March 2, 2013


The legendary Sachertorte was invented in the 19th century by the Viennese chef Franz Sacher. The cake became famous when his son opened the luxury Hotel Sacher and this cake was served. A sachertorte is a dark, dense cake which does not use leavening, relying instead on finely ground almonds and whipped egg whites for its lightness. The cake is traditionally glazed with both an apricot jam glaze and a smooth chocolate glaze that gives it it's characteristic shine. I grew up eating European treats and cakes and I vaguely remember eating this, perhaps when we visited Austria when I was in 5th grade. This recipe is adapted from the Williams-Sonoma "Essentials of Baking" Book that I got for Christmas. It has become one of my favorites. The recipe below yields one large cake, serving approximately 12. Enjoy!

1. The cake tastes even better the following day as the flavors set, so I always make this a day ahead and let it sit overnight.
2. I learned a wonderful cutting technique which uses toothpicks and a ruler. Simply use the toothpicks to mark halfway up the cake all around and let those be your guide when cutting.
3. When spreading the chocolate glaze, keep the cake on the rack and move everything around in a circular motion. This will help the glaze to coat the sides evenly while retaining a shiny top.

6 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup finely ground blanched almonds
6 large eggs, separated
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

Apricot Glaze
1 cup apricot jam
2 Tbs water

Chocolate Glaze
12 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup unsalted butter
2 Tbs corn syrup

1. Preheat oven to 325F.
2. Butter an 8 inch springform pan, then line the bottom with parchment paper cut to fit.

3. Place the chocolate in the top of a double broiler over barely simmering water.
4. Heat, stirring often, until the chocolate melts.

5. Remove and set aside to cool slightly.
6. Stir together the flour and salt into a bowl, then stir in the ground almonds. Set aside.
7. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar.
8. Using the whip attachment, beat on medium speed until the cream of tartar dissolves and the whites begin to thicken.
9. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat just until soft peaks form.
10. Slowly add 1/4 cup sugar and continue to beat until stiff, shiny peaks form.

11. Transfer beaten eggs to a clean bowl.
12. In bowl of clean stand mixer, combine the butter and 1/2 cup sugar.

13. Using a wire whisk, beat vigorously until the mixture is light in color and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
14. Whisk in the egg yolks, 2 at a time, beating well after each addition.

15. Whisk in the chocolate until blended, then whisk in the vanilla.

16. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the batter.
17. Fold in one half of the egg white mixture, then the remaining egg white mixture.

18. Pour into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about an hour.

19. Immediately run a small, thin knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake., then let the cake cool  in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
20. Release pan sides then carefully remove the pan bottom and parchment.
21. Return the cake to the rack and cool completely.

Apricot Glaze
1. In small saucepan over medium heat, combine jam and water and heat until jam melts.
2. Remove from heat and press though a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl, then set aside.

Chocolate Glaze
1. Place chocolate, butter and corn syrup in the top of a double broiler placed over barely simmering water.
2. Heat until the chocolate and butter melt, stirring often.
3. Remove from the heat and pour the glaze through a fine mesh sieve.
4. Cool to 92F before using.

1. Cut the cake in half horizontally to form 2 layers.

2. Using a pastry brush, coat one layer with the apricot glaze.
3. Place the remaining cake layer on top and brush the top and sides of the cake with the remaining apricot glaze.

4. Cover the cake with the chocolate glaze.

5. Serve at room temperature.