Hungarian Dobostrorte (Dobos Tortia)

A few months back Shannon and I went to a cooking class hosted by Barry and Meta West - "Traveling through Hungary, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Crotia with Barry and Meta."  We learned to make an Eastern European Dinner.  Tonight I made two items from what we learned, the Hungarian Dobostrorte and the Bulgarian Chicken Papriskash Soup.  The original recipe follows for the dessert, however as you notice by the picture, I did not create layers - just a sheet cake.  I just sprayed my pan - the cake came right out of the pan.  My favorite part - the sugared almonds.  Enjoy!

Sponge Cake Layers:

6 large eggs
1 1/4 cups + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350.  Prepare pans - see note below.  Beat the eggs and sugar until thick and creamy, 5 to 10 minutes.  Add the vanilla and salt.  Sift the flour over the top and carefully fold it in - do this with 1/2 batch of the flour at a time in order to fully incorporate all.  Fold in almonds.  If using 9 inch rounds - spread about 1/4 cup of the batter evenly over the bottom of the prepared pans (wipe the pans, reline and spray, repeating until there are 7 or 8 matching layers).  For oblong layers - divide batter evenly between 2 jelly roll pans.  Bake until the edges begin to color, 5 to 7 minutes for rounds, or 7 to 10 minutes for oblong cakes.  Loosen with a spatula, invert onto a rack; let cool.

Chocolate Buttercream

2 2/3 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup butter, softened
6 tablespoons cocoa powder + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 TB milk

In a medium bowl, blend all ingredients on low speed.  Increase speed to high.  Gradually add milk; beat until smooth and fluffy.

To assemble:
Sugared almonds for garnish (prepare by toasting with granulated sugar in skillet over medium heat) & chocolate shards, see note below, if desired.  Be sure to watch the almonds closely - I burnt my first batch.  I started with low heat - and added 1/4 cup sugar and 1 cup or more of sliced almonds to my skillet - I kept stirring for the most part - until sugar had all disappeared.  Remove almonds and allow to cool on plate.  These are delicious.  I am sure that I went over board on the almonds - but these are YUMMY!!!!

Place a cake layer on a serving plate, spread with 1/8" thick layer of buttercream, then place a second layer on top.  Repeat layering the buttercream and cake layers.  Cover the top of the cake with buttercream.  Cover the sides of the cake with buttercream.  Chill.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 day or in the freezer.  Let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving.  Before serving, garnish the top of the cake with sugared almonds and chocolate shards.

Pan Preparation Choices:
Line the bottoms of 9 inch round cake pans with parchment; spray with pan release - if using this method, you will need to reuse pans creating a total of 7 or 8 layers.
Line several large baking sheets with parchment.  Using a 9 inch saucepan lid or springform pan, mark 9 inch circles on the sheets; spray with pan release.
For Oblong Layer Cake:  Line two 15 1/2 inch x 10 1/2 inch jelly roll pans with parchment and spray with pan release.  Note:  After cooling the cakes, cut each lengthwise into 3 equal pieces to make a 6 layer cake.

Chocolate Shards
3 oz. semi-sweet or dark chocolate

Melt chocolate.  Pour the chocolate onto a large sheet of wax paper; spread it into a thin layer, forming 10x10 inch square.  Cover with another similarly sized piece of waxed paper on top of the chocolate; press and smooth to release most of the air bubbles.
Roll waxed paper tightly into a 3/4 inch wide cylinder.  Chill until set.  At least 2 hour and up to 5 days.  Peel back the top layer of waxed paper.  Use a spatula to transfer the chocolate shards to the top of the cake.

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