For a dessert that looks refined, tastes divine, and can even be made ahead, look no further than this incredible torte. It’s easy to see why this is one of Vienna’s crowning glories.
Super rich and devilishly delicious roughly sums up this iconic Viennese specialty, Sacher [SAH-kuhr] torte. Made with extra-bittersweet chocolate and cocoa powder, there’s no denying that chocolate is the star. Like many tortes, it’s a dense cake made with little or no all-purpose flour, some nut flour, and leavened with egg whites. Per tradition, this one has a layer of apricot jam and a dark chocolate coating. Then for the final flourish, top it with glacéed apricots (dried apricots cooked in a sugar syrup). All in all, this torte makes an exquisite finish to any holiday or special occasion.
And while there are several components to this dessert, the cake benefits from being made a day or two ahead, and you can even freeze it. Then just defrost, fill, and glaze it. The assembled torte keeps for several days, covered, at room temperature. But for longer storing, refrigerate it.
FOR THE CAKE, SIFT:
FOR THE FILLING, PROCESS:
FOR THE GLAZE, PLACE:
Test Kitchen Tips
For the smoothest coating, first spread a thin crumb coat of the glaze on the torte, then pour the remaining glaze over it and gently shake it to run down the sides.
Glacéed Apricots, also known as candied apricots, are dried apricots cooked in a sugar syrup. To make them, heat 1/2 cup fresh orange juice, 1/4 cup sugar, and 2 Tbsp. honey in a small saucepan over high until sugar dissolves. Add 24 dried apricots (about 5 oz.), reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Increase heat to medium-low and cook apricots, uncovered, until liquid is syrupy, about 15 minutes. Let apricots and syrup cool completely; transfer to a bowl and store, covered, at room temperature until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 400°. Coat an 8-inch springform pan with butter, line with parchment paper, and coat paper with butter. Dust pan with flour and shake out excess.
For the cake, sift together all-purpose flour, almond flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and salt in a medium-mesh sieve or sifter.
Beat butter and 3/4 cup sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed until pale and creamy, 3–5 minutes. Add yolks, one at a time, beating until thick, then beat in extract. Transfer mixture to a large bowl, then wash and dry mixer bowl.
Whisk egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium-low speed until thick and foamy, 2–3 minutes; increase speed to medium-high.
Gradually sprinkle in remaining ¼ cup sugar and whisk until firm peaks form, 2–3 minutes more.
Fold melted chocolate into butter mixture, followed by flour mixture in batches.
Stir one fourth of the egg whites into the batter. Fold in remaining whites, in three batches, adding more when no streaks remain; pour batter into prepared pan. Bake torte on center rack until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out almost clean, 28–30 minutes.
Let torte cool in pan 10 minutes; remove springform ring and turn torte onto a rack to cool completely.
Level cake top with a serrated knife, then slice cake in half horizontally. Arrange bottom layer, cut side up, on a rack set inside a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
For the filling, process preserves in a mini food processor until fairly smooth; transfer to a saucepan and stir in brandy. Bring apricot mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until it thickens and reduces slightly, about 15 minutes.
Spread filling on top of cut side of bottom layer; top with second layer, cut side down. Chill torte until filling sets, about 20 minutes.
For the glaze, place chocolate and butter in a 2-cup measuring cup with a pour spout. Heat cream and corn syrup in a saucepan until nearly boiling. Pour cream mixture over chocolate and butter; let stand 5 minutes, then whisk until chocolate is melted and glaze is smooth.
Pour glaze over top of torte, starting in the center and radiating out towards the edge so it flows down the sides of the torte. Smooth top and sides to evenly coat torte. Chill torte to set glaze, about 1 hour.
Garnish top of torte with Glacéed Apricots; serve with whipped cream.
Sifting helps break up lumps and aerates the dry ingredients, which helps to lighten the heavy batter.
Adding cream of tartar to egg whites helps prevent overbeating while stabilizing them, too.
Stir in some egg whites to lighten the batter, then fold in the rest in batches so as not to deflate them too much.
To halve the cake, lightly score all the way around it, then slice the cake following your score marks.
For a smooth coating, pour glaze in a circular motion towards the edge, spreading with a spatula as needed.
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 29g 44%
Saturated Fat 16g 80%
Cholesterol 121mg 40%
Sodium 102mg 4%
Carbs 46g 15%
Fiber 1g 4%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.