The classic Sacher Torte is made with chocolate cake layers, apricot preserves and a shiny chocolate-glaze finish. It’s a lovely cake fit for any occasion.
For my first job fresh out of pastry school, I worked for a well know Austrian pastry chef at his wholesale bakery. The guy was old-school with very strict standards and he maintained a pretty intense work environment. I will say though, I learned more during the year I worked for him than I did in pastry school. By the time I left that job I could ice a cake in 30 seconds, all while working cleanly and efficiently.
Though he was a harsh task master, the recipes I got from the Austrian pastry chef are rock solid. More than 25 years later I still use them. Sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error to translate one of those recipes for home baking.
I’ve had the classic Sacher Torte on my list of post ideas for quite some time. I finally looked up the recipe in my old book so I could share it with you.
I jumped right in, figuring the cake would turn out perfectly since I already knew this recipe and had scaled down the ingredients years ago.
After baking, decorating, slicing and photographing the cake I took a taste. It seemed a little dry to me. This is a different kind of cake from the usual rich butter cakes filled with buttercream. But still, I wasn’t happy with it and knew it could be better.
I waited a day and tasted the cake again. It was a little better. I think the preserves had a chance to absorb into the cake, making it a little softer. But I still wasn’t satisfied.
As we learned in the Science of Cake Batter Series, a cake batter has structure builders and tenderizers. Since the Sacher cake was a little dry, I needed to up the tenderizers and reduce the structure builders. Sugar is a tenderizer, so I increased the sugar from 3/4 cup in the original recipe to a full cup. I reduced the eggs (structure builder) from 9 to 8 and reduced the other structure builder (flour) from 1 1/4 cups to 1 cup.
That did the trick. This cake still has the classic taste and texture of a true Sacher Torte, but is a little softer. I do like the cake better after a day or two when the preserves have had time to absorb into the cake. Which means, of course, that this is a great recipe to make ahead.
Click through the slider to see how to make a classic Sacher Torte:
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