Thursday, 20 October 2011

Sachertorte

Recipe Number One Hundred & Six: Page 154

My Baking Bible is very well thumbed by now; almost every day I have a flick through. During my many searches I often come across the Sachertorte. Each time I question if I am yet brave enough to attempt it. The idea of 'writing' 'Sacher' across the top of the cake with melted chocolate sends a shiver down my spine; it puts me off every time! However, after watching the contestants on the Bake Off make a Sachertorte, I felt sufficiently encouraged to have a go. It was reassuring to know I wasn't the only one terrified by the concept! As it is rather a special cake, I felt I needed a special occasion to warrant making it. I decided our wedding anniversary was as good a time as any!

As luck would have it I already had most of the required ingredients. I just needed to buy a large quantity of plain chocolate. I couldn't believe how difficult it was to find plain chocolate with 39% cocoa. I pushed my little boy’s pram around several of the larger stores in the nearby town and couldn't find any that weren't 70 or 80%, which would perhaps have been far too rich. Isaac obviously would have preferred me to buy some Kit Kat Chunkies as he whipped a pack of eight off the shelves; the boy has good taste! Eventually, after nearly giving up hope, we found some value plain chocolate which fitted the bill and it was only 35p per 100g, bargain!

Mary mentions at the head of the recipe that the Sachertorte improves if left a day or two before cutting so, with this in mind, I decided to make the cake the night before icing. I don't know why I imagined I would feel like making a tricky cake late in the evening. I hadn't anticipated how weary I would feel after cooking dinner etc.. I didn't get to start the cake until after 9pm! First of all I needed to melt some chocolate over a pan of hot water. To wake myself up, I indulged in a square of chocolate; it didn't work, so I was forced to have another! Even though I had left the butter out of the fridge all afternoon to soften, Mary wasn't satisfied by this as I had to beat it in a bowl until REALLY soft! Unusually, I didn't follow the all in one method which I love. Instead, I had to cream the butter and some sugar together until light and fluffy before stirring in the cooled chocolate and vanilla extract. I very nearly didn't add the correct number of eggs; I read it as three not five. Wow, five eggs is a lot. This was certainly going to be a rich cake. I needed to separate the eggs. With my first separation the shell broke so badly that I was left with no choice; I had to put the egg in my hand and let the white drip through my fingers, ewwww! I put the bowl of whites to one side as they would be needed later. I beat the yolks into the creamed mixture before adding in the ground almonds and flour. It seemed odd to be using more ground almonds than flour; it was almost double the amount. Once the ingredients were mixed together I had a very thick and chocolatey mixture. However, I hadn't finished yet. I needed to add some air, in the form of whipped egg whites. I whisked them until they were at the soft peak stage and then added a few tablespoons to the rich chocolate mixture and gave it a good old mix. I think this helps to avoid streaks of unmixed egg whites. I carefully folded in the remainder of the whites, trying to keep as much air in the mixture as possible before pouring into the awaiting cake tin. Once in the oven and cooking, the cake rose a surprising amount; it seemed almost too big! When it was ready and cooked through, I saw that the top of the cake was rather hard and had a sugary crust; it didn't look very appetising! Once turned out on the rack to cool, I was disappointed that it sank a little in the middle. Somehow I just knew it would! I waited for the cake to cool before going to bed so that I could pop it into an airtight container. It was almost midnight before I ventured up the wooden hill!

The following day I didn't get round to icing until mid afternoon. There came a time when I could put it off no longer! It was rather a long process, as I first had to brush warm apricot jam over the cake. I needed a hell of a lot of apricot jam! I washed up the sticky spoons and bowls while it set and then cracked on with the ganache. Now on the Bake Off programme, Mary said you should heat the double cream and then add the chopped chocolate and let it melt. In the Baking Bible she says to heat both together. As I am following this book to the letter I went for the latter method. It seemed to work perfectly well. I needed to leave the very unhealthy mixture to cool for a few minutes and hopefully it would set to a more spreadable consistency. I got into a bit of a mess pouring the ganache over the cake. I let it take its own course over the top and down the sides of the cake. Unfortunately a lot carried on travelling over the side of the plate and onto the worktop! Sadly the chocolate ganache did not hide any sins and showed up the cake’s misfortune even more; every dip and bump was magnified! However, on the bright side, at least it was glossy; I believe this to be a good sign! I left it to set whilst I fretted about adding the writing. I can't believe how stressed I felt about it!

Once Neil came home I thought it was about time I faced my moment of doom!!! There was much hilarity when we both tried and failed to construct a greaseproof paper icing bag! In the end I used a polythene sandwich bag and filled it with a very small amount of melted milk chocolate. I shut Neil and Isaac in the other room so that I could gather myself! I tried to ignore the shouts of “have you done it yet”! Finally, I took a deep breath and went for it. I piped the icing quickly and all in one go. Rather annoyingly it was going rather well until I reached the last letter; the chocolate dribbled where it shouldn't have dribbled! I tried to wipe it off but smudged the ganache, grrrr!

When it came to have a taste, I was quite pleased at how well the Sachertorte sliced. The ganache looked lovely and thick and the cake dense and moist. As expected, this cake proved to be VERY rich and chocolatey! It tastes pretty much exactly as it looks. It really should be served in small slices. Even I couldn't finish a slice and, as you know, I am very greedy! This cake is absolutely a must for a special occasion; it looks rather special after all.
Ta da!

Yes, it is VERY rich!


6 comments:

  1. Well done! It looks absolutely fantastic. I really must give it a try - what is it about Sachertorte that seems to make everyone nervous?!

    Hannah @ Love to Dine
    http://lovetodine.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, well done! Your writing looks perfectly central and the ganache looks super glossy. Just stubbled across your blog, what a great idea! I've only tried a couple of recipes from the Baking Bible, I need to bake more!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hannah, thank you so much! It is silly I got so worried about making the Sachertorte, it wasn't so bad! Have a try!

    Wow, praise indeed Jo - thank you :-) I love the Baking Bible and really enjoying trying all the recipes, my waistline is suffering though! I hope you get time to bake some more.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Have just found your blog via the "weekly bake-off" blog. What a great idea !! Julie and Julia is one of my favourite films and I wondered if anyone else was doing something similar with baking - maybe you could be made into a film too !!
    I will be checking back to see how you got on so far. I bought the book myself a few weeks ago but haven't attempted anything yet.
    Your Sachertorte looks wonderful and a lot better than some seen recently on the Great British Bake-off.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow, well done your sachertorte looks perfect! I'm slowly working my way through the baking challenges from TGBBO, have yet to try this cake :-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh wow - thank you Jean for such a wonderful compliment! I am delighted you have found my blog and I do hope you enjoy following my baking journey! Please do let me know if and when you try some of the recipes from the book.

    Nicola, you are so kind, thank you! You are doing so well with the GBBO challenges, everything looks fab so far. Good luck with the Sachertorte! xx

    ReplyDelete