Hungarian Birthday Cakes


For Paul’s birthday he requested a Hungarian menu and gave me several ideas for cakes with the added challenge of requesting that I use up some leftover pizelle cookies from the holidays.  He sent ideas ranging from icebox cake to tiramisu to a trifle, but I could tell he was most excited by the two Hungarian ideas (Rigo Jancsi and Dobostorte).

So after reading through every recipe about 9 times I decided that my plan would involve some variation on a dobostorte (a fauxbostorte is what I was calling it) and maybe one big round Rigo Jancsi on top.  I wrote out my plan for the layers as follows (shown top to bottom):

Caramel Pizelle decorations
Rigo Jancsi (9″ round)
Pastry Cream (with ganache ring piped to hold it)
Pastry Cream (with ganache ring piped to hold it)
No problem, right?  So I started off working on the fauxbostorte.  I left in a few layers of cake with the intent of sort of evening out between layers because I knew a layer of pizelles would be uneven (taller in the middle than on the edges for sure).  But my first batch of cake was wayyyy too thin.  I think since the cake has to rise just from the air you whip into it it’s tricky to really get some good volume to get non-rubbery layers.  First I just baked the layers on parchment rounds without any pans, but when I decided the layers were too thin I made a second batch and baked that in pans. Unfortunately I didn’t line those pans with parchment, so I had a hard time getting some out, but they were much better in terms of thickness.  They still felt a little rubbery, so I wasn’t in love with them, but they would work.
The buttercream recipe that came with the dobostorte recipe isn’t my favorite in the end.  I didn’t like from the get go that there would be shortening in it so decided to reduce to 1/4 cup shortening and add 1/4 extra of butter, but even with that the way the icing was made just made it feel like more of a whipped cream consistency.  I would switch to using my own buttercream recipe if I repeated this one.
So cut to assembly.  I got a cake round and started with some buttercream on the base to try to hold the first layer in place (ultimately a futile effort) and make a layer of pizelles (also tried to hold these together with buttercream which was marginally successful).  The first layer of cake is where things really started to take shape since that was a smooth and flat piece that at least dictated the official size of the cake.  The next layer of buttercream was easy because the cake was smooth, but getting the pastry cream to stay in the ring of buttercream wasn’t as easy.  The buttercream just wasn’t really hearty enough to serve as a barrier– at least not in the small-ish quantity that I applied it.  The next layer of pizelles showed me that things were definitely going to be taller in the center (as expected), but onwards I pressed.  The rest of the layers went about the same as their first application just a little sloppier with additional pastry cream and a little taller in the center with more pizelles.  In the end though I ended up with something layered to at least mimic a dobostorte even if it was a very ugly one.  I coated the entire outside with the buttercream and tried to make it as smooth as I could.  Then, to hide my gaps and ugly parts, I did some strategic pizelle decor around the base edges.
My original plan of putting the complete Rigo Jancsi on top was absolutely not going to happen.  The faubostorte itself was pretty light and the Rigo was very heavy, so that would’ve just smushed some of the buttercream out of the cake in addition to making things almost comically tall.  So, two cakes it was!  I finished off the fauxbostorte with some pizelles coated in caramel (that was surprisingly orange in color for some reason) and called it a day for that one.
The Rigo Jancsi was much more straightforward.  I settled on this recipe because I knew the chef behind it from a Craftsy desserts class my sister gave me for my bday, so I felt he could be trusted.  My only changes were instead of baking it as one big sheet and cutting it into small squares, I baked it as two 9″ rounds because when I started I was still harboring the illusion of one huge cake.  I also added a layer of apricot jam because apparently that’s what they do in the traditional version (I just warmed the jam up and strained it through a small mesh strainer and put it on top of the first layer of cake when I assembled the cake.  So my assembly order was: cake, apricot jam, TON of filling, cake, glaze.
Now, I love chocolate, like LOVE it, but this was even pushing the richness level for me!  But I think I may be saying that because I was snacking all day as I made the cake so by the time I got to sample it I was already on a sugar high (and the slice I had the next day was awesome). The most decadent part for me was the filling as it was essentially a super thick layer of whipped ganache.  SO GOOD.
All in all my uncle seemed pretty pleased with the outcome (and he has a very discerning pastry palate).  It lived up to the Hungarian pastry table he was envisioning when he requested these desserts, so I’ll call it a success!

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