Sunday, April 27, 2014

Vegan Torta!!

sponge cake layers with damp paper towel
to keep them from drying out
first layer of chocolate icing
Well, I tried the vegan version of the Dobos Torte (my family calls it "Torta"). It was quite the adventure. I've never actually made the non-vegan Torta on my own. I had to be brave. I didn't follow exactly the instructions that the blog post for the assembly, so mine definitely looked different than what the blogger has pictured. I'll walk you through what happened with each photo posted, and tell you my mistakes. I will absolutely be trying this again and again, and probably again till I get it as close as I can to my family's version of the cake. It wasn't the cake part that was different, but the icing itself.

Icing it all together
To start, I made the sponge cake part of the many layers. This part came out almost exactly like my family's Torta. The blogger does say that she is able to get 10 baking sheets of cake out of the batter.
Some background for you. 
I've mentioned my "hallway of a kitchen" in previous posts...well, it's oven is also small. A regular-sized oven is 30". Mine is 24". I can only fit 9" x 16" baking sheets inside. Also, I'll share that Regina, Saskatchewan is and was not an ideal spot to build. The city was built in a slough (aka swamp). My house's one side (the South side) is sinking into the clay-like soil. My house is not exactly level. In fact, when I'm making stir fry, the mix falls to the back of the fry pan. It's rather endearing.

Now that you have that information on the structure of my home, you'll understand more clearly why I attacked this project the way I did.

Finished Torta with Caramel Glaze
(see the chunky pieces-that's bad) 
First Mistake: I made the sponge cake part entirely too thick, and it didn't go nearly as far as it should have. Because my oven is so small, I can only bake one pan in at a time. I have three pans. I had to wash the pans between layers. That said, I only got 4 pans baked out. This was because of a combination of factors. The oven is too small and I'm impatient. I knew it would take entirely too long to bake all 10 sheets out. I also poured too much batter in each pan because my kitchen is not balanced. It always looked like the batter didn't cover the pan. I just kept pouring more in! Bah!! Lesson Learned: Keep dough layers as thin as possible.

Second Mistake: To help correct the first mistake, I had to divide the sponge cake layer in half so it seemed like I wasn't missing so many dough layers. This created a further problem when it came time to ice it all. The nice thing about having it all baked out nicely in each sheet, is that the layers are closed. By that I mean, crumbs don't get moved around when you're trying to evenly spread the icing. Because I had divided the layers, I had to contend with lose dough crumbs making my Torta messy looking and unkempt.
Lesson Learned: Do not cut into the dough.

Third Mistake: I melted the sugar on the stove, once it was melted, I was to add some Earth Balance and lemon juice. Well! I added the lemon juice first, and it almost immediately hardened the melted sugar. I could barely get the Earth Balance added. It was quick! Rock hard caramel pieces next to the cake, it even removed some of the chocolate icing. Sad, sad day.
Lesson Learned: Earth Balance first.

The hardened caramel next to the Torta

The chocolate icing is darker than my family's icing. Course, that's probably because their icing has raw egg in it.
That kind of makes me want to vomit just thinking about it. 
Anyway! The icing wasn't much like the icing I was used to. Although, my Mom did say that it's very much like the icing of other Torta's she's eaten.
I do want to experiment and perfect it. I'll let you know how it goes. The dough was a winner. But the icing needs some work.
I'm considering adding silken tofu, or even Vegg (vegan egg yolk) to see how it works. I'll keep you informed.

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