Slice & Sacher Torte

Ahhhh the traditional Sacher Torte (featured in Episode 3).  This dessert holds a special place in my heart.  First of all, it was the first (unofficial) Slice & Torte collaboration.  Sherród and I made this during our Freshman year at William & Mary.  Let me tell you....this was not meant to be made in a dorm kitchen.  There was chocolate everywhere and it took us all day (because we were unorganized and easily distracted back then).  But it was so worth it.

The Sacher Torte presents a great pairing between chocolate and apricots.  The cake is flavorful and moist, and the sweetness of the apricot deserves balances the bitterness from the chocolate. Plus, anything that's covered in ganache has to be amazing, right?

Yields 1 9-inch cake.

Ingredients:

  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks salted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 3/4 cup apricot preserves (divided into 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup)
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 7 tablespoons apricot brandy or rum (divided, 3+4)
  • 10 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • Cocoa powder for dusting pans
  • Pulled sugar hazelnut spikes (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Grease a 9-inch springform pan with either butter or shortening and dust with cocoa powder.  I like to use cocoa powder with chocolate cakes, but if you don't have any on hand, feel free to use a little all-purpose flour.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together both flours and the kosher salt.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar until light an fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.  Add the egg yolks and continue to mix until combined.
  3. Using a double boiler or microwave, melt the bittersweet chocolate.  If you use the microwave method, be very careful not to burn the chocolate...it's very easy to do.  Let cool slightly, and add to butter/sugar/yolk mixture until well combined.
  4. Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture and beat for about 1 minute, until all ingredients are well mixed in.
  5. In a separate large bowl, using an electric mixer, whip the egg whites at a high speed until soft peaks form.  Once complete, beat in 1/4 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.
  6. Using a spatula, gently fold in the remaining egg whites until no streaks remain.
  7. Pour batter into prepared pan, making sure it is evenly distributed.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
  8. Let cake cool for approximately 30 minutes before inverting and removing the outer ring of the pan.  Let cake cool completely.
  9. Once the cake has cooled completely, level off the top, if needed, and divide the cake into 2 halves horizontally (you could choose to do 3 layers if you want, but I went with 2).
  10. In a small saucepan, combine and heat 1/4 cup apricot preserves with 3 tablespoons apricot brandy or rum.  Stir with a whisk and heat until the preserves have melted and the glaze is smooth.
  11. Place bottom layer of cake over a wire rack on a baking sheet.  Use the preserve-brandy mixture and a brush to glaze the inside (cut side) of both halves of the cake.  Once completely covered, evenly spread the remains 1/2 cup of apricot preserves on the bottom layer of the cake.  
  12. Top with remaining cake layer and coat entire cake (top and sides) with the remaining glaze.  Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to set.
  13. While the cake is setting, heat the corn syrup and remaining apricot brandy in a  medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook for about 1 minute.  Remove from heat.
  14. Put the semisweet chocolate into a heatproof bowl and pour hot corn syrup-brandy mixture on top.  Let stand until melted and then whisk until smooth.  Add the heavy cream and whisk until well combined and the ganache is easily pourable.
  15. Pour ganache over cake and use an offset spatula to smooth the top and sides if necessary.  Refrigerate for at least 20-30 minutes in order for the ganache to set.
  16. Decorate with pulled sugar hazelnut spikes (optional) and enjoy (not optional)!