My recipe comes mostly from Lilly Joss Reich's The Viennese Pastry Cookbook with Schlagobers (sweetened whipped cream) and Chocolate Glaze recipes from Rick Rodgers's Kaffeehaus. Rodgers writes that Metternich wanted a cake that was the opposite of the "light, fluffy, creamy 'feminine'" cakes popular at the time, so Sacher created a "dryer, more compact 'masculine' cake."* Lilly Joss Reich's recipe adds an extra egg white, which she argues keeps the cake more moist. Extra egg white or not, it is imperative to eat Sachertorte with Schlagobers.
- Because this recipe contains no baking powder, all that stands between your Sachertorte and a large chocolate cheesecake crust is the air that you beat into the egg whites. Make sure they are sufficiently stiff and that you fold, not stir, them into the rest of the batter.
- Even though snobs (and I mean people who are just as snobby as I am, but in different ways) say that chocolate chips are inferior to bars of chocolate, I don't see them volunteering to clean all the little bits of chocolate off my counter. So, I use chocolate chips, but I use good ones like Guittard or Ghirardelli. They're tasty and not waxy. I used the 60% cacao Ghirardelli chips in this recipe, not the 72% cacao Guittard, mostly because that's what they had at World Market (my favorite chain store ever).
- About preserves: I think it's best to spend a little extra time and money to get a brand that does not use high-fructose corn syrup. I know there are a lot of people who will argue sugar is sugar, but I think that using high-fructose corn syrup (which is much cheaper) shows an appalling lack of concern for the quality of the final product--but that's just me, speaking from my soap box.
- Light or gold rums will work best for the apricot glaze. Don't use spiced rum! I'm no expert on rums, so I just used the Bacardi Superior that has been in our fridge for an embarrassingly long time.
- The chocolate glaze will take forever to heat from 220 degrees to 234 degrees. Don't panic, don't turn up the heat. Just be patient!
- In Kaffeehaus, Rick Rodgers suggests scraping the excess chocolate glaze that is left on the baking sheet, refrigerate it and then use it (with milk) to make hot chocolate.
- I also think it's imperative to listen to Viennese waltzes while baking (and eating) Sachertorte.
*Rick Rodgers, "The Story Behind Sachertorte," in Kaffeehaus (New York: Clarkson Potter, 2002), 60-61.