Chocolate Doberge Cake

Better known simply as birthday cake to those of us from New Orleans. I grew up hearing this pronounced alternately as “DOUGH-bash”, “Doh-BAREzh” and as “Dow-BAWHzh”. Doberge cakes are closely related to Boston Cream Pies (which aren’t pies!) and they are the closest approximation to a Doberge cake you will find outside of the Greater New Orleans area. These come as chocolate (this recipe), lemon, caramel or any two of those flavors together. Not the easiest of recipes, but if you are a good baker, this should come out excellently for you as it is a fairly standard layer cake recipe. EDIT: to get a fondant frosting to stick well, many bakers will frost with another kind of frosting first. Use this frosting recipe as a first layer and then use the poured fondant (see Lemon Doberge recipe) for better coverage and a more professional looking cake.

Chocolate Doberge Cake

Cake:

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, separated
3 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla

Filling:

2 cups sugar
10 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons salt
1 quart milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 squares unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 whole eggs and 4 yolks, slightly beaten

Frosting:

1/2 cup butter
8 squares unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup boiling water
4 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar

Cake: Cream butter, shortening, sugar and salt together until smooth. Add egg yolks and blend mixture until smooth. Add sifted dry ingredients alternately with milk and water and beat until well blended. Be careful not to overbeat, you don’t want to overactivate the gluten and make a tough cake. Add vanilla and fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Grease 9-inch cake pans and line with wax paper. Pour 3/4 cup batter into each pan, spreading evenly over bottom. Bake in preheated 375 degree; oven for 12-15 minutes. Repeat process until all of batter is used. The result will be 8 layers. When cool, put layers together with filling, reserving the top layer for the frosting. Chill cake before frosting.

Filling: Mix sugar, cornstarch, salt, milk and chocolate. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat and pour a small amount of mixture over the eggs to temper them. Blend into mixture and cook over very low heat, add vanilla. Chill until set.

Frosting: Melt butter and chocolate over very low heat, use a double boiler if you have one. Blend in sugar and water, beat until smooth. Frost top and sides of cake.

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4 thoughts on “Chocolate Doberge Cake

  1. [...] Last Sunday, we made a Chocolate Doberge Cake, the gold standard by which all New Orleans Doberge cakes are held. You could also combine to make a half/half Doberge Cake like Gambino’s Bakery. Follow the same recipe for the cake as Chocolate Doberge Cake. the filling is essentially a lemon curd recipe, I would bet that a straight lemon curd would be very good in this cake. The first frosting is a simple flavored decorator’s icing. [...]

  2. [...] if you’re a decent baker you’ll want to try a traditional New Orleans birthday cake- the Doberge Cake. One of the Pengi people just made one of these over the weekend, anĀ  8 layer beauty and is [...]

  3. [...] am a keen observer of this tradition, making my chocolate 8 layer Doberge cake (New Orleans birthday cake) 3 weeks or so before Mardi Gras along with pralines, chicken gumbo, [...]

  4. yukie says:

    Thanks for the post. I am a pastry chef at a country club and made the lemon doberge for a New Orleans themed event. I baked the cakes in sheet pans and cut out rounds using 8″ entremet rings. One full sheet (2x recipe) = six 8″ cake rounds. 8X recipe = three 8″ eight-layer cakes. Then built them in the same entremet rings accomodating the extra height of so many layers by using acetate strips. Froze the entire thing and used a #10 can to push the frozen cake out of the ring. Frosted in buttercream then attempted to coat them in fondant. Here’s the problem, I used premade fondant powder, added lemon and yellow food color. The fondant slowly slid off the buttercream base, leaving a smooth layer on top but a very thin layer on the sides, and a lot of fondant on the plate. Didn’t look terrible, kind of like an unintentional ombre. Anyway, I re-plated and guests were still impressed.

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