Have you ever heard of Sachertorte? It's the most famous chocolate cake in all of Austria, and is popular throughout the whole world. There's a reason why: this beautiful cake blends the gorgeous flavors of dark chocolate and apricot in one gourmet dessert. Enjoy your slice with whipped cream and coffee, and you'll be in heaven!
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What is Sachertorte?
Sachertorte is a rich, slightly dense cake from Vienna, Austria. It's traditionally filled and topped with an apricot glaze, and then covered with a shiny chocolate glaze. It is served with a cup of coffee and a mound of unsweetened whipped cream, called Schlagobers in Austrian. Each bite should be dipped into the cream to complement the flavors.
Who invented Sachertorte?
Sachertorte was invented in 1832 by sixteen-year-old Franz Sacher, a kitchen apprentice in Prince Metternich's palace. The prince was holding a special dinner for important guests that day. Unfortunately, the regular cook had become ill, so Sacher was left to come up with a dessert. Everyone loved the dessert, and it was named in his honor.
How do you pronounce Sachertorte?
The correct pronunciation is ZACK-er-tort-uh, emphasizing the "z" sound. Click here to listen to the pronunciation.
Is Sachertorte gluten free?
The traditional recipe for Sachertorte does include wheat flour, so it's not gluten free. However, you can use a cup-for-cup gluten free substitute.
How do you store Sachertorte?
I like to keep the cake in an airtight container at room temperature. Don't refrigerate it, or the ganache will lose its sheen. In fact, this dessert keeps well for several days before it's sliced. Once it's cut, eat within 2 days.
Can you freeze Sachertorte?
Yes, you can freeze Sachertorte for up to 3 months. Make sure it's tightly sealed in a plastic freezer bag or airtight container. (Note that the glaze will lose some of its sheen after being in the cold.)
How to Make
Get out all of the ingredients. Make sure the eggs and butter are at room temperature. (See the Pro Tips section right before the recipe for tips on warming eggs and butter quickly.) You'll want to preheat the oven to 375 F, butter a 9-inch springform pan that's at least 2 inches deep, and line its base with parchment paper.
Melt 6 ounces (170g) of the dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Stir frequently until fully melted, then remove from the heat to cool slightly.
Beat the butter until soft, then add the sugar and cream until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, then mix in the vanilla and salt.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir in the melted chocolate.
Beat the egg whites in a clean, grease-free bowl until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to overmix, or the egg whites will look dry and lumpy.
Vigorously stir about ⅓ of the beaten egg whites into the mixture to slacken it.
Add the remaining egg whites and fold until partially combined.
Sift the flour on top of the mixture and continue folding until the batter is perfectly smooth, with no lumps of egg white or streaks of flour.
Gently pour the batter into the prepared pan and tap the pan a couple times on the counter to release large air bubbles. Bake at 375 F until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 26 minutes. As soon as the cake comes out, run a knife around the edge of the pan and flip it onto a flat surface. Let it stay for a few seconds, then turn it right side up on a cooling rack. This helps flatten the domed top. (It sounds dangerous, but don't worry; this cake is very sturdy!)
Once the cake has completely cooled, slice off the domed top and cut it into two equal layers. Those air holes are neat, aren't they?
Now we can make the apricot glaze. Pour the apricot preserves into a small saucepan and set over medium heat until melted, stirring occasionally. (If the preserves are quite thick, add 2-3 teaspoons of water to thin them out.)
Pour the preserves into a sieve set over a bowl. Press the preserves through the sieve with a spoon to remove the lumps of fruit.
Spread roughly ⅓ of the apricot glaze on top of one of the cakes, then set the other cake on top. Pour the remaining glaze on top and spread evenly over the top and sides with an angled spatula. The apricot glaze is like a crumb coat of buttercream, keeping the ganache layer silky smooth. It also provides a beautiful fruit flavor and keeps it moist for days.
Let the apricot glaze set completely. Then, measure out some heavy whipping cream and dark chocolate. (You can use a baking bar or chips here.)
Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until steaming and just barely bubbling. Immediately remove it from the heat and whisk in the chocolate until silky smooth.
Let the ganache cool for a minute or two, until slightly thickened, but still pourable. Put the cake on a wire rack set over a cookie sheet, then pour the ganache on top. (The excess will drip down onto the cookie sheet. You can scrape this up later and use it to make truffles or hot chocolate!)
Let the ganache mostly set, then melt the milk chocolate chips as you did earlier. Spoon the chocolate into the corner of a plastic sandwich bag, twist the top, and snip off the tip to make a piping bag. Practice piping the word "Sacher" once or twice, then do it on the cake. Leave to set completely. The ganache will harden into a silky, shiny topping. Serve in slices with unsweetened whipped cream (called schlag in Austrian) and a cup of coffee.
