Sacher Torte is named after the Sacher Hotel in Vienna, where it was created. A rich chocolate sponge cake is covered in apricot jam and then enrobed with a shiny chocolate glaze.
Chocolate Glaze and Assembly
Makes 1 9-inch (23 cm) torteThe cake will keep for up to 4 days, refrigerated, but it can also sit out at room temperature for a few hours and is best enjoyed at room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 325 ºF (160 ºC). Grease and line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper.
Melt the chocolate in a metal bowl placed over a pot of barely simmering water, stirring gently until melted. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Using electric beaters or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and icing sugar on medium-low speed until smooth. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and beat on medium speed, scraping down the bowl as needed. While mixing on medium speed, beat in the melted chocolate. In a separate bowl, sift in the flour and salt and set aside.
In a separate or clean bowl, whip the egg whites on high speed until they are foamy and then slowly pour in the sugar while mixing, continuing to whip until the whites hold a soft peak when the beaters are lifted. Fold in the whites in 3 additions, alternating with the flour and starting with the egg whites, folding until evenly incorporated. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread to level. Bake the cake for 50-60 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Don’t worry if you see a crust form on the top of the cake, or if it domes a little – it will settle once it cools, and the crust actually makes a good base for the cake (since it will become the bottom of the cake.)
To start assembling the cake, remove it from the pan and place it upside down onto a cake board (or if you don’t have one, use the clean base from your springform pan.) Use a serrated knife to cut the cake in half horizontally. If you are using apricot jam with pieces of fruit visible, puree the jam to make it smooth and spreadable. Spread an even layer of jam on the top of the bottom layer and cover with the top layer. Cover the top and sides of the cake with the jam, taking time to make sure it is smooth (this way the glaze will go on smoothly.) Chill the cake for about an hour before glazing.
For the glaze, bring the sugar, water and chocolate up to a full boil in a medium saucepan over high heat, whisking at first and then stirring constantly until it reaches 232 ºF (111 ºC) on a candy thermometer. Remove the pan from the heat and let the glaze cool for 2 minutes.
Place the cake on a cooling rack that is resting over a parchment-lined baking tray. Pour the hot glaze over the cake starting at the centre and letting it flows to the edges and over – Keep the glaze flowing and pour over the edges to make sure any bare spots are covered – do not use a palette knife to spread. The glaze will set quickly. Let this set and then chill until ready to serve or decorate. The extra glaze (dripped under the cake) can be scooped up and re-melted for piping details after the cake has set. It is classic to write “Sacher” in cursive writing on the torte, but feel free to decorate as you wish.