Prince Metternich and the world-renowned Sacher torte

September 19, 2013

Culinary prowess fits well with diplomatic achievement. Fine cheeses and Prince Talleyrand’s genius, for example, saved France from being carved up by its victors during the Congress of Vienna, in the wake of Napoleon’s defeat.

Prince Klemens Wenzel von Metternich. Painted by Thomas Lawrence

Prince Klemens Wenzel von Metternich. Painted by Thomas Lawrence

Austria’s great champion in this Congress of nations gathered in Vienna, was Prince Klemens Wenzel von Metternich. While he may not have scored any diplomatic triumphs using Austrian cheeses, this noble diplomat is associated with the world-renowned Sacher torte.

The Original Sacher Torte served at the historic Hotel Sacher. Photo by David Monniaux

The Original Sacher Torte served at the historic Hotel Sacher. Photo by David Monniaux

In 1832, 17 years after the Congress of Vienna, Prince Metternich was entertaining important guests. His chef, however, was sick, so the task of creating the dessert fell to a 16-year old lad, Franz Sacher. He created this famed chocolate torte, which was later perfected by his son Eduard. Today, going on 200 years later, Sacher torte is enjoyed everywhere, but nowhere is it more authentically prepared than at the Hotel Sacher, which Eduard Sacher founded in Vienna, in 1876.

Eduard Sacher, son of Franz Sacher, the creator of Sacher Torte.

Eduard Sacher (l) perfected Sacher Torte, the 1832 creation of his father, Franz Sacher (r).

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Sacher Cake (Sachertorte)

“This is the original recipe, obtained through the courtesy of Mrs. Anna Sacher.”

3/4 cup butter
6 1/2 oz.  semi-sweet chocolate
3/4 cup sugar
8 egg yolks
1 cup flour
10 egg whites, stiffly beaten
2 tabelspoons apricot jam

Icing

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
7 oz.  semi-sweet chocolate

Whip the butter until creamy. Meanwhile melt the chocolate. Add the sugar and the melted chocolate to the whipped butter. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, into the mixture. Add flour. Fold in the egg whites. Pour the mixture into a buttered 8-9″ cake tin.  Bake at 275° F for about 1 hour. Test with a toothpick before the hour is up. Remove to a wire rack and cool. Cut the top off and turn the bottom up. Heat the apricot jam slightly and spread over the top. Cover with the chocolate icing.

Icing

Cook the sugar and water to thin thread. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Slowly add the sugar and continue stirring until the mixture coats the spoon. Cover the cake with the chocolate icing.

 

Cf.  Olga and A. Hess, Viennese Cooking, adapted for American use (New York: Crown Publishing,  1952), 229.

Hotel Sacher in Vienna

Hotel Sacher in Vienna

 

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