Butter cake is layers of luscious

  • By Leah Eskin Chicago Tribune
  • Thursday, January 2, 2014 4:56pm
  • Life

Jennifer was baking dobos torte, so I stopped by. My job wasn’t to help or to coach. It was to egg on.

“Why not bake two?” I urged, pulling out surplus pans. “Why not bake three?”

We did. It took all day, and our cakes came out beautiful — layers of egg-light cake and chocolate-heavy buttercream crowned with crackling caramel. An homage to Hungarian pastry genius Jozsef C. Dobos, who reputedly engineered the well-insulated cake for long shelf life.

We were admiring its many black-and-white layers when Marya dropped by with a slice of Smith Island cake. I gasped: Thin layers of yellow butter cake interspliced with fudge. An American dobos, reputedly invented to keep well on the water.

I combined the easygoing layers of Maryland’s state cake with the luscious buttercream of Hungary’s national cake. This butter-happy hybrid ought to boast excellent keeping quality. But I’ve never had enough left to find out.

Maryland Smith Island torte

3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pans

3 1/2 cups flour, plus more for pans

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons fine salt

2 1/4 cups sugar

2 cups milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

6 eggs

3 1/2 cups chocolate frosting, recipe follows

Butter and flour four 9-inch cake pans.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk together butter, sugar, milk, vanilla and eggs. Pour wet ingredients over dry, whisking briefly. Let rest, 15 minutes. Whisk smooth.

Spread 1 cup batter into each prepared pan (saving the rest for the second round). Bake at 350 degrees until cakes pull away from the sides of the pans, about 15 minutes. Cool a few minutes. Turn out and cool completely.

Wash, dry, butter and flour pans again. Bake four more layers.

Spread one cooled cake layer with 1/3 cup frosting. Continue stacking and frosting all layers (leave top bare). Chill until set, about 30 minutes. Frost top and sides. Chill. Enjoy.

Makes one tall 9-inch cake.

Chocolate frosting: Whisk over medium heat until smooth and shiny: 1 cup heavy cream, 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (cut up), 5 ounces semisweet chocolate (chopped), 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate (chopped), 1/3 cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon espresso powder dissolved in 1 tablespoon brewed coffee. Pull off heat. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Stir over an ice bath to cool. Chill until thick, about 30 minutes. Beat in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Makes about 3 1/2 cups.

More in Life

‘Last Jedi’ is the best ‘Star Wars’ movie since the first one

This instant-classic popcorn movie makes clever references to the past while embracing the new.

Jesse Sykes brings her evolving sounds to Cafe Zippy in Everett

She and Phil Wandscher make a return trip to a club that she values for its intimacy.

Red wine usually costs more, but you can still find bargains

Here are five good-quality reds that won’t drain your grocery budget.

Beer of the Week: Skull Splitter and Blood of My Enemies

Aesir Meadery of Everett and Whiskey Ridge Brewing of Arlington collaborated to make two braggots.

Beer, wine, spirits: Snohomish County booze calendar

Ugly Sweater Party and Canned Food Drive at Whitewall: Marysville’s Whitewall Brewing… Continue reading

Student winners to perform concertos with Mukilteo orchestra

This annual show is a partnership with the Snohomish County Music Teachers Association.

‘Ferdinand’ a modern take on the beloved children’s story

The lovable bull is back in an enjoyable but spotty animated film from the makers of “Ice Age.”

Playwright alleges misconduct by Hoffman when she was 16

A classmate of Dustin Hoffman’s daughter says the actor exposed himself in 1980.

Art mimicks reality in engrosing ‘On the Beach at Night Alone’

The Korean film tells the story of an actress recovering from an affair with a married director.

Most Read