a well kept-secret of the Hotel Sacher Wien

Probably the most famous of all tortes, the Sacher-Torte is the result of several happy coincidences. In 1832, the Austrian State Chancellor, Prince Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, expected guests at his palace and instructed his kitchen staff to create a new dessert. On the day of the event though, the chef was ill – and so the delicate task of magicking up “the sweet of the evening” fell to the 16-year-old apprentice chef, Franz Sacher. “I hope you won’t disgrace me tonight,” Prince Metternich said to the pupil on his way to the kitchen.

Knowing this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Sacher created the icon of all desserts, the legendary chocolate cake, the cult torte itself: the Original Sacher-Torte. It must have been excellent, Franz Sacher’s dessert. At least it certainly was no embarrassment. From 1836, the Torte was considered “presentable at court” and featured regularly on the menu at the imperial court.

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For the chocolate cake
130 g
Dark couverture chocolate (min. 55% cocoa content)
Vanilla pod
150 g
Softened butter
100 g
Icing sugar
100 g
Castor sugar
140 g
Plain wheat flour
fat and flour for the mould
200 g
Apricot jam (preferably from the Wachau region)
200 g
Castor sugar
150 g
Dark couverture chocolate (min. 55% cocoa content)
Whipped cream to garnish
Makes 1 springform
(diameter: 24 cm)
Chilling: about 20 mins.
Baking: about 1 hour
Print Recipe
Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line the base of the springform with baking paper, grease the sides and dust with a little flour. To make the chocolate cake, melt the couverture over a hot water bath, then leave to cool a little.
Slit the vanilla pod open lengthways and scrape out the seeds. Using a hand mixer with whisk attachment, beat the softened butter with the icing sugar and vanilla seeds until foamy.
Separate the eggs. Whisk the egg yolks into the butter mixture, one at a time. Now gradually add the melted couverture chocolate. Beat the egg whites with the castor sugar until stiff, then place on top of the butter and chocolate mixture. Sift the flour over the mixture, then fold in the flour and beaten egg whites.
Transfer the mixture to the springform, smooth the top and bake in the oven (centre) for 10 to 15 minutes, leaving the oven door ajar a finger-width. Then close the oven and bake the cake for about 50 minutes more. (It is done when it yields slightly if pressed with a finger.)
Take the cake out of the oven and loosen the sides of the springform. Carefully tip the cake onto a cake rack lined with baking paper, and leave to cool for about 20 minutes. Only then pull off the baking paper, turn the cake over and leave on the cake rack to cool completely.
Cut the cake in half horizontally. Warm the jam and stir until smooth. Brush the top of both cake halves with the jam and place one on top of the other. Also brush the sides with the jam.
To make the glaze, put the castor sugar into a saucepan with 125 ml water and boil over high heat for about 5 minutes. Take the sugar syrup off the stove and leave to cool a little. Roughly chop the couverture, gradually add it to the syrup and stir until you have a thick liquid (see tip).
How to test if the glaze has the right consistency?
Let a little of the glaze run over a wooden cooking spoon. It should now be covered by a layer of glaze approximately 4 mm thick. If the glaze is too thick, add a few drops of sugar syrup to dilute it (to do so, loosen any remaining sugar in the saucepan with a little hot water). Make sure that the glaze does not get too hot, or it will be dull when cooled and not glossy.
Pour all the lukewarm glaze liquid at once over the top of the cake and quickly spread using a palette knife. Leave the glaze to set for a few hours. Serve the Sacher-Torte garnished with whipped cream.

NOTE: This recipe is only an approximation of the original recipe, which of course must remain a strictly guarded secret.

the cult torte: the Original Sacher-Torte

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