Sacher Torte Day is observed annually on December 5.
Sacher Torte, also known as Sachertorte, is one of Austria’s most famous confections. It is a type of chocolate cake (or torte) that was invented by a sixteen-year-old apprentice chef, Franz Sacher, in 1832.
The BBC explains that it was invented on a day that the chef to the chancellor, Prince Wensel Metternich, fell ill. Franz Sacher was called upon to create a dessert that would not disappoint the prince and he was quite successful.
The Hotel Sacher in Vienna was founded by Franz Sacher’s son, Eduard, and they claim to follow the original recipe they keep in a safe.
Nevertheless, the Hotel Sacher spent years in court fighting for its claim that it makes the original Sachertorte. Cafe Demel, another famous Viennese pastry-maker, is its chief rival, and continues to make its own Sachertorte even though the Hotel Sacher eventually prevailed in court.
So what is so great about sachertorte?
Sachertorte is a dense chocolate cake in two layers, separated by apricot jam (but you can use raspberry, just sayin) and coated in chocolate icing. We actually went to the Hotel Sacher in Vienna just to try the cake and were sort of appalled to discover we didn’t like it much. It seemed dry, and hardly seemed “chocolatey” at all. I was amused to see that the BBC reporter thought the same, opining that “Sachertorte looks better than it tastes.”
But I have found American recipes for it that are much better – presumably they up the volume on sugar and chocolate, enhancing the chocolatey-ness and moistness.
The recipe on the King Arthur website is here. Although I have not tried this one, generally King Arthur is excellent.
This other version of the recipe from Food and Wine version is a bit different, adding rum and extra preserves. It also calls for topping the finished torte with whipped cream just in case you need even more “moisture.”
Happy National Sacher Torte Day!!