The Continuing Adventures of the Great British Bake Off – Sachertorte, sort of…

The problem with baking is it’s hit and miss. Some things go right and some things go very wrong. The main points though are a) never give up and b) post the results no matter what, good or bad.

So in a delirium of confidence bought on by my ability to smear melted chocolate around the insides of a mould I decided to try another Mary Berry creation from BBC’s ‘Great British Bake Off’. Sachertorte is a rich chocolatey cake that was apparently invented by some bloke called Sacher or something.

It’s main distinction is a smooth satin chocolate covering. The original has a chocolate medallion on top but most people write ‘Sacher’ on the top in chocolate. Easy right? Well it’s always easy on the TV.

A bewildering array of ingredients – and an empty bottle of wine. That doesn’t bode well…

Sachertorte contains ground almonds and apricot jam. I had neither of these ingredients so right from the start I am lying and this isn’t really Sachertorte.

Ingredients (adapted from Mary Berry’s recipe)

  • 140g/5oz plain chocolate
  • 140g/5oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 115g/4oz caster sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 85g/3oz ground almonds (I used pecans)
  • 55g/2oz plain flour, sieved

For the topping and the icing

  • 6 tbsp apricot jam, sieved (I used cherry jam)
  • 140g/5oz plain chocolate
  • 200ml/7fl oz double cream
  • 25g/1oz milk chocolate

First make the cake by melting the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water:

Then cream the butter with the sugar until it goes creamy/fluffy. Beat in the melted  chocolate (which you have let cool slightly; if you don’t the chocolate will melt the butter, apparently) and the vanilla

For some reason I forgot I had a whisk and did all this with a wooden spoon – old school! Add the egg yolks, flour and ground nuts and fold in.

Whisk the egg whites until they are peaky but not too stiff. Stir in a third of the whites and then gently fold in the rest (so you don’t lose too much air)

Pour the mix into a lined 9 inch tin:

Bake at 180 C for about 40 mins. Let the cake cool on a wire rack:

The top should flatten off a bit as it cools.

Meanwhile get the jam ready – basically whizz it to pulp the fruit (if you are using jam with bits). Then pass it through a sieve. Spread the jam all over the cooled cake:

While that is all firming up get the chocolate ganache ready. Heat the cream in a pan until it is just starting to steam. Add the broken up chocolate. Off the heat stir until you get a smooth chocolatey mix:

Let it cool a bit so that it isn’t too runny and then pour onto the cake. Now the idea is to get a smooth surface:

You’re supposed to be able to achieve this by holding the cake and tilting it from side to side, spooning more chocolate around the edge:

But I think my chocolate was a bit too thick – it kind of wouldn’t go really smooth. So I made a fatal mistake – I took a tip from one of the contestants and got my wife’s hairdryer out and tried to remelt the surface. It didn’t work and made even more ripples!

Anyway we live and learn. The last thing to do is decorate: Melt the milk chocolate and put in a food bag. Prick a small whole in a corner and write ‘Sacher’ on the top with some additional swirls to hide the uneven surface a bit:

Looks like a pissed spider walked across this cake…

So this creation has gone to work with my wife; they’re having a cake sale today – I have no idea what this tastes like given I didn’t follow the recipe and the only thing I tried was the melted chocolate. Oops!

24 thoughts on “The Continuing Adventures of the Great British Bake Off – Sachertorte, sort of…

  1. Hello! There’s something very reassuring about seeing this, as I am sure if I attempted it, it would look very similar, possibly not even as flat as yours. I would certainly be delighted to have a slice anyway 🙂

  2. My daughter Pilar went this year to Germany, or was it last year? Can’t remember… anyway, she came home with a post card of a sacher cake and told me that she wanted one. I think I’m going to make it now following your post… wish me luck! 😉

    • All the best – my only thing with it would be to make the top of the cake as flat as you can (i though maybe use the base as the top kind of thing) and also get the ganache not too thick or it gets wrinkles and ripples

  3. Excellent substitutes with the cherry jam & pecans but hmmm, I don’t see where the wine goes into the recipe. Did you forget to include that or was the chef perhaps getting a little primed for the decorating part? Love your posts though – I hear about new things all the time, thank you.

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