The mixture of dense chocolate cake, sweet apricot jam and that glossy, chocolate mirror glaze has made the Sachertorte a classic and much-loved dessert. This recipe is from Dodo, Rachel’s brother-in-law. It takes a bit of time, but it’s worth the effort.
150g butter, soft at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
½ vanilla pod
125g icing sugar
6 eggs, separated
125g dark chocolate, (55–62% cocoa solids), roughly chopped
100g caster sugar
150g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
200g apricot jam
whipped cream, to serve
FOR THE CHOCOLATE GLAZE
200g caster sugar
200g chocolate (55–62% cocoa solids), roughly chopped
24cm springform cake tin
Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease the side of the tin, and line the base with baking parchment. Scrape out the seeds from the vanilla pod and put in a large bowl. Add the butter and icing sugar, and cream with a wooden spoon until soft, or use an electric beater on slow. While continually mixing, add the egg yolks one by one to make a thick, creamy paste.
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water, and stirring regularly. Leave to cool.
Use a spatula to scrape out the chocolate into the mixture in the bowl. Stir into the mixture using a wooden spoon, or with the mixer on slow. Set aside and wash the mixer blades for the next step.
Put the egg whites into a clean, grease-free bowl and add the caster sugar. Whisk with an electric beater until they form stiff peaks, or use a food processor. Put the egg white mixture into the first bowl and sift the flour over the top. Gently fold into the ingredients in the bowl using a wooden spoon until fully mixed together.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and gently even it out with the back of a wooden spoon. Bake for 45 minutes, turning the cake half a turn after 30 minutes. It’s ready when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin on a wire rack. Remove from the tin and remove the paper. Carefully transfer to a serving plate or cake stand.
Gently dissolve the apricot jam in a small saucepan over a medium-low heat. Stir the jam and brush a thin layer all over the sides and top, then leave it to absorb into the cake.
Meanwhile, to make the chocolate glaze, put the sugar and 100ml (3¼fl oz) water in a small saucepan over a medium-high heat and bring to the boil. Boil for 5–7 minutes, then leave to cool.
Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of water and melt as before. Once melted, add the sugar syrup a little at a time, constantly stirring with a spatula or wooden spoon. It will try to thicken, so keep stirring and adding the syrup until it has a shiny, slightly thick, liquid appearance.
You need to work quickly at this stage, as the glaze needs to be poured over the cake while still warm. Starting at the edges and working inwards in a circular motion, and using the glaze in the bowl, brush it on to the sides of the cake and level any unevenness on the top with as few movements as possible. Allow the glaze to cool and harden. Serve with cream.
From Home Baking by Rachel Allen, published by HarperCollins, £20
Image credit: © Maja Smend