An embarrassingly long time ago my lovely friend Lexi (she who bakes the really good muffins) asked me if I could make Sachertorte on here. She told me that she’d never had it but thought that it sounded pretty delicious. I have also never had it. This means I don’t really feel qualified to make a convincing version of it. I’ve done a fair bit of research into it and I have largely found that no two recipes are the same. Some say use almonds, some say don’t. Some use two layers of apricot jam and others just one. It’s a minefield! Apparently there have even been legal battles over it.
I realise that I could make umpteen different versions of it and pick my favourite but (rather perversely, considering the nature of this blog) I hate to follow a recipe to the letter. My kitchen is very much a place for free-styling – I try to tell myself that it’s creativity but more often than not it’s laziness!
So I have decided to make a cake specially for Lexi (yes, I know you live about 3500 miles away in Cheltenham but it’s the thought that counts…and I promise to make another one for you when I move back) She has acute Germanophilia so I have taken the liberty of giving this a lebkuchen twist (I bloomin’ love lebkuchen) and used gingerbread instead of chocolate sponge but I’ve kept the combination of apricot and rich chocolate glaze from her original sachertorte request.
The sponge is just the recipe from my gingerbread latte cupcakes, baked in a couple of standard cake tins for 30-35 minutes. The only small addition I made was to add a splash of booze at the end of the mixing. I couldn’t help myself.
Swiss buttercream does require a bit more effort than normal frosting but it’s really quite a different beast. It has a much smoother, creamier texture and isn’t nearly as sickly. It’s more luxurious and sophisticated and worth the extra effort.
1 quantity gingerbread sponge mixture (https://colonialcravings.wordpress.com/2014/12/15/gingerbread-latte-cupcakes/)
1 tbsp brandy/dark rum/whisky
1 egg white
70g butter (room temperature and cut into small pieces)
3 tbsp apricot jam
200g good quality dark chocolate
2tbsp golden syrup
4 tbsp cream
Bake the sponge in a couple of sandwich tins and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
For the jam layers simply warm the jam a little and mix it with the booze. Brush this onto both sides of the sponge that will touch the buttercream. Don’t feel obliged to use all of this mixture if you think that the jam layer will be too thick (I had about 1 tablespoon left over)
Now it’s time to get started on the Swiss buttercream. Put the egg white and sugar in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Gently whisk it together whilst it heats, it needs to be quite warm and the sugar needs to have dissolved into the egg white. Just rub a little between your fingers to check the temperature and that it isn’t grainy. Remove the pan from the heat and then whisk the egg white until it is stiff (like meringue) and cool. Once you’re at this point you can slowly beat in the butter, one small piece at a time. Continue to whip the buttercream until it has emulsified and become smooth and creamy. Mix in the apricot jam.
Spread the buttercream onto the base of the cake, going as close to the edges as you can without it squidging out when you place on the top layer.
Finally you need to glaze the whole thing. Melt together the chocolate and butter in a small pan, stirring constantly over a very low heat. Remove the pan from the heat and beat in the syrup and cream.
Leave the glaze to cool and thicken slightly for a few minutes. Place the assembled cake on a wire rack set over a large plate (to catch any drips.) Pour the glaze over the cake and spread it out with a palate knife so that it drips down the sides to cover them too. Try to make the top as smooth as possible. If the glaze becomes too thick to spread smoothly then simply re-warm it a little.
This will keep for several days in an airtight container.
Tip: If you think that you might end up with a gap where the filling is then take a few tablespoons of the glaze and put them in the fridge to thicken to a ganache-type consistency. You can then use this to fill in any gaps before you pour on the final shiny top coat.