This recipe is loosely based on a Sachertorte which is a traditional Austrian chocolate cake. It usually contains apricot jam in some form and should – according to tradition – have “Sachertorte” piped on top. This is a much less traditional version, but no less tasty. An added bonus for many is that as it contains no flour, it’s gluten free.
Serves: Probably enough for 10 – 12 slices
Time: About 2 hours
Level: Fairly easy
Need: A 20cm/8” tin (NOT springform*); an electric mixer would be handy, but not essential.
* If I’m baking with a bain marie I prefer to use a tin without a loose bottom. You can wrap spring form tins in foil to stop water getting in, but I never feel confident about that.
- 325g/11oz dark chocolate
- 8 medium eggs (6 separated and 2 left whole)
- 275g/9½oz white caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (and/or use orange flavouring)
- 175g/6oz ground almonds
- ½ tsp salt
- An orange (zest + half the juice)
- 1 tsp coffee granules dissolved in a small amount of hot water
- Apricot jam or glaze to seal the cake (dilute it in a little hot water)
Preparation beforehand if you want to get ahead
- Separate eight eggs (put the whites in a large clean glass, metal or porcelain bowl, not plastic). Put the yolks in an equally large, or larger, mixing bowl.
- Measure out the sugar and almonds
- Break the chocolate into small chunks
- Pre-heat oven to 170°C / fan 150°C /325°F / Gas 3.5.
- Put a shallow dish on the bottom shelf of your oven to fill with near boiling water when you put the mixture in to bake.
- Grease and line the bottom and sides of the tin with baking paper. (I actually put a cross of baking parchment in the tin before adding a circle over it. This was to make sure I could lift out the baked cake. See Gallery below.)
1. Melt the broken chocolate in a bowl over a bain marie. Set aside to cool a little.
2. Put the caster sugar, egg yolks, two whole eggs and any extracts/flavourings in a large mixing bowl and whisk until thick and creamy (ribbon stage).
3. Stir the melted chocolate into the egg mixture then add the ground almonds, coffee, salt, orange zest and juice. Mix until well blended.
4. Whisk the egg whites until they hold peaks, but are not dry. Using a large metal spoon, stir one heaped spoonful of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to loosen it then fold in the rest until combined.
5. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and lightly smooth the surface. Place on a baking tray. Lightly grease a circle of baking paper, with a roughly 25cm/1″ size hole in the centre and lay greased side down on the surface of the mixture.
6. Pour some boiling water into the tray you placed in your oven. Bake the cake for 70 – 80 minutes
7. Remove from oven, take off the paper covering and cover the cake with a clean, damp tea towel. Leave to cool in the tin for an hour then turn out onto a wire rack to fully cool
When you cut this cake it will be crumbly. A brushing of warm diluted apricot jam should seal it.
As this cake is wonderfully dense and moist it may prove difficult to slice horizontally into layers. If you do choose to do so I’d recommend using a sharp, wet knife.
Here’s a suggestion for the topping/filling. I like to make a white chocolate and cream cheese mixture using this ratio of ingredients:
- Melted white chocolate 1 measure
- Softened unsalted butter 2 measures
- Softened full fat cream cheese 2 measures
- Sifted icing sugar 3 – 4 measures, depending how sweet you like it
Melt the chocolate and leave to cool a little before adding in the butter and cream cheese. Give it a good whisking then sift over the icing sugar and whisk some more. (You can add vanilla extract or other flavours here, or some colour if you want.)
The following amounts should easily cover a 20cm cake:
- 100g/3.5oz white chocolate
- 200g/7oz butter
- 200g/7oz cream cheese
- 300g/10oz icing sugar
There may be enough for a filling should you decide to layer the cake, but I’d recommend scaling up the ingredients.
Below are two other versions. First a 23cm cake with a melted marshmallow topping. I’ll put the ingredient measurements for the cake below. For the topping I gently melted 75g mini-marshmallows, 15g golden syrup and 15g butter in a saucepan with some food colouring. When it was ready I spooned it into a piping bag and snipped a small hole before using it.
I actually used two colours, so I probably did a second batch – sorry to be so vague, I didn’t make a note of it and can’t quite remember. But I do have the measurements for the ingredients:
- 400g/14oz dark chocolate
- 10 medium eggs (9 separated, 3 whole)
- 350g/12oz white caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (and/or orange flavouring)
- 225g/8oz ground almonds
- ½ tsp salt
- A large orange (zest and juice from half)
- 1 – 2 tsp coffee granules dissolved in a small amount of hot water
The second version was a rather more ambitious 3-layer wedding cake. The bottom tier was 25cm/10”, the middle tier was 20cm/8” and the top was 15cm/6”. Here are the measurements for the ingredients. (I’ll give them as I converted them from the original, but I don’t see any problems in rounding them up or down a little, if you like “neat” numbers)
- Dark chocolate 492g/316g/225g
- Medium eggs 12/8/5
- White caster sugar 431g/277g/175g
- Vanilla/orange extract 2 tsp/2 tsp/1 tsp
- Ground almonds 277g/178g/110g
- Salt 1 tsp/¾ tsp/½ tsp
- Orange 1 large/1 medium/1 smallish
- Coffee granules 2 tsp/1 tsp/1 tsp
It’s hard to give exact baking times, especially as I baked the 20cm & 15cm at the same time. In fact I was a little caught out; because the smaller cake was deeper it actually took longer to bake. Maybe I should have reduced the ingredients, but it did allow me to cut off a layer so that all three tiers were a similar height.
For the coating I made a large batch of the white chocolate cream cheese mixture mentioned above, but I increased the chocolate content to ensure a firmer coating. I also piped coloured white chocolate in “dribbles” on the edge of each tier. (There’s probably a more technical word for it than that.)
Finally, I need to say that these latter versions I actually made before the 20cm version and I didn’t use a bain marie. Only after making these did I decide to use a bain marie and it was definitely better to do so. Of course this may have proven difficult with the 25cm cake. I doubt if my oven is big enough for such a large cake in a bain marie.
Below are a few that I’d love you to try: