Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cranberry Sachertorte

One of my favorite cookbooks is The Frog Commissary Cookbook, by Steven Poses, Anne Clark and Becky Roller. I have the original edition (circa 1985) and Sachertorte is one my favorite recipes from this gem of a cookbook. I remember dining at The Commissary which was an upscale cafeteria in center city Philadelphia that opened up in 1976. The cafeteria is no longer there but Steve continues to run a successful catering business. He also had a restaurant called The Frog......what an awesome restaurant that was!

We are going to friends for Thanksgiving dinner and I am bringing two desserts and a side dish. Today I made the Sachertorte and it now is in the freezer until Thanksgiving morning. I have been making this since 1985........probably once/year and unlike my other baking attempts, this cake is one I can make with confidence.......practice makes perfect, or at least almost perfect. This is a decadent chocolate cake, best served with unsweetened whipped cream.

The original Sachertorte has two layers, this cake has just one. A Sachertorte is the most famous of Viennese culinary delights.

8 oz. semisweet chocolate
8 oz. unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup flour
8 oz. walnuts, very finely ground
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped fresh cranberries
8 egg yolks
8 egg whites
2/3 cup apricot jam

1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons instant coffee
6 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped (Do not use chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter and flour a 9" x 2 1/2" springform pan. Melt the chocolate and cool until lukewarm. Cream the butter with the salt, vanilla, and sugar. Toss together the flour and walnuts. Add the egg yolks one by one to the butter-sugar mixture. Stir in the chocolate, walnuts, cranberries and orange rind. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks and stir 1/4 of them into the chocolate mixture to lighten the batter. Fold in the remaining whites. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 1 hour. Let cool in the pan for 20 minutes and push down the puffed-up sides so that they are flush with the middle. Remove the sides of the pan and invert the cake onto a cooling rack set over wax paper. (The bottom has now become the top of the cake). Cool completely, Heat the apricot jam, push it through a sieve, and brush over the top and sides of the cooled cake. Let glaze set for about half an hour before icing the cake.

With glaze

In a metal mixing bowl or sauce pan, scald the cream. Whisk in the coffee and add the chocolate. Stir 1 minute over the heat, then remove and continue to stir until the chocolate has completely melted. Cool from hot to warm and pour over the cake. Rotate the cake while spreading icing evenly with the spatula. This is where having the wax paper over the cooling rack comes in super-handy! Chill the cake on its rack until the icing is completely set. Transfer to a serving plate and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.

The basic recipe does not include the cranberries and orange rind. The Variations for the recipe does suggest them as an addition for the Thanksgiving holiday. This is the first time I've made this dessert for Thanksgiving........with the cranberries/orange rind.


  1. This cake looks so good and I'm sure it will be a big hit at your Thanksgiving dinner, Hilary!!

  2. Hilary....this cake looks so good, I'm going to copy this recipe. My family will love it. I really like Viennese pastries, they are amazing there in those lil' bakeries in Vienna.
    Thanks for sharing. :-)

  3. I would love a slice of that right now! Great job :)