Thursday, August 27, 2009

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Dobos Torte (Daring Bakers)

When I first found out about this month's challenge I was so excited about all the possibilities. I immediately thought about the different shapes, flavor combinations and other variations that would be delicious with this cake. I kept the basic cake recipe but I decided to go with a peanut butter-chocolate layered torte and some caramel shards for topping.

The layers of sponge cake were alternated peanut butter buttercream and chocolate buttercream and were either frosted with chocolate or peanut butter buttercream. The two flavors of rich buttercream combined with the light sponge cake was delightful. My husband said it reminded him of a wafer cookie and claimed that it was his favorite cake. Not too bad! I also enjoyed it but it is definitely best when served on the same day it is made or the next day. I will definitely try this recipe again with even more flavor variations!

The August 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful of Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers' cookbook Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Caff├ęs of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

Complete Recipe can be found HERE. My variations and additions are below.

Peanut Butter Buttercream


Makes about 1 cup

2/3 cup natural, creamy peanut butter

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup confectioners' sugar

Fine salt (optional)


Cream peanut butter and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer on high speed. On low speed, mix in sugar until combined, then beat mixture on high speed until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add salt to taste, if desired. Use to frost outside of cake and to alternate layers with chocolate buttercream.

Chocolate Buttercream


1 stick unsalted butter (1/4 pound), softened, plus 1 1/2 tablespoons

3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 pinch salt

2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate


Using a mixer, cream the butter in a large bowl until soft, about 1 minute. With the mixer on low, gradually add the sugar. When all the sugar has been incorporated, add the vanilla and salt. Increase mixer speed to high and cream the ingredients until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.

Melt the chocolate and the remaining butter in a double boiler over gently simmering water. Beat into the buttercream mixture until well combined.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Finally, after 8 years of growing grapes in our backyard we hit the jackpot! I harvested 7 pounds of red grapes this afternoon! I got to them before they turned into raisins, before the birds ate them and frankly before I forgot about them, again. I don't remember the exact grapes that we planted but I think these are red wine grapes. They taste sweet, have a tiny seed and are very juicy.

So now, what to do with 7 pounds of grapes? Attempt to make a very small bottle of wine? Grape juice? Grape jam? Let me know what you think I should make and if you have any advice for how to go about making wine.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

On a Non-Food Related Note...

Isn't this happy little owl adorable? My friend Vicky is a wonderful artist and makes natural toys, art and accessories from wool. Yes, needle felted from wool. The process, according to Vicky, "involves taking a sharp, barbed needle and poking loose fibers thousands of times until the desired form is achieved" and I know these are very labor intensive and are just amazing! She started making these wool toys for her boys to play with and recently started selling them on Etsy.

She is super talented and I absolutely love all her work. This owl is one of her more recent designs and I loved it so much that I just had to buy it! I recommend that you visit her site and check out all the wonderful toys that she makes. She accepts custom orders and each toy is made to order. I promise that you will love all her beautiful art!


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