Cakes-CtoM 2: Sachertorte

2006-03-18

Sachertorte (1)Class started with some advance prep work for the following week: puff pastry. Having already taken the Art of Pastry class, both my partner and I were comfortable with the technique. After making the dough, we rolled it into a large square, then rolled the corners a little thinner, so it resembled a lumpy four-leafed clover. We placed the roll-in fat, which had been shaped into a flat square block, into the centre so that its corners touched the sides of the dough. The corner flaps were folded over to completely encase the fat. I won't go into the rest of the rolling and folds which we squeezed in between steps of the Sachertorte, as they're exactly what we learned before.

…a very traditional European torty torte
Sachertorte is a classical Viennese cake, said to have been invented nearly 175 years ago! Chef described it as a “very traditional European torty torte”, dry and dense. I learned about it in a high-school German class but had never tasted one, so I was looking forward to it. Our version began by whipping egg yolks with sugar until they lightened and turned thick. To that we folded in flour, cocoa powder and ground hazelnuts, followed by egg whites whipped with sugar. Lastly, we incorporated a mixtured of melted butter, chocolate and hazelnut paste. Chef had a few people try a variation in the mixing process in which the melted mixture was incorporated into the whipped egg yolks at the start. We baked these in 7" cake tins during which they rose with an impressive dome.

Sachertorte (2)For the ganache, Chef recommended that we melt the chocolate over a double boiler first, then adding the hot cream to avoid any lumps. We were running late (our instructor told us we had to work faster in the coming weeks), so Chef demoed the assembly but we took home the ganache and some Patisfrance apricot spread to finish ours at home.

The next day, I levelled the top of my cake, but instead of two layers, I sliced it into four thin rounds. I spread each one with a little apricot jam, placed the layers on a rack, then poured the reheated ganache over the top. The traditional decoration is to write “Sacher” on each slice, but my piping skills weren't up to doing it that many times. This is a very delicious cake, but definitely not a North American style one. The cake could have used a stronger hazelnut flavour, and I should have been more generous with the jam as that would have moistened the layers further.

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