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).
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.
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.