I think this cake is one of the national symbols of Hungary, Hungaricums, as we call them. Dobos torte is known everywhere in the word and as other well known specialities of Hungarian cuisine it has several recipe variations. For example a few months ago I found it in one of Mary Berry’s cake recipe books, her Baking Bible. She calls it a Doboz cake and she prepares it with whipped eggs, which I am sure is not from the original recipe. And what is more I read wonderingly that it is from Austria. Trust me, they are not the same country anymore. It is true we had been the part of Austrian Empire for long time until in 1867 the House of Habsburg agreed to share power with the separate and independent Hungarian government. Following this, the Austro-Hungarian Empire existed for 51 years until 1918, after the end of Word War I, when it dissolved.
In the 18th century cooling and storing food was quite difficult and the only way to keep them fresh and avoid melting of cream in the cakes was the ice, but it was a very expensive and limited solution. Dobos C. József, the famous Hungarian pastry chef, introduced a filling that was very little known at that time, it was the buttercream. It was made of creamy butter, sugar, food colouring and flavouring.
Using chocolate buttercream in 1884 he invented a five-layer sponge cake topped with caramel slices that avoided the cake from drying out. Whith this innovation the Dobos slice could be kept fresh easily and would last longer than other desserts. After the National General Exhibition of Budapest in 1885 where Emperor Franz J
oseph and his wife tasted this special and elegant cake it soon became popular throughout the Europe.
(If you feel brave and want to bake this Hungaricum drop me a mail and I will send you the recipe with the instructions.)