This torte consists of seven thin layers of cake, interspersed with layers of chocolate filling, crowned by a single piece of caramel that has been scored before being added to the cake. The caramel topping is a bit fussy to prepare and difficult to preserve, so serve this torte shortly after it is finished.
If you make the layers of cake and finish the caramel topping in round cake pans, they will be of a uniform size. (Obviously, the more pans you have the sooner you will be done, but the layers bake quickly, so even with only two pans, the baking will be reasonably quick.) If you bake the layers on the back of a sheet pan or half-sheet pan, as so many professionals do, you will want to trace a cake-sized circular outline on pieces of parchment paper, turn the parchment papers over, butter and flour them, and use the circle as a guide to spread out the batter with a small offset spatula, so that the cakes are uniform. Even then, some trimming may be required when you assemble the torte. You will pour out the caramel disk on a buttered piece of parchment, as well, keeping the caramel within your traced lines, so that it fits the top of the torte.
As with all recipes, read this one through from top to bottom – and gather your courage – before you start.
For the Cake Layers:
For the Chocolate Cream Filling:
For the Caramel Topping:
Cake Layers Preparation
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C) – a moderately hot oven. Sift flour once, measure, add salt, sift four times. Beat egg yolks until thick, add sugar gradually, beat well. Fold in flour. Beat whites until stiff enough to hold up in peaks, but not dry, and fold in lightly. This will make seven layers.
Line bottoms of four 8- or 9-inch cake tins, a Dobos torte set, or the backs of sheet pans with parchment paper. Grease and flour paper. Spread batter evenly into four pans for the first baking, reserving enough batter for the three remaining layers. Bake about 8 minutes. Remove at once from pans, strip off the paper, and cool thoroughly.
Chocolate Cream Filling Preparation
Melt chocolate with water in double boiler. Mix eggs and sugar, add to chocolate, cook until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add butter, stir until melted, and add vanilla. Beat until cool and stiff enough to spread.
Lay out seven wafers side-by-side and spread an even, thin layer of chocolate cream filling over each one. Loosely stack the wafers one on top of the other, producing one seven-tiered torte interspersed with filling. To keep layers in place, put several toothpicks through the layers, until filling sets. Chill for up to 24 hours.
Caramel Topping Preparation
Place sugar in a large, heavy skillet over low heat. Cook and stir with a wooden spoon, using the same kind of gentle motion you use for scrambling eggs. Keep agitating the pan to prevent scorching. When the sugar bubbles, remove the pan from the heat. The glaze should be clear, light brown and smooth, and should have reached a temperature of about 310°F (154°C).
Spread it in a circle on buttered parchment paper at once with a hot spatula. Before the caramel sets, use a hot buttered knife to score 10 to 12 radial lines into the top glaze, so the cake may be easily sliced. Once cool, carefully place the caramel top onto the torte.