A Sachertorte is a chocolate cake invented by Franz Sacher in 1832 in Vienna, Austria, for Prince Wenzel von Metternich. Sacher was the 16-year-old apprentice to the Prince's chef, who had to step in when the chef fell ill one day, and invented this cake. Not bad for a teenager! Later Sacher's eldest son Edward opened a hotel and the cake was a speciality of the Hotel Sacher.
According to Wikipedia and other websites, December 5 is National Sachertorte Day - presumably in Austria, though it doesn't say. I didn't know that, but it's perfect timing for this blog post!
I hit upon the idea as soon as I saw Ros had randomly selected the letter S for this month's Alphabakes (a slightly easier letter for those of you who grumbled good-naturedly about J last month!). I've never eaten a Sachertorte before, let alone made one, and while I've spent a lot of time in Germany (including living there twice), I've never been to Austria. So I wasn't sure what this was supposed to taste or even really look like, though I knew that the cake always has the name "Sacher" piped on top in a scrolling script.
I found a recipe on the BBC Food website which is by Mary Berry - though strangely there wasn't a picture so I had to look it up separately on Google Images to check what it was meant to look like!
140g plain chocolate
140g butter, softened
115g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
5 eggs, separated
85g ground almonds
55g plain flour
For the icing:
6 tbsp apricot jam, sieved
140g plain chocolate
200ml double cream
25g milk chocolate to pipe the word Sacher - though I used ready made chocolate piping icing.
Melt the chocolate in a bain marie or, as I did, in a microwave.
Beat the butter until soft then gradually add in the sugar - this is a cinch in a Kitchenaid.
Add the vanilla extract - it came out of the bottle much faster than I expected so I used a little too much!
Add the melted chocolate and beat again.
Separate the eggs and add the yolks
Fold in the ground almonds and the flour
Mix again - the mixture will be quite thick at this point
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff.
Fold in a third of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture, then fold in the rest.
Pour the mixture into the greased and lined tin. Bake for about 45 mins.
Pass the jam through a sieve so it is totally smooth, then heat it in a small pan. When it's fairly runny, use a pastry brush to spread over the top and sides of the cake.
To make the ganache, melt the chocolate in a pan with the double cream
It will become thick but still runny
Allow to cool a little, then spread over the top and sides of the cake and leave to set
To pipe the word 'Sacher' on top I melted some milk chocolate and put it in a piping bag with a very fine nozzle - but the chocolate was too thick to come out of the nozzle! Has anyone tried piping actual chocolate before and can give me any advice? Instead I decided to use this pouch of chocolate-flavoured designer icing from Dr. Oetker, but as I've said before, for the life of me I can't work out how to get the piping nozzle to stay on. Like last time, I had to hold it in place with one hand while I squeezed the icing bag with the other - not ideal but it did work!
I tried to copy the handwriting style that is traditionally used on Sachertorte; this isn't quite perfect but I was happy with it.
The finished cake. It was quite a dense texture but lovely and chocolatey, and the ganache on top was excellent.
I'm sending this to Alphabakes, the blogging challenge I co-host with Ros of The More Than Occasional Baker, as the letter she randomly selected this month is S. We've got a prize this month so it's definitely worth entering!
I'm also sending this to Tea Time Treats, hosted by Karen of Lavender and Lovage and Kate of What Kate Baked, as their theme this month is chocolate.