Doberge (pronounced (“doh-bash”) cake is the birthday cake of New Orleans. Gambino’s, Haydel’s, and probably every bakery in the city offers their take on the filled and stacked layered cake, with the most popular option being the half-and-half, a Doberge with a lemon-chocolate split personality—literally, a lemon-filled-and-iced cake on one side and a chocolate-filled-and-iced cake on the other. This is my take on this truly New Orleans cake.–David Guas
LC Chocolate Doberge Cake Note
To make the fancy schmancy double doberge pictured above, you’ll need Guas’ chocolate variation.
Here ’tis…Follow the recipe for the Lemon Doberge Cake, substituting 2 cups of prepared chocolate pudding for the lemon curd. To make a chocolate ganache icing, bring 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream to a boil in a medium saucepan. Pour the hot cream over 12 ounces of finely chopped semisweet chocolate and set the bowl aside for 2 minutes. Begin whisking the mixture from the center until smooth, and then begin bringing the liquid from the sides of the bowl toward the center, whisking until the ganache has a nice sheen and is completely smooth. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of softened unsalted butter and press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the ganache. Set aside for at least 6 hours (or overnight) before giving the ganache a gentle swirl and frosting the top and sides of the cake with an offset spatula.
Lemon Doberge Cake
Makes one 9-inch cake
Special Equipment: 9-inch springform pan
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Heat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Butter a 9-inch springform pan with the 2 tablespoons of room-temperature butter. Add the 2 tablespoons of flour and shake the pan to coat the bottom and sides. Tap out any excess flour. Wrap the outside of the bottom of the pan in aluminum foil.
In a large bowl, combine the remaining 1 3/4 cups of flour, the baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
Stir the vanilla into the 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons melted butter. Set aside.
Add enough water to a medium saucepan to reach a depth of 1 inch. Bring to a simmer over high heat, and then reduce the heat to low. Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a large heatproof bowl, place it over the hot water, and constantly whisk the mixture until it’s warm to the touch, about 3 minutes. Pour it into the bowl of a stand mixer (or leave it in the large bowl if using a hand mixer) and whip on high speed until cool and tripled in volume, about 3 minutes.
Reduce the mixer speed to medium low and slowly drizzle in the melted butter. Use a whisk to gently fold in a third of the dry ingredients, followed by half of the milk. Repeat, ending with a third of the flour mixture. Use a rubber spatula to gently scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan.
Bake the cake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean and the center of the cake resists slight pressure from your fingertip, about 1 hour. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then invert it onto a cooling rack. Unclasp and remove the sides of the pan and then carefully invert the cake so it’s right side up. Let the cake cool completely. (You can wrap the cake in plastic and keep it, unsliced, for up to 1 day at room temperature.)
Remove the metal springform pan bottom from the cake. Slice the cake horizontally into 4 layers. Set aside.
Wash and dry the springform pan, reassemble it, and coat the bottom and sides with nonstick cooking spray. Drape two 20-inch-long pieces of plastic wrap over the pan so the entire bottom and sides are covered, allowing the ends of the plastic wrap to hang over the sides of the pan.
Place 1 cake layer in the springform pan. Top it with 1/3 of the lemon curd, using the back of a spoon or an offset icing spatula to spread the curd evenly over the cake layer and leaving a 1/2-inch border of bare cake around the edge. Repeat with the remaining cake layers and lemon curd.
Cover the top of the cake with the plastic wrap overhang or an extra piece of plastic wrap, if there isn’t enough overhang to completely cover the cake. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
After the cake has chilled, make the icing. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer), mix the butter and sugar together on low speed until combined. Add the lemon juice and food coloring, if using, and mix on low speed until moistened, then increase the speed to medium and beat until creamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, add 1 tablespoon of warm water, and beat until fully incorporated, about 1 minute longer.
Place four 6-inch-wide strips of parchment paper around the edges of a flat plate or cake plate. (Some of the parchment paper should hang off the edge of the plate so you can pull the paper out from under the cake once it is frosted. The parchment simply keeps the plate clean while you ice the cake.)
Unfold the plastic from the top of the cake and invert the cake onto the parchment-lined plate. Unclasp the sides of the pan and remove the sides and bottom of the pan, then peel off the plastic wrap. Use an offset spatula to ice the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (The filled and frosted cake keeps for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.) Remove the parchment paper before serving. Doberge cake can be served cold or you can let it sit at room temperature for up to 1 hour before serving.
Lemon Doberge Cake Recipe © 2009 David Guas. Photo © 2009 Ellen Silverman. All rights reserved. All materials used with permission.