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Thursday, 29 August 2013


A real foodie must be open to try pretty much anything.  I consider myself a foodie and will give almost anything a go.  There are only a few things on my 'yuck' list and these include liver, kidney, olives and anything with an exoskeleton.  I am happy to taste anything, even if it contains something I don't think I would like, and I am not afraid to  retry something I have not liked before - only recently I tried a couple of olives, still don't like them.

When travelling I have always tired to taste well known dishes from that area.  Green/red curries in Thailand, pizza in Rome,  Singapore Slings at Raffles,  Kebabs in Berlin and pastries in Denmark.  One place I have not been to yet is Vienna, famous for its Sachertorte, but it is on my list of places to visit.

Hunting around the internet, and plenty of research later, brought me to two versions of the 'traditional' Sachertorte.  However, the absolute original recipe comes from the hotel of the same name - Hotel Sacher, Vienna.   Invented in 1832 this dense chocolate cake is sandwiched together with apricot jam and rich dark chocolate icing.  I came across two versions while hunting for a suitable recipe - two layer and single layer.  The two layer version is the one made at the Hotel Sacher therefore it is the recipe I have decide to make.

The icing for this torte is rather strange.  You bring water and sugar up to a boil and then add the dark chocolate.  When I first read this I wondered if the chocolate would simply burn, however careful boiling (if there is such a thing) and constant stirring reduces the risk of burning.  I was worried that my icing was starting to burn and I didn't quite make it to the suggested 116C on the thermometer but the resulting icing turned out ok.  My attempt at writing the famous 'Sacher' wording on top was a total disaster - hence not really seeing in the photo.  I wouldn't really bother and the actual cake in Vienna only contains a chocolate stamp instead of the words.

I feel I overcooked the sponge slightly.  My recipe stated 1 hour 15 minutes.  However other recipes call for 40 to 50 minutes.  I have reduced the cooking time in this version to 50 minutes, but its important to check for that the middle is springy when gently pressed before taking out.

So, here it is, 'original' Sachertorte....serve with thick cream and keep away from the fridge.  Better after a few days resting, or so my recipes says.


Serves 8-10

for the cake
115g unsalted butter, softened
175g chocolate (70%)
3 tbsp strong coffee
140g caster sugar
5 eggs, separated
140g plain flour
4 tbsp apricot jam
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp water

for the icing
85g caster sugar
4 tbsp water
100g chocolate (70%)

Preheat the oven to 160C (140C fan).  Grease and line a 23cm loose bottom tin.

Heat the chocolate with the coffee over steaming water.  Don't worry too much if the chocolate looks thick and slightly wrong, it will mix out later.


In a freestanding mixer, fitted with paddle, beat the butter and 85g of the sugar until light, about 3 minutes.  Add the chocolate mixture and egg yolks.  


Sift in the flour and fold.


In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff, add the remaining sugar and whisk.
Fold the egg white mix in to the chocolate.



Transfer to the baking tin and cook for 50 minutes, check if springy in the centre.  If not add another 10 minutes cooking time.


Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then remove.  Slice in half horizontally and sandwich together with 2tbsp of the jam.

Heat the remaining jam with the lemon juice and water.  Pass through a sieve.  Cover the cake with ALL the hot jam mix and brush around the top and sides.  Leave to set while you make the icing.


For the icing, heat the sugar and water in a heavy pan until boiling and the sugar has dissolved.  Add in the chocolate and mix until glossy.



Return to the heat and BOIL until a thermometer reads 116C.  Mix all the time.

Transfer 2 tbsp of this chocolate mix to a small bowl and pour the rest over the cake.  I would make sure you have some paper under to catch the leftover - it does get a bit messy.

Smooth round the sides but try not to touch the top while it sets or you will leave marks.

Leave to set for an hour.  Then, heat the left over icing you saved and using a point of a knife or piping bag, write the word 'Sacher' on top.  Mine looks a little messy, honestly, I wouldn't bother with the writing.