Friday, January 17, 2014

Sachertorte for German Class

My thirteen year old son came home with a recipe for Sachertorte. Even after studying German myself for many years complete with two trips to Germany, I had never had Sachertorte. I guess had I visited Austria, I would have definitely tried Sachertorte.

The recipe looked tricky with many different parts.  The teacher had included a link to the recipe on Epicurious

 The number of ingredients wasn't too many, it was just the method of adding them together that was very specific. 

I did need a few ingredients that I didn't have on hand:  high quality bittersweet chocolate and apricot preserves. In addition, I also did not have a springform pan or a candy thermometer. 

I learned we had a week before the cake was due in class for a cake baking competition. I read through the recipe many times and looked at some of the reviews. Someone recommended watching the accompanying videos to really understand the steps. The day we planned to make the cake, I watched the videos. They were helpful and even a little different than the written instructions, especially for the chocolate glaze. 

The first step was to take the butter and eggs out and bring them to room temperature. After dinner, we started on the cake. I wasn't sure if we would have time to also make the glazes or not. We melted chocolate with a large bowl on top of a pot of hot water, separated the six eggs and got out the standing mixer. The directions were very clear at that point and familiar. Everything seemed to go well. As the videos states, I added everything slowly and mixed in between.  I used the butter wrapper to grease the springform pan, placed the batter in and finally baked in the 400 degree preheated oven.  I set the timer for 45 minutes and waited. We peeked in a few times through the window and I did check it with 3 minutes to go. But a few places on the bottom and sides did get too dark. In the video, the chef suggests a 375 degree oven and I wonder if that would be better. Or checking it sooner. 

The cake came out of the springform easily and because it is a dense cake, it is easy to handle and flip over with cooling racks. It didn't take too long to cool and before long I was separating the tall cake into two layers. I followed the video's suggestions for separating the cake scoring first and then cutting and turning the cake.  I used a serrated bread knife. Handling the layers was easy too. I didn't feel they would crack or fall apart. I decided to try to trim off the dark areas and that was easy too. I just went slowly and used my sharp, serrated knife. 

It looked like we still had time to make the glazes. We cooked up the apricot preserves with 2 TB of water. Spreading it on was easy. I didn't strain the solids like the recipe states, as it hadn't been explained in the video. I think we would have had less bumps on the final layer if we had been more careful about a smooth apricot glaze layer. 

As that cooled, we made the chocolate glaze. We followed the videos instructions for boiling the sugar and water first and adding the chocolate at the end. I'm not sure it ever got as warm as 234 degrees, but the sugar water mixture did start to make a small strand between my son's fingers, and after adding the chocolate, we did see it getting shiny. 

Slowly pouring the chocolate glaze on worked well to cover every inch of the cake. All the drippings on the parchment we did collect for making hot chocolate. It was recommended a small amount of glaze heated along with milk makes a nice hot chocolate. 

Finally we added white chocolate piping for decoration. 

Now we wait, the whole cake is going to school for the competition and extra credit. Hopefully we will be able to try it at some point, or we may need to try it ourselves!

The next day...
After getting nice comments and strong positive memories of Sachertorte, it seems wrong that I hadn't had the chance to taste it. Also, one local friend sounded like she might like to have some too. I knew doing the recipe again would go quicker. Also, I had purchased a set of three mini springform pans which would be fun to use. That would make it easier for giving one away as well.  
Making everything again did go quicker. A couple different things happened too. First when separating the eggs, the smallest amount of yolk got mixed in accidentally. I hoped it would be ok.  Unfortunately, the egg whites just got white and bubbly, they never became meringue.  I needed four more eggs to try again, fortunately a neighbor could help us out. Second try with the egg whites yielded perfect meringue.
I purchased a different apricot preserve which had less solids and better ingredients. I had missed it my first trip to the store.  
When I was making the chocolate glaze the second time, I think I was more patient after adding in the chocolate and allowed the mixture to get back up to temperature.  This batch of glaze seems even shinier and no cracks. 
Working with the smaller cakes was easier too. They cooled faster and I could cut by turning the cake on its side.  Because the chocolate glaze had gotten hotter, I don't think I allowed it to cool enough before pouring it on the cakes. I ended up needing to spoon some glaze back on the cakes from the waxed paper. 

Along with the three mini springforms, I made five tiny square cakes.  If I had more mini springform pans, I might have filled one or two more. I baked them about 27 minutes at 375 degrees. The tiny squares got a little too dry on some edges. The mini springforms seem perfect.

We made up some whipped cream for dipping and tested the minis, they have a nice flavor.

I did get a slice of the first big cake after traveling around school and it was pretty good.  I bet it is slightly overcooked, but not too bad.

The mini springform cakes were delicious!  I think they were baked perfectly.  The topping was better too.

No comments:

Post a Comment