- Use the best quality dark chocolate you can find. It's crucial to getting the rich flavor of this cake.
- Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature before you start, especially the eggs and butter. (Submerge the eggs in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes; microwave the butter in 5-second intervals and smash with a spoon until soft.)
- Separate the egg yolks and whites while the eggs are still cold; it's much easier than waiting until they're warm.
- Be gentle as you fold in the egg whites and flour; you want to keep as much air in the mixture as possible. The air bubbles are the only way the cake will rise! On the other hand, make sure there are no lumps of egg white or streaks of flour, especially at the bottom of the bowl.
- Don't overbake it, or it will be dry. It's done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool completely before cutting it into layers.
- To have a perfect clean slice, run a sharp knife under very warm water, then dry it off between each cut.
Other Chocolate Desserts to Enjoy
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How to Make Sachertorte
For the Cake
- 6 ounces 60% cacao chocolate
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ⅔ cup caster sugar
- 6 large eggs, separated and at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled
For the Apricot Glaze
- 1 ¼ cups apricot preserves
- 2-3 teaspoons water
For the Ganache & Decoration
- 5 ounces 60% cacao chocolate
- ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
- ⅓ cup milk chocolate chips
Making the Cake (35 minutes + 25 minutes baking + cooling)
- Preheat the oven to 375 F. Lightly butter a 9-inch springform pan (it should be at least 2 inches deep) and line the base with parchment paper.
- Break up the chocolate and place it in a heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, making sure the steam doesn't touch the chocolate and the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water. Stir frequently until it is melted, then remove it from the saucepan to cool slightly.
- Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until smooth, then add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a flexible spatula, then mix in the egg yolks, vanilla extract, and salt until well blended. Scrape the bowl again, then stir in the chocolate.
- In a clean, grease-free bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff enough not to fall out of the bowl if it's turned upside down. Don't overbeat, or the egg whites will look dry and lumpy.
- Energetically stir ⅓ of the egg whites into the mixture to slacken it, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites until flecks of egg white remain. Sift the flour on top of the mixture, then continue folding until the mixture has no lumps of egg whites or streaks of flour anywhere.
- Gently pour the batter into the prepared pan and tap it on the counter a couple times to remove any large air pockets.
- Bake in the middle of the oven at 375 F until the cake is risen and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 26 minutes. Be careful not to overbake, as that will make it dry.
- As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, run a thin knife around the edge and turn it out onto a flat surface and let it rest there for 10 seconds or so. This will help flatten the domed top. Then, turn the cake right side up and place on a wire cooling rack until completely cold, approximately 1 hour.
Making the Apricot Glaze (15 minutes + setting time)
- Once the cake has cooled completely, carefully slice off the domed top with a serrated knife, then slice it in half to create two layers.
- Place the apricot preserves in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until warm and melted, only adding a little water if the preserves are too thick. Press the preserves through a sieve with a spoon to remove the lumps of fruit.
- Spread about ⅓ of the preserves on top of one of the cakes, then place the other layer on top. Pour the remaining apricot glaze on top and smooth over the top and sides with an angled spatula. Leave to set completely.
Making the Ganache (20 minutes + setting time)
- Pour the heavy whipping cream into a small saucepan set over medium heat. Heat until steamy and just barely bubbling, then immediately remove from the heat and dump in the dark chocolate. Whisk until smooth. Let the ganache cool for a minute or two until slightly thickened, but still pourable.
- Place the cake on a wire cooling rack set over a cookie sheet. Pour the ganache evenly over the top and sides, allowing the excess to drip off the rack onto the cookie sheet below. Leave to set completely. Your finger should not stick to the ganache when it's set.
- Before the ganache is completely set, melt the milk chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring frequently. Pour the melted chocolate into a plastic sandwich bag, twist the top, and snip off the corner to create a mini piping bag. Practice piping the word "Sacher" on a paper towel, then pipe "Sacher" on top of the cake to decorate. Leave to set completely.
- Serve in slices with generous amounts of schlag (unsweetened whipped cream) and coffee.
- Use top quality dark chocolate for the best possible flavor in the cake.
- Use room temperature ingredients. Warm up the eggs quickly by submerging them in hot tap water for 10 minutes.
- Fold the batter gently, but thoroughly. No streaks of flour or blobs of egg white should be in the mixture.
- Want a perfect slice? Run a sharp knife under hot water, then dry it off and cut a slice. Repeat this between each cut.
- Store at room temperature. The cake tastes the best when eaten during the first 2 days after being cut.