Dobos Days


If you tune in to my radio appearance tonight, you may hear me talking about the layer cake pictured above. It's a dessert my mother made throughout my childhood. I remember having it all the time until I was about 10 or 11, when it disappeared from her repertoire. While this '70s creation may not contain the finest ingredients according to the contemporary food snob's standards, it still tastes pretty damned good.

We called it a Dobos Torte, but from every recipe I've seen online, this is really a bastardization (though a tasty one). The real Dobos Torte (or Dobosh Torte) appears to be a traditional Hungarian cake with layers and chocolate, but the similarities to this one end there. In fact, this thing barely deserves to be called homemade. As impressive as it looks, it's just frozen pound cake, chocolate chips, sour cream, and vanilla. That's it. The hardest part is in the assembly.

I would be curious to try making this cake with updated ingredients: high-quality artisanal chocolate, organic sour cream, and vanilla bean. Maybe homemade pound cake, too. But, would it be the same? And can you cut a home-made pound cake as thinly as you can the industrial version? I doubt it.

Dobos Torte

1 frozen pound cake
2 cups sour cream
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoons vanilla
Cocoa powder for dusting

Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler and let cool slightly. Fold the chocolate, the vanilla, and the sour cream together, and then use a whisk to blend the mixture completely.

Slice the pound cake into thin layers (seven above). One at a time, frost each layer with the chocolate and sour cream mixture and stack. To complete the cake, you can frost the top of the topmost layer or all sides, as I have done above. Finally, to cover up any glitches, I dusted the finished cake with cocoa powder. Note that there will be plenty of leftover frosting, especially if you only fill the layers and frost the top (for which 1 cup of chocolate and 1 cup of sour cream would suffice). Chill and serve sliced.



yum! one of my favorite cakes! coincidentally my last post was about the Dobos Torta :)



Are you Hungarian? This is my mom's favorite cake. Her mother used to make it, and she still has the original recipe. A great source for Hunagrian recipes is a book called 'Eva's Hungarian Kitchen.' It is a little hard to find, but has the bare basics of Hungarian cooking and baking.



Although you took a shortcut, hmmm, looks delicious!


Yum! I would like to see a little powdered sugar as well on top for a nice two tone look :)


This is gorgeous, I've never had anything like it. Thanks for the recipe, I definitely have to try it.


this cake must be really very good. it is beautiful and it is necessary that I do it…


I've never heard of this but it looks incredibly delicious. Chocolate ... ooohhh ...


Josh, I remember this well.



I'm Hungarian and I need to find a good Dobos Torte in New York to bring to my Mom's saturday (for her Birthday). Any suggestions?


Thanks for all the comments. I'm not Hungarian -- my family all came here from various parts of Russia.

Juliet -- So, you want the real thing, right? I haven't been to the Hungarian Pastry Shop on Amsterdam Avenue for years, but as I remember it, it was more of a Columbia student hangout than anything else. Ironically, there's an article on Yorkville today in the NY Times which highlights a few places that serve Hungarian specialties. Maybe you can hunt down a source. If so, report back here!


Just want to share a cautionary tale before you attempt to make a gourmet version of this cake you loved so much growing up.

I grew up with something called Chocolate Layered Dessert that I loved deeply as a child -- and still do. It's simply a Cool Whip/Cream cheese mixture spread over a nutty crust, then layered with chocolate Jell-O pudding and a final layer of Cool Whip. It's trashy but fantastic.

However, in an effort to increase the fantastic part and remove the trashy, I made a gourmet version with homemade chocolate pudding and whipped cream in stead of Jell-O and Cool Whip. Minor alterations, right?

Wrong. I created a completely different animal that, although it was tasty, was truly not as divine as the trashy original. I hate to say it but I think the chemicals in those processed ingredients are essential to the dish.


My aunt used to make this with a Sara Lee pound cake, the choc chips, a little hot coffee, some egg yolks, and BUTTER v. the sour cream. It was KILLER!


This is very close to something my Mom used to make in the sixties.Same sort of idea,frozen sara lee pound cake sliced in to 6 layers then iced with semi sweet chocolate that had been melted then put in to a blender and blended with 3 or 4 egg yolks, hot water ,vanilla and some confectioners sugar,you then ice the cake refrigerate ,then slice and serve. This was a recipe that was printed on the inside of the sara lee pound cake wrapper and my mom and I made it so often that at one time I had it memorized ,but I no longer remember the proportions. Does anyone out there have the recipe ? Thanks


Sorry guys that not even Dobos Torte! I've been to Budapest and had the real thing and it's good!


I've been to Budapest,Hungary 15 times and just this past july and that is not Dobos Torte! Even order 1 and brought it back home and tastes fantastic and did'nt share it nobody!!!


Hi, I am patisserie student, doing research on Dobos torte at the moment.
FYI, the above cake is not Dobos torte. Dobos torte does not use pound cake, it is made of 5~7 very thin sponge discs and chocolate butter cream in between and outside. Top layer of sponge should be covered with mirror-like caramel. Please google Dobos torte.


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