Let’s Dish! Let’s Talk About Sachertorte

By MaryAnn Miano

D9ALL(1)We celebrate several holidays in December, but did you know that December 5 is National Sachertorte Day? This delectably decadent dessert is an elegant chocolate cake that originated in Vienna. “Torte” is a German word for cake. Actually, it is the word to use when you are making a particularly “fancy” cake, as opposed to the word “kuchen” for the more mundane variety of cake (is there even such a thing?)

Sachertorte is a famous Austrian cake served on festive occasions in German-speaking countries, yet is known the world over. It is a rich chocolate sponge cake, glazed in apricot and iced with bittersweet chocolate. It was first produced in 1832 by Franz Sacher in Vienna, Austria. He was apprentice chef to Prince von Metternich and, at the age of 16, created this cake for him after the head chef fell ill. However, the Sachertorte is reputedly the only cake in the world that was ever the subject of a court case. The history of the case is fascinating.

In the 1960’s, Vienna’s most famous pastry shop, Demel’s, and the Sacher Hotel, owned by a branch of the same Sacher family, contested who had the right to call their product “genuine” Sachertorte.  Demel’s case was based on the fact that the shop had bought the right to produce the “genuine” Sachertorte, stamped with an official seal of bittersweet chocolate, from Eduard Sacher, the grandson of the creator. The Hotel Sacher based their case on the family connection with the cake’s creator. The most discernible difference between the versions from the two establishments was in the placing of the apricot jam. It took seven years for the courts to make a decision, and the decision was in favor of the Hotel Sacher. Demel Pastry Shop, however, announced that they would simply market their torte as the “Ur-Sachertorte,” the very first version.

In Demel’s shop’s version, the cake is glazed with only one layer of jam on top, then covered with icing, while in the Hotel Sacher’s version, it is split in half, with the best quality jam spread between the layers. Spread on top of the cake, the apricot glaze provides a glassy, smooth surface over which the warm icing, worked to exactly the right temperature and consistency, can flow smoothly and rapidly to give the cake its characteristically smooth coating. Sachertorte is properly inscribed on top with the word “Sacher” in chocolate. In Vienna, it is generally served with unsweetened whipped cream, which seems to cut the sweetness and marries wonderfully with the rich chocolate cake.

The recipe of the Sacher Hotel Sachertorte is a guarded secret.  However, the following recipe may be a close second, as it belongs to the great chef, Wolfgang Puck. Enjoy it for the holidays!



6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces

3 ounces butter

4 egg yolks

1 ounce sugar, plus 3 ounces

5 egg whites

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup flour, sifted


Apricot Filling:

1 1/2 cups apricot preserves

1 tablespoon apricot brandy


6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces

1 ounce butter

2 ounces heavy cream whipped cream



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour a 9” x 2” cake pan.

In a bowl, combine the chocolate and butter and melt over a double boiler. Set aside to cool. In a mixer, using a wire whisk, whip the egg yolks with 1 ounce sugar until and ribbon-y. Beat in the chocolate mixture.

In another bowl, beat the egg white and salt until soft peaks form. Slowly add the remaining 3 ounces of sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks. Fold in the flour, then fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining egg whites, gently but thoroughly. Pour into prepared cake pan.

Bake for 40 minutes or until paring knife inserted in the center comes out dry. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.

To make apricot filling, puree the apricot preserves. Stir in brandy. Slice the cooled cake into 3 equal layers. Spread half of the apricot filling on the bottom layer. Top with a second layer of cake. Spread the remaining apricot filling on the bottom layer. Top with a second layer of cake. Spread the remaining apricot filling and top with the last layer of cake. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

To make the glaze, in a bowl, combine the chocolate and butter. Melt over a double-boiler. Bring the cream to a boil. Stir into the melted chocolate. Cool until it reaches glazing consistency. Spread over and around the cake. Chill for another 30 minutes before serving. Serve a slice with whipped cream.


Read more at http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/wolfgangs-sachertorte-recipe.html#!?oc=linkback.