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Sachertorte is a famous Viennese cake flavored with apricot and distinctive smooth chocolate glaze. The word “Sacher” is traditionally written on top of the glazed cake. My attempt at writing did not turn out perfect or exactly centered as it should be, but this is still a rich and delicious dessert.

There are many versions of Sachertorte, some are a one-layer cake with apricot glaze on top, some are two-layer with apricot glaze in the middle. Many versions have whipped egg whites folded into the batter for leavening. I prefer using a chocolate Genoise batter which is light in texture, has a nice chocolate flavor, and is easy to make. Warm apricot glaze is spread between the cake layers and also on top before a shiny covering of chocolate glaze. This cake is best served with a huge dollop of sweetened whipped cream.
Recipe type: Dessert | Chocolate Cake | Genoise cake
Small amount of vegetable shortening and flour for preparing pan
Chocolate Genoise Batter:
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup sifted cake flour
  • ½ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Apricot Glaze:
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ⅔ cup apricot preserves
Boiled Chocolate Icing:
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • 1¼ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ⅔ cup water
Apricot Roses (optional):
  • Dried apricots (about 10, or more if desired)
  • Green spice drops (about 6, or more if desired)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare one 9 inch round springform pan; generously grease the pan with shortening and dust with flour.
Wrap the outside of the pan with a cake strip to help ensure the cake rises evenly. Tip: Make a cake strip with a length of aluminum foil long enough to encircle the pan with a little overlap. Fold the strip lengthwise until it is 2 to 3 inches wide. Wrap the strip around the outside of the pan and secure it with a metal paper clip or tape.
Chocolate Genoise Batter:
  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Or, place the butter in a microwave-safe bowl, use 50% power and heat just until the butter is melted; do not overheat. Set aside to cool.
  2. Sift the cake flour and cocoa together 4 times onto a piece of parchment paper or wax paper. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, use a wire whisk to whisk together the eggs and sugar just until blended. Place the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Heat the egg mixture 3 to 5 minutes, whisking constantly, until the mixture is a deep golden color and warm to the touch, between 110 and 120 degrees, using a candy or instant read thermometer to gauge the temperature.
  4. making-sachertorte-heating-eggs
  5. Remove the bowl from the simmering water and dry the bottom. Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the egg mixture on medium-high speed until cool and the mixture has tripled in volume and is thick and light in color, about 5 to 6 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and add the vanilla. Beat 1 minute longer. Remove the bowl from the mixer.
  6. Place the cocoa and flour into a wire mesh strainer and sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons at a time over the egg mixture. Using a balloon type whisk or large rubber spatula, fold the cocoa/flour into the eggs, using about 3 to 4 turns with each addition of cocoa/flour, and making sure to reach to the bottom of the bowl as you fold. Do not worry about incorporating all the flour until the last addition, as too much handling will deflate the batter. The flour should be added quickly in about 5 to 6 additions.
  7. Before the last addition of cocoa/flour, quickly pour the warm butter in a stream over the batter. Immediately sprinkle in the remaining cocoa/flour mixture, and fold into the batter taking about 12 to 15 more turns to completely incorporate the ingredients, and taking no more than 15 to 20 seconds as the batter can deflate quickly.
  8. Using a rubber spatula, immediately push the batter into the prepared pan. If any butter remains in the bottom of the bowl, do not add to the batter as this could prevent the cake from rising. Smooth the top of the batter with a small offset spatula or the back of a large spoon.
  9. Bake: Tap the pan on the counter to remove air bubbles, and place the pan in the oven. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until the cake is springy to the touch and has completely come away from the sides of the pan. Remove the pan from the oven and let stand 10 minutes on a wire cooling rack. Run a thin sharp knife around the edge of the pan to release the cake. Remove cake from the pan and place on a wire cooling rack to finish cooling. Tip: Lightly grease the cooling rack with vegetable oil or a nonstick cooking spray to prevent the cake from sticking.
Apricot Glaze:
  1. Sugar Syrup: In a small heavy-bottomed pan, combine granulated sugar, water, and lemon juice. Heat over medium-low heat stirring with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until the sugar is completely dissolved. Stir gently to avoid splashing the mixture onto the sides of the pan. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil, without stirring. Boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  2. Apricot: In a separate medium heavy-bottomed pan, add the apricot preserves and stir in the hot sugar syrup. Heat over medium heat, stirring, and bring to a boil. Boil and stir for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Pour hot mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to strain out the solid pieces. Discard solids. Be careful, the apricot mixture is extremely hot and will cause serious burns if you touch it. Set aside.
  1. Use a long serrated kitchen knife to split the cake into 2 horizontal layers. Place the first layer cut side up on a plate or wire rack. Using a pastry brush, brush about ⅓ of the warm apricot glaze over the cake layer. Tip: re-warm the apricot glaze briefly over low heat or in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave if necessary to make apricot glaze spreadable.
  2. Place the second cake layer on top with the cut side down and the flat bottom side up. Brush the remaining warm apricot glaze over the top and sides of the cake. Set aside while preparing the Boiled Chocolate Icing.
Boiled Chocolate Icing:
  1. In a medium heavy-bottomed pan, combine semisweet chocolate, sugar, cocoa, and water. Heat over low heat stirring with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until the sugar is completely dissolved and semisweet chocolate pieces are melted. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches a temperature of 220 degrees F, using a candy or instant read thermometer to gauge the temperature. Remove from the heat.
  2. making-sachertorte-heat-chocolate
  3. Pour the hot icing into a large bowl. Stir icing vigorously with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to cool the icing down to about 90 degrees F. Stirring makes the icing thick and glossy.
  4. Place the cake on a wire rack set over a piece of parchment or wax paper. Pour chocolate icing over the top of the cake letting it flow down over the sides. Use an offset spatula to spread the icing over the top and sides of the cake. Scrape icing drippings off the paper and place into a pastry bag to use later for decoration, if desired.
  5. Use a cake lifter to pick up and move the iced cake onto a cake plate. Let cake stand at room temperature or in a cool place, but not refrigerated, about two hours to let icing set.
  6. After icing has set, pipe the name Sacher over the top of the iced cake using the icing drippings in the pastry bag.
Apricot Roses (optional):
  1. Place one of the dried apricot halves between two pieces of wax paper. Use a rolling pin to roll the apricot to a thin circle. Cut in half. For the center of rose, roll one half-circle into a cone shape. For petals, press as many half-circles around the center as desired, curving the rounded edges outward and overlapping the petals. Press the base of the flower to hold the flower intact, the apricots are normally sticky enough to hold together.
  2. Roll the green spice drops into thin circles to use as leaves.
  3. Place roses and leaves around cake as desired.
Sources: Baking Illustrated, by the editors of Cook's Illustrated, 2004; Teubner, Christian, Cakes & Pastries, Hearst Books, New York, 1983; Better Homes and Gardens, New Baking Book, Meredith Corporation, Iowa, 1998; Maida Heatter's Book of Great Chocolate Desserts, New York, 1980
Recipe Notes
Pan: One 9 inch round springform pan Pan Prep: Greased and Floured Oven Temp: 350° Storage: Cover and room temperature

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