I’m so pleased to be taking part in the Great Bloggers Bake Off 2014 again where basically we make something in line with whatever challenges have been set by Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood on the weekly BBC show.
European cakes caught my eye this week as the one most likely to produce edible results in my kitchen, I did Google Dobos Torte and was horrified at the amount of work that went into it so went back to my original idea of a Sacher Torte.
Sacher Torte originates from Austria, Vienna to be precise and was created in 1832 by Franz Sacher. Why did this cake spring to mind? Well because when I first lived in Italy I helped my brother-in-law Gastone in the bakery of the hotel as one of my first jobs out there. He didn’t speak a word of English and I didn’t speak any Italian but with hands and gestures we understood one another. You should have seen his face when he asked me to add a drop of ‘alcohol’ to the zabaglione he was making and I was a bit heavy handed.
“Stop, that’s 90% proof!” he screamed. (Oops, sorry!) I learnt the word goccio right there and then.
Gastone made the most delicious brioche to sell in the hotel bar at breakfast and they were known and appreciated all over the village. He also made more than 20 different pastine (pastries) to be sold to eat in or take away and they were highly successful.
He then went on to make Sacher Torte amongst other cakes and it was the most delicious chocolate cake I’d ever tried.
Gastone went on to open his own place Folgaria Post Hotel and took the bakery with him but thankfully never once refused us entry or a slice of cake. I’d go as far as to say my son grew up on Gastone’s briosh!
If you take a look at his hotel in the link above you can see that like many of the hotels in Folgaria there is a very strong Austrian influence which comes from the proximity to Sud Tirol, a beautiful part of Italy that never let go of its Austrian roots.
I did manage to produce a Sacher Torte, it was my first attempt and I followed the Mary Berry recipe on the BBC and it worked out fabulously well.
- 140g/5oz plain chocolate
- 140g/5oz unsalted butter, softened
- 115g/4oz caster sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 5 free-range eggs, separated
- 85g/3oz ground almonds
- 55g/2oz plain flour, sieved
- For the topping and the icing
- 6 tbsp apricot jam, sieved (this was way too much jam, I only used 2 tbsp maximum and didn't sieve)
- 140g/5oz plain chocolate
- 200ml/7fl oz double cream (This was too much as well and I have a bowlful leftover - great for ice cream topping though!)
- 1 tube of milk chocolate writing icing
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease a deep 23cm/9in round cake tin line the base with greaseproof paper.
- Break the chocolate into pieces and melt for 1 minute in the microwave, stir until all the remaining lumps are dissolved.
- Beat the butter in a food processor until really soft, then beat in the caster sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Add the cooled chocolate and the vanilla extract and beat again.
- Add the egg yolks, then fold in the ground almonds and sieved flour. The mixture will be quite thick at this stage.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are stiff but not dry. Add about one-third to the chocolate mixture in the food processor and mix well. Tip the mixture into a mixing bowl for easier work.
- Gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface.
- Bake in the oven for about 45-50 minutes, or until well risen at the top. The cake should spring back when pressed.
- Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes then turn out, peel off the paper and finish cooling on a wire rack.
- To make the topping, heat the apricot jam in a small pan and then brush evenly over the top and sides of the cold cake. Allow to set.
- Make the icing by breaking the plain chocolate into pieces. Heat the cream until piping hot, remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted, then cool till a coating consistency.
- Pour the icing on to the centre of the cake. Spread it gently over the top with a knife and down the sides and leave to set.
- Pipe ‘Sacher’ across the top with the writing icing and leave to set.
Linking up to SuperGolden Bakes