The Mysteries of Sachertorte

When I was young I had the fortune of a father who worked for IBM and travelled a fair amount to Europe. Our family would get to tag along some times, turning otherwise lonely business trips into fun-filled family vacations! In the summer of 1986 when I was just 9 years old we took a month-long road trip through 7 different countries: Germany, Austria, Yugoslavia, Italy, France, Monaco, and Switzerland. One of my many memories of that trip is our stop at Hotel Sacher in Vienna, Austria. I remember my dad telling me that this was the home of the Sachertorte, a chocolate cake with a secret recipe that only the hotel pastry chef knew. One of the ingredients was allegedly apricots — APRICOTS! Brilliant! Of course this mystery left an indelible impression on my young mind (more so than the actual cake, which I can only vaguely remember eating).

Sachertorte Towers

Sachertorte Towers

I’ve begun to realize my 101 Things List is frequently about reliving bits of my past, and making Sachertorte is no different. When I saw that jar of apricot preserves left over from Amanda’s cherry-apricot tart, the planets came into quick alignment and the final phase of my quest began. A quick google search turned up the venerable Wolfgang Puck’s Sachertorte Recipe.

A Slice of Sachertorte

A Slice of Sachertorte

I don’t actually like making cakes all that much. Usually it’s a lot of frustrating mixing, separating, and folding for something that turns out denser and uglier than what you can buy. This one wasn’t too bad. The recipe used a lot of chocolate melted over a double boiler, both for the cake proper as well as the glaze. The only thing that went mildly wrong is that I didn’t combine the flour enough so there were crunchy white bits in the cake. The apricot preserves went between layers and also on the outside, so it had a lot of good flavor. Even though it doesn’t look pretty,  it did turn out tasty and I’m proud to have recreated Sachertorte.

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