18 novembre 2010

Sachertorte and my lovely Kaiser springform pan

The other night, I walked to my favorite salon de thé. The crisp autumn air. The crackling of fallen leaves beneath my feet, an eerie enchanting yellow in the harsh streetlight. Suddenly a feeling I haven't felt for months. I felt inspired to write.

This blog has been, for a lack of a less harsh word, neglected. I've been meaning to write, I really have. Ideas float in my mind but never take root and writing on a computer is just so distracting. A meerkat on psychotropics has a longer attention span than I do. So there I was, curled up in the cosy tearoom, pen and paper in hand and a pot of jasmine tea beside me. Where to start? The young couple sitting across the room are snuggling and kissing. Loudly. Too much slurping and it isn't tea. Argh. Concentrate.

So. Where do I start?

Something autumn-y, like a lovely tarte aux pommes? How about my fresh and healthy summer dishes, all sadly relegated to the back seat cos I was too busy at my summer job as beach bum extraordinaire?

Then I remember the Sachertorte. Aaaah the Sachertorte.. A thousand words could not suffice. (via Café Sacher)

Look at it and tell me you're not feeling just a little bit weak in the knees. You gasp a little, your heart's started racing. You swallow once, your mouth a little pasty like it's imagining what it would taste like. Your stomach's got off to a low rumble and there's a siren in your brain that just went off. Chocolate-based sensory overload.

The Sachertorte is a Viennese specialty, consisting of 2 layers of dense chocolate cake with apricot jam in between and topped with a silky dark chocolate icing. Sounds daunting? It did to me, but I had made a promise to two colleagues: my firstborn first Sachertorte in exchange for keeping my cells alive while I was on vacation. Cells? Yeah cells. As if all that chocolate wasn't already beckoning me, I get to use my gorgeous Kaiser springform pan which I love love love. While an 8-inch pan is a nifty size for trying out a recipe, 'm already contemplating getting another in a larger size. There's plentyof love for bakeware to go around.

Warning: Do NOT try this at home unless you are a certified level 10 chocoholic or accompanied by one who can eat it for you in case of emergency. An underqualified individual may experience respiratory and cardiac difficulties associated with an overdose that can only be treated by singing Oompa Loompas.


Sacher biscuit
170 g semisweet chocolate, broken in chunks
80 g butter, softened
5 egg whites
4 egg yolks
110 g white sugar
40 g flour
20 g ground almonds
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp baking powder
Apricot jam
Optional: Brown rum or other liqueur

Chocolate icing
200 g semisweet chocolate, in chunks
20 cl heavy cream
(I used a light cream, and the difference in %fat did not seem to affect the icing)

1/ Heat the oven to 180°C.

2/ Melt chocolate chunks with a bit of butter in the microwave, in quick bursts to avoid burning the chocolate. Leave aside to cool.

3/ In a big bowl, cream the butter and sugar with a hand mixer until a light pale colour. Add egg yolks and vanilla extract and whisk till well mixed.

4/ Mix melted chocolate into the batter.

5/ Sift flour, ground almonds and baking powder together. Add to the batter in thirds and mix well.

6/ In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites till stiff peaks form. Fold in whisked egg whites delicately in thirds until just incorporated.

7/ Pour the batter into a 8-9 inch springform pan (buttered and floured, lined with parchment paper if desired) and bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted at the thickest point comes out clean.

8/ Leave to cool in pan for 30 minutes. Remove the Sacher biscuit from the pan and leave to cool on a cooling rack for at least another 30 minutes to 1 hour. The cake must be thoroughly cooled before attempting to slice it in two layers.


Wrap the Sacher biscuit well in cling film and freeze for 2 hours or overnight. This is supposed to tighten the crumbs and give layers that hold together better. (according to baking911)

10/ As it thaws, slice the Sacher biscuit in two horizontally with a long serrated knife. Avoid back and forth sawing motions as this would result in too many crumbs. Hold the biscuit down with one hand, slicing smoothly towards the centre and rotate the cake.

11/ Flip the biscuit over. The bottom of the cake will be used as as the top as it is uniformly flat and will be easier to glaze afterwards.

12/ Drizzle the rum and spread a 1-cm layer of apricot jam on the lower layer of the biscuit. Place the top layer on it and refrigerate.


13/ In a saucepan, bring the cream to a slight boil, taking care not to let it boil over.

14/ Pour the hot cream over the chocolate chunks in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Leave to cool but it should still be slightly warm when using in it.

15/ Place the cake on a grill over a large plate or bowl.

16/ Pour the icing over the cake, letting it flow over the sides. With a spatula, spread the icing over the top, applying equal pressure across the top and smoothing out the sides.

17/ Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

And...... *drumroll* Ta-DAH!

You know how all mothers think that THEIR baby is the most beautiful baby of them all. Well, my first ever Sachertorte was the most beautiful first ever Sachertorte of them all. Its perfectly smooth icing glistening in the light, an ephemeral beauty so delicate that I felt a little pain in my heart when I cut into it.

Considering that this was my first time at icing a cake, I'm really quite proud at how it turned out. Icing a cake sounded fairly simple: Make icing, pour icing, spread with spatula. Easy peasy lemon squeezy? More like difficult difficult lemon difficult. It's all about applying equal pressure along the spatula and pulling across uniformly. Not so hard that you scrape off too much icing and not so light that the unequal pressure gives an unequal surface. It's really a matter of practice, practice, practice and the friends and family with whom you feed it will either love you or loathe you for it.

I made the Sachertorte a second time for a birthday, swapping the apricot jam for some homemade raspberry sauce. It also went nicely with the chocolate but had a much more distinct taste.

3 commentaires:

  1. Love it! As a chocolohic I must try this at home!!!

  2. Sachers have always been a weakness for me...yours look awesome! I'd any day choose raspberry-chocolate over apricot though.

  3. @Manu
    Yes, it's a must-try for any chocoholic! Give it a whirl and send me a link when you do ;)

    Thanks! I know what you mean about the raspberry, it's a whole different dimension of taste