Ending your dinner party with a decadent chocolate dessert is a memorable way to leave your guests full and impressed. December 5th is Sachertorte Day – why not try your hand at this unique torte that was conceived in 1832 by Austrian Franz Sacher? It remains one of Vienna’s most celebrated culinary achievements to this day, and there are plenty of variations to be found on the secretive original Sachertorte recipe.
As the story goes, Franz Sacher was a budding apprentice in the kitchen when Prince Wenzel Von Metternich of the Austrian empire requested a special dessert for his guests. Since the resident chef was ill, it fell on Sacher to step in and create something special on-the-spot for Prince Von Metternich. What Sacher created was a torte with apricot jam between layers of rich chocolate sponge cake and immersed in a layer of chocolate icing. (The preferred Sachertorte recipe calls for serving the dessert with a side of fresh whipped cream to lighten up the rich, dense cake with every bite.)
Sacher’s son, Eduard, tweaked and perfected the recipe to what it is today, but the original Sachertorte recipe is a well-kept secret by the Sacher Hotels where it is served exclusively in Vienna and Salzburg.
While we may never know the details of this top-secret recipe, many have tried to recreate it. The Sachertorte recipe below was featured on allrecipes.com and is the closest we may come to the original. Enjoy!
4 ounces semi sweet chocolate (chopped)
½ cup butter, softened
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar
6 eggs, separated
½ cup white sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 cup cake flour
¼ cup water
¼ cup white sugar
3 tablespoons dark rum, divided
1 (12 oz.) jar apricot preserves
1 tablespoon water
9 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 ounces heavy cream
Prep: 1 hour
Cook: 1 hour
Ready in 5 hours
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a 9-inch springform pan; place a circle of parchment paper inside, and butter that as well.
Melt 4 ounces of chocolate in a metal bowl placed over gently simmering water. Stir frequently until melted, then remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
Beat the butter together with confectioners’ sugar until creamy. Mix in the melted chocolate, then beat in the egg yolks, one at a time. In a clean bowl, beat egg whites with white sugar until stiff and glossy. Fold into chocolate mixture, then fold in the cake flour, until incorporated. Pour into prepared springform pan, and smooth the top.
Bake in the preheated oven until the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out dry, about 45 minutes. Cool pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then run a small knife around the edge and remove the sides of the pan. Allow cake to cool completely on the base of the pan. When cool, remove springform pan and parchment paper; slice cake in half horizontally.
Bring ¼ cup water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. When the sugar has dissolved and the syrup is clear, remove from the heat and stir in 2 tablespoons rum. Brush 1/3 of the syrup onto the cut side of the cake bottom.
Puree the apricot preserves with 1 tablespoon of water until smooth. Bring to a simmer over medium heat in a small saucepan, and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in remaining rum, then spread 1/3 of the jam mixture onto the cut side of the cake bottom. Brush the outside of the cake with the remaining syrup, then spread remaining apricot preserves over the top and sides; refrigerate until the icing is ready.
To make the icing, melt 9 ounces of chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave until smooth. Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan, then stir into melted chocolate. Cool slightly, stirring often, until the chocolate reaches a spreadable consistency.
Set the cake on a cooking rack set over a cookie sheet or waxed paper to catch any drips. Pour the icing on top of the cake, and spread around the edges; allow excess icing to drop through the rack. Cool cake to room temperature, then carefully remove from the cooling rack using a spatula. Transfer to a dessert plate and store in the refrigerator. Allow cake to come to room temperature before serving.
While you might never precisely recreate the original Sachertorte, there’s a world of decadent dessert possibilities waiting for your creative culinary touch! If you love the arts of baking and pastry, why not take your talents further with hands-on culinary training that leads to a delicious new career!