This past summer, we had the incredibly amazing opportunity to spend a month in Vienna with the family . The kids and I tagged along as Katie taught in the BYU Study Abroad program. While there, we got to experience Viennese café culture. If you're interested in learning more, I blogged about it here and here. So many wonderful cafés but simply not enough time and money. We did make it to the most famous cafés, especially the granddaddy of them all, the Hotel Sacher Café. This is where the world reknowned Sachertorte comes from. Since I was spending my 44th birthday in Austria, I knew what my birthday cake HAD to be. And let me tell you, nothing could have been finer! Not only was the Café Sacher beautiful and full of character, the cake lived up to the hype in every way. I really hope our Austria trip wasn't just a once-in-a-lifetime experience and that we get to go back some day.
(Click to enlarge) At the Sacher Hotel for my 44th
birthday. That cheesy grin is my "I'm in Viennese
Confectionery Heaven!" look.
Since our return, Katie has been on a quest to find a Sachtertorte recipe that rivals the original. (Just so you know, the original recipe is a highly guarded secret.) After trying several recipes and doing some modyfing and changing, Katie's done it. When I take a bite of her cake, my mouth is full of joy, and I'm transported back to Philharmonikerstraße 4.
On Saturday, there was a Study Abroad reunion party, and we knew what we had to bring. Katie let me be her sous chef. (This was a shocker. We have quite different cooking styles, and I usually end up annoying her.) This is a recipe that takes some effort, but it's so worth it. If you can't make it over to Vienna to experience it firsthand, try this recipe, this recipe is a darn good second. Take it slow and carefully, and I promise you will win friends and influence people!
Katie's version. Notice the same
cheesy grin? Yep, this cake is good.
- 4 ½ oz. high-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 9 Tbsp. unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Apricot glaze (see below)
- Chocolate glaze (see below)
- Sweetened whipped cream
- Position rack in the center of the oven and heat to 400˚. Lightly butter a 9-in. springform pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Dust the sides of the pan with flour and tap out the excess.
- In the top part of a double boiler over very hot, but not simmering water, or in a microwave at medium power, melt the chocolate. Remove from the heat or the oven, and let stand, stirring often until cool.
- Beat the butter for 1 minute in a stand mixer using a paddle attachment. On low speed, beat in the powdered sugar. Return the speed to medium-high and beat until light in color and texture, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the chocolate and vanilla.
- Beat the egg whites and granulated sugar in a large bowl with a handheld electric mixer on high speed just until they form soft peaks. Do not overbeat. Stir about one fourth of the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whites, leaving a few visible wisps of whites. Sift half of the flour over the chocolate mixture, and fold in with a large balloon whisk or rubber spatula. Repeat with the remaining flour.
- Spread mixture evenly in the pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes (The cake will dome in the center.) Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the sides of the pan, and invert the cake onto the rack. Remove the paper and reinvert on another rack to turn right side up. Cool completely.
- Using a long serrated knife, trim the top of the cake to make it level. Cut the cake horizontally into two equal layers. Place one cake layer on an 8-in. cardboard round. Brush the top of the cake layer with the apricot glaze. Place the second cake layer on top and brush again. Brush the top and sides of the cake with the remaining glaze. Transfer the cake to a wire rack place over a jelly roll pan lined with waxed paper. Let cool until the glaze is set.
- Make the chocolate glaze. Pour all of the warm chocolate glaze on top of the cake. Using a metal offset spatula, gently smooth the glaze over the cake (patch any bare spots with the spatula). Cool until the glaze is barely set, then transfer the cake to a serving plate. Refrigerate until the glaze is completely set, at least 1 hour. Remove the cake from the refrigerator about 1 hour before serving.
- To serve, slice with a sharp knife dipped into hot water, Serve with a large dollop of whipped cream on the side.
- 1 ¼ cups apricot preserves
- 2 Tbsps. Water
Bring the preserves and water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often. Cook stirring often, until the last drops that cling to the spoon are very sticky and reluctant to leave the spoon, 2 to 3 minutes. Use warm.
- ¼ cup butter
- 2 oz. semisweet chocolate
- 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
- 2 tsp. honey
Combine glaze ingredients in a small saucepan; cook and stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Cool slightly.