It’s week two of Austria, and this time I’ve made Sachertorte.
Sachertorte has a surprisingly controversial history. It’s not every day you hear about a cake that had legal battles over it. I looked at two different recipes before I made my Sachertorte, and it wasn’t until Oscar and I were talking about cutting in half and putting apricot jam in the middle, that I realised the recipe I’d ended up using didn’t actually call for cutting it in half at all.
For those of you who aren’t up on the history of the Sachertorte, there are two versions. The son (Eduard) of the guy who created Sachertorte (Franz Sacher) perfected his father’s recipe when he was working at the Demel bakery in Vienna, but then a few years later he went and opened the Hotel Sacher, where they served Sachertorte too. A while after he died, there was a big old legal battle over who had the ‘original’ Sachertorte. As far as I can tell the main difference is that one has apricot jam between the cake and icing (Demel), and the other has a layer of apricot jam in the middle of the cake (Hotel). Eventually (after seven years, I kid you not), they finally decided that the Hotel Sacher could call theirs the ‘original Sacher Torte’, and the Demel bakery got to call theirs the ‘Eduard-Sacher-Torte’.
Technically I made the ‘Eduard-Sacher-Torte’, although I don’t think mine looks anything like the real deal. I lack the finesse to make my icing perfectly smooth. Maybe a few more attempts and the purchase of a palette knife and I’ll get there.
It has made me want to go to Vienna to try both original Sachertortes though, so I might be travelling my way around some of Europe as well as baking my way around it. The Brexit news of this week is that apparently our economy is going to stop growing if we go hard Brexit, or even if we go the Norway-style EEA route it will still shrink. So maybe I’ll just stay in Europe and leave the UK to do whatever it’s going to do to get out of the hole it has created for itself.
Next week, we go to the heart of the EU, to the place that has apparently stolen all our legislative freedom – Belgium!
This post is part of a series called ‘Brexit Baking’, where I bake my way around all 28 EU Member States. You can read more about it here.
Sachertorte (from Nigel Slater)
175g dark chocolate
150g caster sugar
6 eggs (separated)
140g plain flour
150g apricot jam – sieved
for the chocolate icing:
250g dark chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line the base of a 22cm round tin. Break the chocolate into a heat-proof bowl and melt it over a pan of boiling water.
- Cream the butter and the sugar together until light and fluffy – approx 8-10 minutes in the food mixer at a moderate speed.
- Separate the eggs, then, when the sugar and butter are fluffy, beat the egg yolks in one at a time. Gently stir in the melted chocolate. Add the flour, stirring carefully but firmly until combined.
- Whisk the egg whites until they keep their shape, but don’t quite sit in stiff peaks. Fold them carefully, into the chocolate mixture. Add a little of the chocolate mixture to the eggs first, then slowly incorporate the rest. It is a job for a gentle hand, and you need to take your time and do it thoroughly.
- Scrape the mixture into the tin and bake for about 50 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a metal skewer into the centre: it should come out moist but without any uncooked cake mixture on it. Run a palette knife around the edge of the cake and turn it upside down on to a cooling rack. Leave to cool.
- Melt the apricot jam in a small saucepan. If it has large lumps of fruit then it is traditional to sieve it, so that you can get a thin enough layer on top. Pour over the cake, smoothing over the top and sides.
- To make the icing, break the chocolate into squares in a heat-proof glass bowl and let it warm over a small saucepan containing simmering water. Don’t stir the chocolate, but turn off the heat after a couple of minutes. Stir in the butter in small pieces. Pour the chocolate frosting over the apricot glaze and leave to set.