Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Baker's Corner: Sachertorte


I wasn't privy to the existence of a Sachertorte up until four years ago. If you had asked me about it then, you would have drawn a blank stare.

How I got acquainted with this dessert is that one of my friends had been on a trip to Europe and she (very thoughtfully) brought back beautifully packed individual boxes of what looked to me like chocolate cake. I'll digress here - if you are a regular reader of my blog, you must have noticed by now how most of my friends are hopeless foodies! Birds of a feather, flock together eh? Coming back to the subject, when I quizzed her more about it, she briefed me about Sachertorte and how it has become an iconic dessert attributed to The Sacher Hotel in Vienna. I greedily polished off the lion's share of it and it really was heaven in a bite!

Allow me to wallow in a bit of culinary history - Sachertorte is a specific type of chocolate cake, or torte, that was invented by a sixteen-year old Austrian by the name of Franz Sacher. How inspiring is that?

The Hotel Sacher, arguably one of the world's most luxurious and historic hotels, is the designated purveyor of the torte. They have an elaborate website devoted almost entirely to the Sachertorte! Shipping options are available no matter where you are. Their longtime Viennese competitor, as far as the torte goes, is Demel's. They have their own version as well, which is just slightly different from the Hotel Sacher's. Among the fortunate ones who've tasted both versions, some choose the Hotel's while others opt for Demel's. I hope the day comes when I get to pick a favourite as well!

This beautiful Viennese classic consists of a dense chocolate cake with a thin layer of apricot jam on top, coated in dark chocolate icing on the top and sides. It is traditionally served with unsweetened whipped cream.

Although the recipe is relatively simple, it's important to follow the step-by-step procedure to get a nice, soft inside of the cake. I don't know why but it took me a really long time from start to finish so I don't think this is one of those desserts that I will be making very often! 



But it does have that 'wow' factor and tastes really lovely (when executed correctly) so don't feel intimidated by the steps and do try it out 

Sachertorte

Preparation time: 30 min; Baking time: 45 min; Assembling time: 20 min; Cooling time: 30 min
Total time: ~ 2 hours
Serves: 6-8
Recipe category: Dessert/Viennese
Recipe level: Intermediate
Recipe source: Adapted from here

Ingredients: 

For the Sachertorte:

160g dark chocolate (64 - 70% cacao)
130g butter, softened and cut on small cubes
50g icing sugar
6 egg yolks
6 egg whites
100g caster sugar
130g all-purpose flour, sifted
150g apricot jam or marmalade, good quality

For the chocolate glaze:

100g water
100g caster sugar
140g dark chocolate (64 - 70% cacao)

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 ºC / 355 ºF. Butter a 20 cm cake tin. Bring all your ingredients out of the fridge, because it's very important that they're at room temperature. 

2. Make the Sachertorte batter - First melt the chocolate in a bowl, over a saucepan of boiling water. When the chocolate has melted, remove it from the heat and let it cool slightly. 


3. In a large bowl, beat the butter with the icing sugar for about 3 minutes, using an electric mixer. 


4. Add the cooled, melted chocolate and mix for another 3 minutes. 


5. Add the egg yolks one by one and beat to incorporate.


6. In another clean bowl, beat the egg whites and a pinch of salt with caster sugar into soft peaks, using an electric mixer. 


7. Incorporate the sifted flour with the butter - sugar - chocolate mixture, using a spatula. Make sure there are no lumps of flour in the batter. 


8. Mix 1/3 of the egg whites with the flour-butter-sugar-chocolate mixture. Then gently fold in the rest of the egg whites, using a spatula.


9. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake the cake for 40 - 45 minutes at 175 ºC / 350 ºF. Transfer the baked Sachertorte to a wire rack to cool. If your cake has a dome, slice it off and make the top even (not shown in pic). 



10. Put the apricot jam to a saucepan and bring to a boil, remove from the heat. Cut the baked cake in half (I used a cake leveler) and spread a thick layer of apricot jam over the half, than cover with another half and spread a thick layer of apricot jam over and around the rest of the cake. Make sure you use up all the apricot jam. 



11. Make the glaze. Place the water and caster sugar in a saucepan and bring to a temperature of 108 ºC / 225 ºF. Lower the heat, add the chocolate and stir constantly until it melts. 


12. Pour the glaze over the cake immediately. Set the cake aside to cool for at least 30 minutes. 


13. Serve with chantilly cream.



Notes:
  • If you don't have a cake leveller, you can use toothpicks and dental floss or a small paring knife along with a larger serrated knife
  • Make sure the top of your cake is even and smooth before applying the apricot jam so that you get a good finish
  • Don't discard the chocolate glaze that drips down remains after you finish pouring the glaze. Collect it and store it in the fridge. You can make delicious cups of dark hot chocolate with it (which is what I did!) 

Cheers,


4 comments:

  1. That first picture itself had me drooling.
    Never had a cake with apricot jam in it. Save a piece for me :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. The recipe is so great can we add chocolate instead of jam

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anna, the cake already has a chocolate glaze on top right? The jam gives it a hint of fruitiness which although understated is still quite nice. It also helps to give the cake a good finish. I recommend using it :)

      Delete

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