Dobos Torte

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

Dobos torte, pronounced doboshe, is Hungary’s most iconic layer cake, a round cake consisting of six thin, buttery, sponge cake layers, five layers of chocolate buttercream, and a layer of hardened caramel covering the top. See caramels and sponge cake. The top caramel layer is cut into individual slices (with a special Dobos torte knife) before it hardens, and those pieces are arranged on top of the cake. Dobos torte is served in nearly every cukrászda (patisserie) in the country.

Although Dobos torte is often mistranslated as “drum cake” (the Hungarian dob means “drum”), it is in fact named after its inventor, József Dobos (1847–1924), a baker, chef, prolific cookbook author, caterer, and culinary entrepreneur who came from a family of cooks going back generations. In 1878 Dobos opened a specialty gourmet shop in central Pest that sold an array of high-quality local foods and imported delicacies such as cheese, wine, caviar, and spices. The shop was known for its elaborate window displays and house-made products. Dobos’s most important creation was his namesake cake.