Chocolate Cake of the Month: Little Ricky’s Sachertorte

Sunday December 4, 2016

a beautiful box designed for shipping and easy carry on

Invented by Austrian Franz Sacher, a boy working in the royal kitchen on a day when the pastry chef was absent and a special dessert was needed in the palace, in 1832 for Prince Wenzel von Metternich in Vienna, Austria. It is one of the most famous Viennese culinary specialties and symbolic of Viennese pastry art. And it has a history beyond its creation.

chocolate torte mit schlag

In the early decades of the twentieth century, a legal battle over the use of the label “The Original Sacher Torte” developed between the Hotel Sacher and the Demel bakery owned by the two Sacher brothers. Eduard Sacher completed his recipe for Sacher Torte while working at Demel, which was the first bakery establishment to offer the “Original Sachertorte ” cake. Following the death of Eduard’s widow Anna in 1930 and the bankruptcy of the Hotel Sacher in 1934, Eduard Sacher’s son (also named Eduard Sacher) found employment at Demel and brought to the bakery the sole distribution right for an Eduard-Sacher-Torte.

In 1963 both parties agreed on an out of court settlement that gave the Hotel Sacher the rights to the phrase “The Original Sachertorte” and gave the Demel the rights to decorate its tortes with a triangular seal that reads Eduard-Sacher-Torte.Today, the Original Sacher Torte is one of the most recognized cakes in the world and even helped establish the five star Hotel Sacher in Vienna founded in 1876 by Franz Sacher’s son, Eduard Sacher. The Original Sacher Torte is still made almost entirely by hand using Franz Sacher’s recipe and is a closely guarded secret. More than 360,000 cakes a year are made in Vienna by its 41 employees, many of which are shipped all over the world. The basis of the entire confection is an unleavened dense chocolate cake, thinly coated by hand with best-quality apricot jam. The chocolate icing on top of it is the crowning glory.

Sachertorte does not hit you over the head with sweetness, unlike some American desserts that are all frosting and goo.  The shiny icing has a crisp, crystallized texture that is almost fudge-like–there is nothing like it in American or French pastry.  The cake itself is firm, almost dry.  For this reason, Sachertorte is always served with a big dollop of lightly whipped, gently sweetened heavy cream.  You are actually supposed to dip each bite of cake into the cream to moisten it before eating. So, don’t be shy! This version was created for home cooks by food writer and cookbook author Rick Rodgers for his wonderful Kaffeehaus book. Really it is a basic European chocolate cake, taught in European cooking schools, and very easy to make at home in a springform pan. Sachertorte has its own Facebook page and is available for sale, shipped from Vienna, over the Internet.

Makes 12 servings

Ingredients

Cake

4 1/2 ounces (125 g) high-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

9 tablespoons (125 g) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature

1 cup (110 g) confectioners’ sugar

6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup (50 g) granulated sugar

1 cup (130 g) all-purpose flour (spoon gently into cup and level top)

Apricot Glaze

One 12-ounce (336-g) jar apricot preserves

2 tablespoons golden or dark rum

Chocolate Glaze

1 cup (200 g) sugar

1/2 cup (120 ml) water

4 ounces (55 g) high-quality bittersweet chocolate (70% cocoa chocolate works well here), coarsely chopped

Sweetened whipped cream, for serving

Instructions

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 °F (180ºC). Lightly butter a 9-inch (22.5-cm) springform pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment or waxed paper. Dust the sides of the pan with flour and tap out the excess.

2. To make the cake:  In the top part of a double-boiler over very hot, but not simmering, water, or in a microwave oven at Medium power, melt the chocolate. Remove from the heat or the oven, and let stand, stirring often, until tepid, but fluid.

3. Beat the butter in the bowl of a heavy-duty standing mixer fitted with the paddle blade on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. On low speed, beat in the confectioner’s sugar. Return the speed to medium-high and beat until light in color and texture, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the chocolate and vanilla.

4. Beat the egg whites and sugar in a large bowl with a hand-held electric mixer on high speed just until they form soft, shiny peaks. Do not overbeat. Stir about one-fourth of the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten, then fold in the remaining whites, leaving a few visible whisps of whites. Sift half of the flour over the eggs, and fold in with a large balloon whisk or rubber spatula. Repeat with the remaining flour.

5. Spread evenly in the pan. Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. (The cake will dome in the  center.) Cool on a wire cake rack for 10 minutes. Remove the sides of the pan, and invert the cake onto the cake rack. Remove the paper and reinvert on another rack to turn right side up. Cool completely.

6. To make the apricot glaze:  Bring the preserves and rum to a boil over medium heat. Cook until the last drops that cling to the spoon are very sticky and reluctant to leave the spoon, 2 to 3 minutes. Strain into a small bowl, pressing hard on the solids.  Use the glaze while warm and fluid.

7. Using a long serrated knife, trim the top of the cake to make level. Cut the cake horizontally into two equal layers. Place one cake layer on a 8-inch (20-cm) diameter cardboard round. Brush the top of the cake layer with about one-third of the apricot glaze. Place the second cake layer on top and brush the top and sides of the cake with the remaining glaze. Let cool until the glaze is set.

8. Make the chocolate glaze: In a 1-quart saucepan bring the sugar, water, and chocolate to to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Attach a candy thermometer to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 234ºF (112ºC)., about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Pour into a glass measuring cup (do not scrape out the saucepan).  Let stand, stirring often, until slightly cooled and lightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.

9.  Transfer the cake on the round to a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet.  Pour almost all of the warm chocolate glaze on top of the cake. Using a metal icing spatula, gently smooth the glaze over the cake, allowing it to run down the sides, being sure that the completely coats the cake (patch any bare spots with the remaining glaze). Let cool completely.  Trim away any hardened icing around the bottom edge of the torte. Store at room temperature under a cake cover, up to 2 days.

10. To serve, slice with a sharp knife dipped into hot water. Serve with a large dollop of whipped cream on the side.

Text copyright Beth Hensperger 2016
Recipe copyright Rick Rodgers 2016
Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.


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