A few of my favourite things..........
Last month I was lucky enough to go and see "The Sound of Music" at the Open Air Theatre in Regents Park with my sisters, niece and my Dad - all part of his ongoing summer celebrations for his 80th birthday. This trip inspired me to make the famous Austrian dessert, the Sacher Torte. Dating back to 1832, this is a rich chocolate cake with apricot jam sandwiched between the two layers and covered with a chocolate ganache/icing.
"The Sound of Music" has always been one of my favourite films of all time. My sister and I saw this film so many times when we were small that we could have easily toured the world putting on our own two person production and would have had a marvellous time! (I would have been the Captain, she Maria, me Gretel and she Marta, me the Baroness and she the Reverend Mother - I could go on but I'm sure you get the picture!)
This is a very simple version of the Sacher Torte. Normally Sacher Torte recipes involve separating the eggs but as you will see from my recipe below, the eggs are added whole, making it a much easier recipe. The cake is deliciously soft and spongy, so do take care when slicing it in half in order to avoid a cake casualty!
My Dad actually has an Austrian friend who tried a slice and his verdict was that the "cake was good, nearly like back home"
So please, no more tea with jam and bread - try and make this Sacher Torte instead!
The first few ingredients happen to be.......
150g unsalted butter
150g dark chocolate
150g brown sugar
3 large eggs
160g self raising flour
50g ground almonds or walnuts
1tspn ground cinnamon
100g apricot warmed and strained
For the ganache:
125ml whipping cream
50g unsalted butter
125g dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
Grease and line a 23cm/9 inch round cake tin and preheat your oven to 160 degrees centigrade.
Melt the chocolate by either placing a bowl over a pan of simmering water or by melting it in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds each time. Set the chocolate aside to cool slightly.
Sift the flour, ground almonds and cinnamon.
Cream the butter and sugar for 2 to 3 minutes in a mixer on a medium speed until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next egg.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, almonds and cinnamon mix.
Lastly stir in the chocolate.
Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool in the tin for a few minutes before transferring it onto a wire rack.
When the cake has cooled, slice it in half. Now you can either do this free hand or use a wire cake cutter (I used the latter). Please see the *Note below if you would prefer not to halve the cake.
Warm the apricot jam and strain it (I warmed mine in the microwave) and spread it over one of the cake halves. Then cover with the other cake half.
To make the ganache, simply place all the ingredients in a small pan and stir continuously until the butter and chocolate has melted. (This may look like a mess but it will smooth out and become a beautiful shiny ganache)
Lay a piece of baking parchment on the counter and place the cake, still on its wire rack, on the parchment. Slowly pour the ganache all over the cake.
My ganache set at room temperature but if yours looks like it is having trouble setting, then refrigerate it until set.
Until the next post, so long farewell, auf weidersehen, goodbye.................
If you would prefer not to halve the cake for whatever reason, I would simply increase the apricot jam quantity to 300g and warm and strain it in the same way as above. Then brush the jam all over the top and sides of the cake and complete the ganache stage as above.