Today: Sachertorte, a dreamy chocolate cake filled with apricot jam and glazed with chocolate ganache. Our ovens are already preheating.
Sachertorte is an iconic Viennese dessert, created by a young cook named Franz Sacher in the mid-1800s. The Sachertorte is so beloved in Vienna that it even has its own holiday in December—and for good reason. It is rich and chocolatey and coincidentally the perfect kind of dessert to make in these awkward weeks between Winter and Spring. It is made from three main components: chocolate cake, apricot jam, and glossy chocolate glaze. If you keep a well-stocked pantry, you likely have all the ingredients to make it already.
To make this Sachertorte, start with a very lightly spiced chocolate cake that, due to a generous amount of eggs, has a mousse-like texture. The cake is then soaked with rum-laced syrup and filled with apricot jam. You’ll want to use smooth jam here, rather than chunky preserves, to make sure the jam really soaks into the cake layers. If preserves are what you stock in your pantry, just give them a quick blitz in the food processor to remove any large bits of fruit and skin before filling the cake.
After the cake gets syrup and jam, the whole thing is bathed in bittersweet chocolate ganache. This cake keeps well in the fridge and is actually better on the second day, so feel free to make it a day before you’d like to serve it.
Makes one 9-inch cake
For the cake:
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup cake flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
4 large eggs, separated
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
For the rum syrup, filling, and glaze:
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons rum
1 cup apricot jam
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 325° F. Butter a 9-inch cake pan with high sides and line it with a round of parchment paper. Butter the paper, then dust the parchment and sides of the pan with flour. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a double boiler or microwave, melt the chopped chocolate over low heat until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
Whisk the flour, salt, and cinnamon together in a small bowl.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, or in a bowl with a handheld mixer, cream the butter and confectioners’ sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the 5 egg yolks one at a time, beating after each addition until smooth. Beat in the melted chocolate.
In a clean bowl, with clean beaters, whip the egg whites on medium high speed, until foamy and thickened. Slowly stream in the granulated sugar and beat until the whites hold soft peaks.
Stir 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remaining whites. Fold in the flour mixture.
Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan, and bake the cake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 20 minutes, then carefully turn the cake out onto a rack to cool completely. While the cake cools, prepare the syrup.
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Cook over medium high heat until all of the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature. Stir in the rum.
To assemble the cake: Use a serrated knife to carefully split the completely cooled cake into two layers. Place the top layer of the cake, cut side up, onto a cooling rack. Generously brush the cake with the rum syrup, then spread 1/2 cup of apricot jam over the top. Brush the cut side of the other layer of cake with syrup, then place it on top of the jam, cut side down. Spread the remaining jam over the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
While the cake is in the fridge, make the glaze. Heat the chocolate and butter together in a double boiler or microwave until completely melted and smooth. Heat the heavy cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan until just simmering. Whisk the cream into the chocolate mixture until smooth.
To glaze the cake: Place the cake on a rack on top of the parchment-lined baking sheet. Pour the glaze over the top and use an offset spatula to smooth the top. Gently tap the pan to remove excess glaze from the sides of the cake. Move the cake, on the rack, to the refrigerator. Cool until the glaze is set, about 10 minutes.
Use a wide, flat spatula to move the cake to a serving platter. Cut into slices and serve.
Photos by Yossy Arefi