You can’t talk about Dobos torte without digressing for at least a short while to Doberge cake. Pronounced Doh-BARE-zh cake, it’s a specialty of New Orleans, and is thought by many to be an Americanized version of Dobos torte. In fact I recall once seeing Emeril Lagasse talk about it on TV. His claim was that Dobos torte was brought to New Orleans by Hungarian immigrants (I think he also claimed that “dobos” was Hungarian for drum, which is erroneous, but a common misconception about Dobos torte).
I’m not from New Orleans, but I’m not aware of it being dominantly Hungarian. More than that, as far as I know doberge cake was invented by a woman by the name of Beulah Ledner, a well-known baker in New Orleans in the middle of the last century. That name is German, unless I miss my guess. But Emeril wasn’t wrong in as far as Ledner herself claimed that she used Dobos torte as a starting point for creating doberge cake. Like Dobos torte, it also has many layers.
However that’s pretty much where the similarity ends. Where Dobos tortes have seven-to-twelve layers, doberge cakes have four-to-six. Where Dobos tortes employ chocolate buttercream between the layers, doberge cakes have a custard filling, often chocolate but also vanilla or lemon. Where Dobos tortes have caramel on the top, doberge cakes are covered with a thin layer of poured fondant which is usually decorated. Also, I think doberge cake layers are sliced versus baked individually. So while doberge cakes might have sprung from Dobos torte, they really aren’t the same animal.
My question is where the name “doberge” came from. The word sounds vaguely French, but I wouldn’t hazard a guess as to what it means. I think the word “auberge” means “inn”, but that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Anyone care to help me out on this?