advance:

– As a kid I never really liked it because 1) it looked weird with the hard, orange sugar coat 2) I had no idea what it tasted like as I had not tried it before (which used to be a very bad habit of mine – the not-tasting-things I mean) Today it is one of my favorite cakes when it comes to going to a confectionery (Sacher could be a competitor)

– “Dobos” means drummer in Hungarian and up until just recently (couple years ago) I always thought that the name of the cake refers to the hard top as the drum on the cake. Little did I know that it was actually the name of the cake’s “inventor” and after whom even culinary schools are named now…it’s time I figured it out!

After an idillic visit to one of Budapest’s oldest confectionaries, the Lukács Cukrászda and the tasting of their Dobos made me wanna make my own…since it’s part of the curriculum anyways. When I brought it up in the confectionery, Co-Chef handed me a real treasure: a beautiful cookbook from 1893 with the original Dobos cake recipe.
Old cook book from 1893

I could write a whole post about how exciting and amazing it was to read the book with the traditional writing and use of words. It even had old measurements in the recipe that we do not even use anymore – I didn’t even think they existed…

It goes something like this:

Dobos recept

For the cake:

210 grams (7.4 oz) powdered sugar

8 egg yolks

8 egg whites

120 grams flour

According to the recipe you have to mix the sugar with eggyolks for 15 minutes. I found that a bit too long but you do have to make sure it is well mixed and fluffy.Whip the eggwhites and when it’s stiff enough, fold the flour and whites into the yolk mix. The recipe calls for 12 seperately baked layers of cake made of the batter. To be honest, I cheated. Baked one and a half big square and cut it into 12 equal (warning! slight exaggerations incorporated in the post)  size rectangular pieces.

For the cream you need:

280 grams (9.9 oz) powdered sugar

6 eggs

420 grams (14.8 oz) butter

210 grams (7.4 oz) chocolate melted over steam with a little water


Whip the eggs with the sugar over steam. When warm and fluffy add the mixture to the whipped butter, then add the melted chocolate and vanilla.

The cream turned out to be more liquidy than I had anticipated so I put it in the fridge for a couple hours so it slightly congealed.

While waiting on the cream I attempted to overcome the biggest challenge of the project: the making of the Dobos sugar top. While I had been practicing it in the confectionery for some time, the circumstances at home were not encouraging enough (meaning I had no Co-Chef supervising and helping me while doing it and messing it up). I did not back off though.

Heat up 100 grams (3,5 oz) of powdered sugar until it’s melted and the sugar turns golden brown – make sure you are there with a wooden spoon so it doesn’t burn on the sides. I heated mine too much the first time but I kept going on, poured it onto one of the recantular pieces out of the 12. Sure it looked ugly! So I did it again. The second one turned out more satisfying.

The cream cooled off and turned spreadable in one or two hours so I filled the cake – layer by layer. I figured 12 layers were too much to fill so I made two 6-layer Dobos cakes…actually all the Dobos cakes I’ve seen in town have six layers…

The result in two words: ugly but delicious! The cream is incredible!

I still have to work on the looks but since there is a first in everything, I am very much looking forward to eventually  ending up  with the real thing…

Slice of Dobos cake

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