On my Danube river cruise, I went on a mission to find the real Sacher Torte in Vienna. The Sacher Torte is synonymous with the Austrian capital, which is also famous for its imperial sights and classical composers.
In this post, I explain how to find the best place to eat Sacher Torte in Vienna and how you can recreate this Austrian speciality at home.
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What is Sacher Torte?
Sacher Torte is a rich chocolate layer cake with apricot jam from Vienna, Austria. It was named after its creator, Franz Sacher, who invented the cake in 1832. Franz Sacher stepped in for a sick chef to make dessert for Prince Metternich at short notice, only using ingredients he could find in the kitchen. It is one of the most famous cakes in the world.
Where’s the best Sacher Torte in Vienna?
In Vienna, most cafes and restaurants will serve Sacher Torte but to enjoy this chocolate cake properly, I would highly recommend seeking out Cafe Sacher. Cafe Sacher can be found at Hotel Sacher on Philharmonikerstraße, which is in walking distance of St Stephen’s Cathedral. Vienna is a very flat city with much of the main streets pedestrianised.
Reservations can be made in advance at Cafe Sacher but are not required. The cafe has seating inside and outside. We were fortunate to spot a table outside but there was a long queue for inside seating. The menu is the same regardless of where you choose to sit. Cafe Sacher is understandably busy so don’t expect the service to be fast but this does force you to take a moment to enjoy the atmosphere and the Sacher Torte!
The inside of the cafe is very opulent and so I can understand people’s reasons for queuing. I did manage to take a look at the indoor cafe area when I took a trip to the bathroom. Upstairs has plush velvet booth seating, rich red wallpaper and a huge chandelier that spans two floors. Downstairs is a shop area and some seating.
I didn’t mind sitting outside – I was there for one thing only – to try the original Sacher Torte!
What is Sacher Torte like?
There is no escaping the richness of this cake. For me, one slice was plenty! You can taste the apricot jam layer and the whipped cream on the side helped to breakdown the sweetness of the cake. Each slice has a chocolate Hotel Sacher seal.
It’s recommended that you order a slice with a liqueur coffee so I took that advice and enjoyed it how it was intended. Austrians are known for having a sweet-tooth so it makes sense that the Sacher Torte is so popular.
How much is a Sacher Torte?
A slice from Cafe Sacher is €7.90. You can take a look at the cafe’s menu. I chose to accompany mine with a Sacher Kaffee (€8.90), which is a single espresso with Original Sacher liqueur and whipped cream.
You can purchase a whole Sacher Torte from the cafe’s shop for €58.90 and it will typically last for 7 days.
Sacher Torte Recipe
You can recreate the most famous cake in the world from the comfort of your kitchen. The Sacher Hotel won’t reveal its top secret recipe but it offers an approximate guide.
- 130g Dark couverture chocolate (min. 55% cocoa content, 32-39% cocoa butter)
- 1 x Vanilla pod
- 150g softened butter
- 100g Icing sugar
- 6 x eggs
- 100g Castor sugar
- 140g Plain wheat flour
- 200g Apricot jam
- 200g Castor sugar
- 150g Dark couverture chocolate (see above)
- Unsweetened whipped cream to accompany
- Preheat oven to 170°C. Line the base of a springform with baking paper, grease the sides, and dust with a little flour. Melt couverture over boiling water. Let cool slightly.
- Slit vanilla pod lengthwise and scrape out seeds. Using a hand mixer with whisks, beat the softened butter with the icing sugar and vanilla seeds until bubbles appear.
- Separate the eggs. Whisk the egg yolks into the butter mixture one by one. Now gradually add melted couverture chocolate. Beat the egg whites with the castor sugar until stiff, then place on top of the butter and chocolate mixture. Sift the flour over the mixture, then fold in the flour and beaten egg whites.
- Transfer the mixture to the springform, smooth the top, and bake in the oven (middle rack) for 10–15 minutes, leaving the oven door a finger’s width ajar. Then close the oven and bake for approximately 50 minutes. (The cake is done when it yields slightly to the touch.)
- Remove the cake from the oven and loosen the sides of the springform. Carefully tip the cake onto a cake rack lined with baking paper and let cool for approximately 20 minutes. Then pull off the baking paper, turn the cake over, and leave on rack to cool completely.
- Cut the cake in half horizontally. Warm the jam and stir until smooth. Brush the top of both cake halves with the jam and place one on top of the other. Brush the sides with the jam as well.
- To make the glaze, put the castor sugar into a saucepan with 125 ml water and boil over high heat for approximately 5 minutes. Take the sugar syrup off the stove and leave to cool a little. Coarsely chop the couverture, gradually adding it to the syrup, and stir until it forms a thick liquid. To test that the glaze is the right consistency, let a little of the glaze run over a wooden spoon. It should now be covered by a layer of glaze approximately 4 mm thick. If the glaze is too thick, add a few drops of sugar syrup to dilute it (to do so, loosen any remaining sugar in the saucepan with a little hot water). Make sure the glaze does not get too hot, or it will be dull when cooked and not glossy.