In this version of the classic Viennese Sacher torte, from Luisa Weiss's cookbook "Classic German Baking," two dense chocolate cake layers are filled and topped with rum-scented apricot jam, then coated in a fudgelike chocolate glaze. Making a perfect Sacher torte with a level top and pristine shiny icing takes patience and precision. But don’t let that discourage you from having a go. Even if the glaze is slightly smudged and the top a bit askew, it will still taste delicious, and there are few cakes as richly satisfying as this. You can make a Sacher torte up to 3 days before serving. Store it under a cake dome or loosely covered, at room temperature. (Update: Some readers were having trouble with the glaze seizing in the original recipe. Luisa Weiss retested it, and we made some updates to the recipe that should clear it up.)
- Serves: 8 persons
- 8 ½tablespoons/120 grams unsalted butter (1 stick plus 1/2 tablespoon), more for greasing pan
- ½cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons/80 grams cake flour, more for flouring pan
- 1cup/120 grams bittersweet chocolate (minimum 50 percent cacao)
- 6large eggs, yolks and whites separated
- ¾cup plus 1 tablespoon/100 grams confectioners’ sugar
- ¼teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅓cup plus 1 tablespoon/80 grams granulated sugar
- ¼cup plus 1 teaspoon/40 grams cornstarch
- 1cup/300 grams apricot jam
- 2tablespoons dark rum
- 1cup/200 grams granulated sugar
- 1 ¼cups/150 grams bittersweet chocolate (minimum 50 percent cacao), chopped
- ½cup/120 milliliters water
Step 1Place a baking sheet in the oven and heat it to 350 degrees. Line bottom of a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper. Butter and lightly flour sides of the pan.
Step 2Make the cake: Place chocolate and butter in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water and melt, stirring, until smooth. Set aside.
Step 3Place egg yolks in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Place whites in a separate, clean bowl.
Step 4Add confectioners’ sugar to yolks and whip together until fluffy, creamy and pale, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on, slowly drizzle in the melted chocolate and butter, and beat until fluffy and incorporated.
Step 5Add salt to the bowl of egg whites and start beating them with a whisk or electric mixer. When whites show soft peaks, slowly add granulated sugar as you continue to beat. Do this until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are stiff and glossy.
Step 6In a separate bowl, sift together flour and cornstarch.
Step 7Fold a third of the flour mixture into egg yolk mixture. Fold a third of the egg whites into egg yolk mixture. Repeat two more times, alternating flour mixture and then egg whites, until no white streaks remain.
Step 8Gently scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Place on baking sheet in oven and wedge the handle of a wooden spoon in the oven door. Bake for 10 minutes and then remove spoon. Lower heat to 275 degrees, and bake for 40 to 45 minutes longer, or until a tester inserted into the cake's center comes out clean.
Step 9Place cake pan on a rack for 10 minutes to cool, then invert cake, remove pan and peel off parchment paper. Let cake cool completely upside down. Once cooled, slice it in half horizontally into two layers. Place rack over a piece of parchment paper and move top half of cake to a large plate.
Step 10Make the filling: Place jam and rum in a small pan, bring to a boil and continue to boil for a minute or two. Push apricot mixture through a sieve to get a smooth consistency. Let cool, then spread half of the mixture evenly on the bottom cake layer. Place second layer on top of the jam and press down slightly. Spread remaining jam over top and sides of cake. Let cool completely.
Step 11Make the glaze: Place the sugar, water, and chocolate in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Boil, stirring frequently, until the glaze reaches 230°F/110°C, about 5 minutes. The mixture will be smooth, glossy, and pourable and will coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and let stand just until the bubbles die down.
Step 12Slowly pour warm chocolate glaze evenly all over cake, letting excess drip down sides. Avoid using a spatula to spread glaze: It will stay glossiest if not touched. Reserve a little glaze in the pan to pour over any uncoated patches on the sides so that entire cake is coated. Gently wedge two spatulas under cake to transfer it to a serving plate. Let glaze set completely before cutting and serving.