A NOSTALGIC CAKE – SACHER TORTE

Thank you for visiting. This is my anniversary (do not ask me how many years, because when I arrived to 25 years, I stopped counting) and I always like to bake something nostalgic; so it was way over due to bake a Sacher Torta (Hungarian spelling). For those of you, not familiar with the Sacher Torte, I included a brief history of the tort

A slice of chocolate heaven

I decided to go with: “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words”. What about a picture of a cake? How can we measure its worth? I guess, I can measure it by eating a nice slice, perhaps with a cup of Viennese espresso* and tell you how I liked it (I can already tell you that I love it). You can measure it by making it from the recipe that follows, and tell me if the cake came out OK and if you loved the taste, the texture and the aroma that filled your kitchen while baking.

Once upon a time …..never mind that

I took the story of the cake from the originator’s site, Hotel Sacher in Vienna; also called Sacher Hotel Vien. There are other variations in print, but I trust this source the most.

The story began in 1832, when Wenzel Clemens Prince Metternich, ordered the creation of a highly palatable dessert for his spoiled high-ranking guests. It turned out that that very day, the executive chef was not available and the request was assigned to a 16-year-old apprentice, Franz Sacher…

The specialty presented to the masters and mistresses was a resounding success: a soft and fluffy chocolate cake with the tasty apricot jam under the icing. Franz spent his apprenticeship working for the Count of Esterhazy (this is another story) first in Bratislava, which is now located in Slovakia and then in Budapest, Hungary. When, he became a fully qualified cook and started to work for himself, he offered his successful composition once again, but this time on a large-scale. He named the cake after himself and the story states that he could not keep up with demand; and the victorious career of the most famous of all cakes began.

Did you know that the Original Sacher Torte made it into the Guinness Book of Records in 1998, when the Hotel Sacher made a single cake with a diameter of 2.5 meters? BTW, the original recipe is protected by copyright, so the one that we (and everybody else) bake today is based on “rumored” recipes.

Sacher Torta

 

SACHER TORTE

Ingredients

One 9 inch genoise

  • 4 tablespoons sweet butter (1/2 stick, 2 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup (3.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
  • grated zest from one orange

Glaze

  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) heavy cream
  • 4 ounces of dark chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) light corn syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoons (5 ml) vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) orange liqueur

The filling

  • 1 jar (16 ounce) of apricot jam with 2 tablespoons orange juice

Preparation

1. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with circle of parchment paper

2. Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat and set aside.

3. Sift the flour, cocoa, and salt together into a large piece of parchment paper; set aside.

4. In a bowl, whisk together with a hand-held mixer the eggs and sugar. Place the bowl over a pan with barely simmering water, making sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl, and heat the egg mixture, whisking constantly, until warm to touch, about 110 degrees on instant-read thermometer.

5. Remove from heat and continue to beat the egg mixture at medium-to-high speed until the eggs become pale, cream-colored and form a thick ribbon that falls from the whisk and rests on top of the batter for several seconds (this should take 6 to 10 minutes, depending on your mixer’s strength).

6. Add in the vanilla. Turn off the mixer and transfer 1 cup of the egg mixture to a bowl, and stir in the melted butter until combined; set aside.

7. Grab both ends of the parchment paper holding the flour mixture and, with the mixer running at the lowest speed, slowly sprinkle flour mixture into the batter until barely incorporated. Add the melted butter mixture back to the batter and with the mixer still running at lowest speed, fold gently to incorporate, being careful not to deflate the batter.

8. Immediately transfer the batter from the bowl into the prepared springform pan. Smooth top with offset spatula and gently tap the pan on a table to remove any air bubbles that may remain. Bake until the cake is golden brown and springs back lightly when pressed with a finger, about 35 minutes. (Note: if using convection oven, reduce the temperature by 25 degrees and the baking time by 25%). Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool completely. When cake is cool, run blade of thin metal spatula around inside circumference of the springform pan to loosen cake from sides of pan and remove it. Invert the cake on to a plate or baking sheet, remove pan bottom and parchment paper, and re-invert cake on to the rack.

Glaze Preparation

Combine the heavy cream and corn syrup in a medium saucepan and bring to full simmer over medium heat. Take the pan off the heat and add the chopped chocolate and let it stand for about 6 to 8 minutes then stir it to see if all the chocolate melted and the mixture appears to be shiny and fairly thick (Note: If the chocolate did not melt completely, you can return the saucepan to low heat and stir the chocolate constantly until there are no pieces of chocolates remain). Add the vanilla and the orange liqueur and stir gently until the mixture is smooth. Cool until tepid so that spoonful drizzled back into the pan mounds slightly.

The filling

Warm up the entire jar of apricot jam on a low heat, then add the juice and combine it with the jam.

Assembling the torte:

  • Cut the cake into two equal layers. Invert the top layer on to a cardboard-round that is just a touch larger than the diameter of cake. Sprinkle two tablespoons of orange liqueur on the two layers of cake. Using an offset spatula, spread 1/2 cup of apricot jam evenly over cake. Invert the second layer of the cake over first layer. Place the cake on the cardboard-round on to a wire rack that is placed on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the remaining apricot jam on top of the cake and using the offset spatula, spread the jam over edges and along sides of the cake. Allow excess of jam to fall off the sides of cake on to the baking sheet. Refrigerate the cake with the wire rack that is set on the baking sheet until apricot jam is set, about 30 minute.
  • Pour the chocolate glaze on the middle of the top of the cake and using an offset spatula, spread the glaze evenly over the top of cake and let it run down the side of the cake. Spread the glaze smoothly along the side of the cake. Refrigerate the cake, still on the rack that is set over the baking sheet, until set, at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
  • Transfer the cake to a large serving platter. You can decorate it with a few raspberries placed either on the middle of the cake or around the edges in a circle; but the original cake was served with an “official stamp”, (made from dark chocolate) stating the name of the cake and placed on the middle of the cake. Traditional serving includes an unsweetened dollop of whipped cream on the side and a cup of Viennese double espresso.

Enjoy. Please let me know if you baked it, how it came out? how did you like it? and if you did not like it, why not? would you make it again?

A personal note: I did not like the way the glaze settled on the side of the cake (I think I left it too long to settle) so I decided to correct it with ground almond. I also want to add, that I always look for single pasteurized heavy cream; Trader Joe’s, for one, carries a very good one.

*Viennese espresso is a pretty strong double espresso, made with Viennese-roasted beans, with a generous portion of unsweetened whipped cream dusted either with cinnamon or chocolate curls.