Sacher Torte - from Vienna with love

Sacher torte

Sachertorte (pronounced zacker torte) is the famous traditional Viennese chocolate cake invented by a 16 year old apprentice, Franz Sacher in 1832 and now served at the Sacher Hotel named after him. Their recipe is secret, but there are many other versions, and this is one of them. Don’t forget to serve with whipped cream, preferably while listening to music by one of the many composers who made Vienna their home. Mozart anyone?


175g dark chocolate

150g butter

150g caster sugar

6 large eggs

140g plain flour

for the glaze:

150g apricot jam - sieved

for the chocolate icing:

250g dark chocolate

60g butter


Turn the oven at 180C. Line the base of a 22cm round cake tin with baking paper and grease the sides Put the chocolate into a heat-proof bowl and melt it over a pan of boiling water.

Cream the butter and two-thirds of the sugar together till very light and fluffy - its easiest if you have a stand mixer.

Separate the eggs, then, when the sugar and butter are white and fluffy, beat the egg yolks in one at a time. Gently stir in the melted chocolate. Add the sieved flour, folding it in until it is all combined.

Whisk the egg whites till firm, then stir in the remaining 50g of sugar a spoonful at a time. Fold them carefully, lightly, into the chocolate mixture until it is well mixed

Scrape the cake mixture into the lined cake 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 sieve it, so that you can get a thin enough layer on top. Pour over the cake, smoothing over the top and sides with a palette knife.

To make the chocolate 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 icing over the apricot glaze and leave to set.

If you feel inclined, write Sacher on the cake with a fine piping nozzle and some of the melted chocolate.

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