This cake is not the usual fluffy, soft-crumbed, moist, birthday cake I am used to. It has much more complexity, density... and flavor, if we're being honest.
In researching this cake I came across a fun (if rather dated) series by Epicurious: Around the World in 80 Dishes. Watching some of these videos definitely made me question the fashion sensibilities of the early 90s... but also made me realize that there are so many treasure troves on the internet, in my local library, on my very own bookshelf. I will never have enough time in my lifetime to try all the dishes I have thumbed through and pinned and drooled over, but I am sure going to try!
Sachertorte is meant to be served with a large dollop of freshly whipped unsweetened heavy cream. It really does wonders for the cake. You may not think of heavy whiping cream as something that "lightens" a dish, but the unsweetened and fluffy deliciousness perfectly pairs with the dense, chocolatey, sweet Sachertorte.
Adapted from Epicurious
4 1/2 ounces high-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups apricot preserves
2 tablespoons golden rum or water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
4 ounces high-quality bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
Whipped Cream , for serving
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly butter a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Dust the sides of the pan with flour and tap out the excess.
2. In the top part of a double boiler or metal bowl over a saucepan of just-boiling water, melt the chocolate. Remove from the heat, and let stand, stirring often, until cool.
3. Beat the butter on medium high speed in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until smooth, about 1 minute. Turn off, add confectioner’s sugar and mix to combine on low speed. Return the speed to medium-high and beat until light in color and texture, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Mix in the melted chocolate and vanilla.
4. In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites and granulated sugar with a handheld electric mixer on high speed just until they form soft peaks. Do not overbeat.
5. Stir about one fourth of the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whites, leaving a few visible streaks of whites. Sift half of the flour over the chocolate mixture, and fold in with a rubber spatula. Repeat with the remaining flour.
6. Spread evenly in the pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35-45 minutes. (The cake will dome in the center, but it will flatten when cooled.) Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the sides of the pan, and invert the cake onto the rack. Remove the paper and reinvert on another rack to turn right side up. Cool completely.
7. Make the apricot glaze:
-Combine the preserves and rum (or water) in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring often. Cook, continuing to stir often, 2 to 3 minutes.
-Strain into a small bowl. Set aside.
8. To assemble: Using a long serrated knife, cut the cake horizontally into two equal layers. If the dome has not flattened, you can also trim off the dome to make the top flat. Place one cake layer on a cooling rack. Brush the top of the cake layer with the apricot glaze. Place the second cake layer on top and brush again. Brush the top and sides of the cake with the remaining glaze. Keep the cake on the wire rack and place over a large piece of parchment or waxed paper. Let cool until the glaze is set.
9. Make the chocolate glaze:
-In a heavy-bottomed small saucepan bring the sugar, water, and chocolate to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Attach a candy thermometer to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, stirring, until the mixture reaches 234°F., about 5 minutes.
-Remove from the heat and stir to cool and thicken slightly, about 1 minute. Use immediately. Note: when pouring, do not scrape the pan.
Pour all of the warm chocolate glaze on top of the cake, being sure that the glaze completely coats the cake. Cool until the glaze is barely set, then transfer the cake to a serving plate. Refrigerate until the glaze is completely set, at least 1 hour. Remove the cake from the refrigerator about 1 hour before serving.
10. To serve, slice with a sharp knife dipped into hot water. Serve with a large dollop of unsweetened whipped cream on the side.