Ah Sacher Torte! The fairytale chocolate cake.

I was born in Vienna. Among so many other cultural gems, this city is also the home of Sachertorte. This cake is an Austrian classic. It’s coated in chocolate and layered with apricot jam. This version employs the jam as a filling between the layers and as a glaze to coat the cake before covering it with chocolate. This cake has quite the storied history. there was a lawsuit between Hotel Sacher and Demel bakery over the secret recipe. And now here’s the (improved) secret recipe.

INGREDIENTS

CAKE

  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted, then cooled a bit
  • 1 1/2 sticks softened unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 ounces ground blanched almonds (1/3 cup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

FILLING AND GLAZE

  • 1 3/4 cups apricot jam
  • 2/3 cup corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum
  • 10 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • Unsweetened whipped cream, for serving (if desired)

MAKING THE CAKE, FILLING, and GLAZE

The Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and butter the paper. Dust the pan with flour, tapping out the excess.
  2. In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, whip the egg whites at high speed until soft peaks form.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the all-purpose flour with the almond flour and salt. In another large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the yolks, one at a time, and beat until fluffy. Beat in the chocolate, then beat in the flours. Beat in one-fourth of the whites, then, using a spatula, fold in the rest of the whites until no streaks remain.
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake the cake in the center of the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let the cake cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then remove the ring and let the cake cool completely. Invert the cake onto a plate and peel off the parchment. Turn the cake right side up. Using a long serrated knife, cut the cake horizontally into 3 even layers.

The Filling and Glaze

  1. In the oven, whisk 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the apricot preserves with 1/4 cup of water and melt on low heat.
  2. Place the bottom of the springform pan on a wire rack and set the rack on a baking sheet. Arrange the top layer of the cake, cut side up, on the springform pan. Brush the cake with 1/3 of the melted apricot jam. Spread 1/2 cup of the unmelted apricot jam on top and then cover with the middle cake layer. Brush the surface with another third of the melted jam and spread another 1/2 cup of the unmelted jam on top. Brush the cut side of the last layer with the remaining melted jam and set it cut side down on the cake. Trim the cake edges with a sharp knife if necessary to make it even.
  3. In the oven, heat the remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the apricot jam just until melted. Press the jam through a strainer to remove solids. Brush the jam over the cake until completely coated. Refrigerate for 20 minutes until set.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, whisk the corn syrup with the rum and 2 tablespoons of water and bring to a boil. Cook until slightly thickened, approximately 1 minute. Put the chocolate into a bowl and pour the hot mixture on top. Let stand until melted, then whisk until smooth. Whisk in another tablespoon of hot water if the chocolate glaze is too thick to pour. Let cool until just warm.
  5. Use an offset spatula to scrape off any excess jam from the cake so that it is lightly coated. Slowly pour half of the warm chocolate glaze in the center of the cake, allowing it to gently coat the top and spread down the side. Spread the glaze to evenly coat the cake. Heat the remaining glaze for a few seconds and repeat pouring and spreading. Scrape away any excess glaze. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to congeal the glaze, then cut the finished torte into wedge slices and optionally serve with the whipped cream (which is about as authentic as it gets, Austrian style).

And a Beverage to go with this you ask (well, our reader Lillian asked): 1. Coffee of course. Preferably a Vienna style coffee or Italian roast. And Wine? Why an Austrian St. Laurent of course. The pairing is perfect. This is a delicate Austrian red varietal that’s like Pinot Noir only usually better!

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