History of the Sacher Torte
A non-musical ‘cultural must’ for visitors to Vienna would be a slice (or two) of the famed Sacher Torte (or Sachertorte in German). It is a great story – and a great cake.
The Viennese Sachertorte is a chocolate cake, first created in 1832 by Franz Sacher at the request (demand) of Austria's minister of foreign affairs, Prince Klemens Wenzel Metternich. Sacher, who was then 16 years of age and only in his second year of apprenticeship in the palace kitchen, was thrown into service for a very important dinner evening when fate stepped in and the head chef of the palace fell ill. "Take care that you do NOT make me look a fool tonight", warned Metternich. The result must have been a huge success and Sacher’s fortune was sealed, as was the secret of the recipe. Edward Sacher, son of Franz, opened the elegant Sacher Hotel in 1876 near the State Opera House with the inherited Sachertorte recipe in hand, which surely played a large role in the success of this elegant hotel. Visitors from all over the world come for a slice of this chocolate cake with apricot jam filling and dark chocolate icing which is always served with unsweetened whipped heavy cream, and so should you!
Sacher Torte Recipe
As close as possible to the secret recipe of the Sachertorte
Makes one 9-inch, 2-layer cake; Serves 12
- Sacher Torte Cake
- 7 tablespoons (3.5 ounces or 100 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- Scant 1/2 cup (4 ounces or 175 ml) confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 3.5 ounces (100 grams) bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
- Pinch of salt
- 7 tablespoons (3.5 ounces or 100 grams) superfine sugar
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (3.5 ounces or 100 grams) cake flour
- Sacher Torte Filling
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces or 100ml) granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons apricot schnapps or orange juice
- 1 cup+ (12-ounce or 350ml jar) apricot preserves
- Sacher Torte Glaze
- 1 cup (8 ounces or 226 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (8 ounces or 226 grams) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
How to make the Sacher Torte Cake
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 2.5-inch spring form pan and line the bottom with a parchment or greased waxed paper circle.
- With an electric mixer on low speed (or with a stationary mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), beat the butter for 1 minute, or until light. Add the confectioners' sugar and beat for 2 minutes longer.
- Add the egg yolks two at a time, beating for 10 seconds between additions, or until absorbed by the butter. Scrape down the beaters and sides of the bowl and beat for 1 minute longer, or until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and mix until combined.
- Whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form soft peaks. With the machine running, add the superfine sugar, about 2 tablespoons at a time, and beat until the egg whites are stiff and glossy. With a rubber spatula, fold 1/2 the egg whites into the batter. Transfer the flour to a strainer and sift it over the batter as you fold it in along with the remaining beaten egg whites.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan, smooth the top, and set the pan on a larger baking sheet (to catch the drips). Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out dry.
- Cool the cake to room temperature in the pan on a wire rack. Run a knife around the cake to loosen it from the sides, then unlock the spring form and lift the cake out of the ring.
How to make the Sacher Torte Filling
- Bring the sugar and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan and cook until a candy thermometer registers 220 degrees F. Add the chocolate, stir, and cook until a candy thermometer registers 230 degrees F (the "thread" stage). Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir constantly until smooth.
- Pour the hot glaze slowly back and forth over the top and sides of the cake. Be generous as you pour so that the sides get covered, because the glaze can't be moved once it is on the cake. If there are any unglazed patches on the sides of the cake, use a small offset spatula to patch the nude spots with more glaze. Let the cake stand for 1 hour before transferring it to a plate or platter.
Sacher Torte Storage
Keep at room temperature, under a cake dome or an inverted large mixing bowl. Refrigerate only after 2 days. The Sachertorte should be served at room temperature. Serve with chilled, unsweetened, heavy cream, beaten stiff and a strong cup of coffee.