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Happy Birthday, Sacher-Torte

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original sacher-torteBirthday cakes are nothing new, but what about a birthday for a cake? The Austrian Sacher-Torte celebrated its 175th birthday this week with a rooftop party in Austria organized by Vienna’s Hotel Sacher. The original cake was created in 1832 in Vienna when a young apprentice chef – 16 year old Franz Sacher – had to create an original dessert of short notice. As unlikely as the story of its origin seems, there can be no denying that the cake was a huge success from that point on. The Hotel Sacher retains the right to call its cakes the “original sacher-tortes” and sells over 360,000 of them every year.

The cake is a simple, dense chocolate cake that has a thin layer of apricot spread between its two chocolate layers. It is enrobed in a thin coating of chocolate and is often topped with chocolate shavings or curls and served with whipped cream. Variations on the original recipe call for different types of jam and sometimes put the jam layer directly under the frosting, rather than in the middle of the cake.

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  • keanalee
    April 13, 2007

    Was wondering if you have heard of any cakes/tortes made with Guiness Beer….looking for one for hubby’s birthday, any suggestions?

  • Steve
    April 14, 2007

    Austrian (Viennese in fact) here. There are no chocolate shavings or curls on a real Sachertorte for that would ruin the look of the smooth chocolate coating. Oh, and it has to be apricot jam (preserve) made from only fruit, sugar and pectin, not just any kind of watered-down ‘spread’. Sorry for nitpicking but the real thing is sooo good. Gotta get me some I think ;-).

  • Karen
    April 14, 2007

    My Mom and I went to Vienna about 10 yrs ago (my late Dad was born and raised there) and we ate at the Sacher Hotel and had the cake there. It was divine.

    But, if I remember correctly, there is a bakery down the street from the hotel (Dubrow’s?) that fiercely defends the cake as their own. The cakes and pastries from this baker were equally delicious.

    Vienna is a beautiful city and I would love to go back and visit again.

  • Ari (Baking and Books)
    April 14, 2007

    A birthday cake for a cake’s birthday? Heck, any excuse for more cake. Now I just have to find an inanimate object’s birthday to celebrate every week. Yes.

  • Spitzmaus
    April 14, 2007

    Keanalee, if your husband likes chocolate, look no further than the following link to a Guinness Stout Cake I found over at Epicurious and which I cannot recommend highly enough. Quite easy to make. Seriously delicious.



  • Blair
    April 21, 2007

    Gosh, as someone married to an Austrian I wish I could love that darn torte. However, in all actuality, I think it is the most vile concoction that contains chocolate… OK, maybe not the most vile, but I would never ever pay for a piece. The Austrian relatives insist it is because I was American and served a piece that was not fresh… and they proceeded to send me one that was fresh… and I still maintain that it is way over rated.
    I can say that the restaurant in the Hotel Sacher does have marvelous food though…

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