The Sachertorte is a classic European dessert featuring chocolate cake brushed with apricot jam and then glazed with more chocolate! Grab a slice and a mug of coffee or tea for dessert tonight!
I love to read. Even as a little boy, you could always find me wandering around with a book in my hand. I liked to wake up and read at 5am…I was a weird kid. Sometimes it was a Calvin and Hobbes comic book. Sometimes it was one of the many Hardy Boys books that my Dad would read to me. By middle school, I remember reading Stephen King’s The Shining. I used to love those creepy Stephen King books! As I said, I was a weird kid! But one of my favorite authors has always been John Grisham. I really enjoy a good legal thriller, and I even got the chance to meet him at a cocktail party back when I was in the high school.
My parents always said I would make a good lawyer. I’m not sure if that’s because I loved legal thriller books, or whether it was because I could argue with a wall. In fact, for years, I just assumed I would eventually go to law school after college. That path turned a different direction, and I spent a number of years working in higher education and college athletics. But I digress. Back to law.
If you’ve spent much time in law (either as a lawyer…or watching Law and Order…or reading John Grisham books), then you’re probably familiar with tort law. Tort law is the concept that people are held legally responsible for their actions if those actions cause harm to another person. Separate from criminal proceedings, tort law is used as the basis for civil lawsuits. But this isn’t a post about tort law. It’s a post about torte law.
You see, back in the mid-1900’s, the Hotel Sacher in Vienna sued the Demel Bakery (also in Vienna) over the term “the original Sachertorte.” The bakery owner’s father father had developed the now famous Sachertorte while he was an apprentice in the Hotel Sacher’s kitchens. Over the years, his son fine-tuned the recipe and then began selling it from his bakery. Of course, the Hotel Sacher wasn’t too pleased, and a nasty legal fight ensued. A legal fight over cake!
In the end, a settlement was reached which gave the hotel the rights to the term “original Sachertorte,” and the hotel makes thousands of these tortes a year. (Indeed, you can order a Sachertorte directly from the Hotel Sacher for roughly $50-100 plus shipping depending on size.) But I’ve always been one of those people that sees food and wonders if I can recreate it at home. Delicious artisan bread at the grocery store? I immediately want to go home and try to replicate it. Tasty soup at a place like Panera? I immediately want to go home and try to replicate it. So it should come as no surprise that I wanted to replicate the Sachertorte here at home.
The Sachertorte is a delicious cake. Experienced bakers will note the extremely high number of eggs and small amount of flour. But trust me here. It works. And it’s tasty! Of course, this isn’t the actual recipe for the original Sachertorte…the Hotel Sacher guards that recipe secretly. (Heck, they should after they spend years battling it out for the rights to the name!) Supposedly the key to the original Sachertorte is a blend of 3 different Belgian chocolates that are melted to create the glaze on top. I simply used good quality semisweet chocolate, and I was quite pleased with the result.
Another unique feature of the Sachertorte is the apricot jam which gets brushed between the layers as well as on top of the cake before adding the glaze. I’ve always found European cakes to be less sweet than their American counterparts, and the Sachertorte is no different. It’s a delicious cake, but it’s not as sweet as most American desserts. As a result, the apricot jam really shines and brings a noticeable flavor to each bite. Laura and I each enjoyed a slice (or maybe two) of this cake, and then I sent the leftovers in for her coworkers. If you love making desserts, then give the Sachertorte a try. It’s a fancy dessert, but it’s not nearly as hard to make as you might think! Cheers and enjoy!