Sachertorte. (Think “soccer” and “tort,” and you’re halfway there.) This smooth mouthful of chocolatey goodness was first invented by Franz Sacher in 1832 for an Austrian prince who wanted to impress his guests. (The recipe has some echoes, too, in earlier cookbooks, including the Tried and True Viennese Cookbook, published in 1749.) Sacher’s older son Eduard continued refining the “Sacher cake,” and eventually served it at the inn he opened, the Hotel Sacher, in Vienna.
Sachertorte is best served with a side of whipped cream, or “schlag,” as shown above. But it’s also good with ice cream and a drizzle of leftover sauce. (Eduard used an apricot filling, but the Familie Brick prefers raspberry. Either works.) In spite of its flashy appearance, this European cake is surprisingly frugal to make. The secret ingredient? Bread crumbs.
- 1 6-oz pkg chocolate chips (or equivalent fine chocolate bar – the darker, the better)
- 1/2 cup butter
- 8 eggs (separate into yolks and whites)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
- 3/4 cup flour
Melt chocolate chips and butter in the microwave (approx. 1 min.) Meanwhile, in bowl #1, start beating the egg whites until stiff and glossy.
By hand, mix the egg yolks and sugar in another bowl. Add the melted chocolate mixture to bowl #2, then gently fold in the vanilla, breadcrumbs and flour.
Add the stiffened egg whites (gently) to bowl #2, then pour mixture into one greased tube pan, springform pan, or two 9″ layer cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 min. (9″ pans) to 60 min. (tube or springform). Cake will be done when firm to the touch, and an inserted toothpick comes out dry. Let cool, then gently release from the pan.
Filling & Glaze
- 1/2 cup raspberry jam (substitute apricot if you prefer the traditional way. Keep an extra half-cup if you’re serving ice cream, as well)
- 1 6-oz. pkg chocolate chips (or an equivalent chocolate bar)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon coffee
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons milk or sour cream
Set the jam aside. Microwave everything else until melted (about 1 1/2 min.)
If your cake was baked in a tube or springform pan, slice it in half horizontally. (This is easier to do if it’s chilled, or even frozen.) Spread jam between layers and re-sandwich.
Spread the melted chocolate mixture on top of the cake, taking care to frost around the sides, as well. Keep the top as glossy as possible. (Easiest way to do this is to take a knife dipped in hot water and smooth the top after the chocolate has been iced.)
The traditional finishing touch: write ‘Sacher’ on top in chocolate icing. We like it with a round of chopped nuts on top or the sides, as well. (Filberts are the traditional choice.)
Makes 12 decadent slices of cake. Serve it with strong coffee or espresso, and you’ve got a memorable dessert for any celebration.
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