Great British Bake Off has returned for viewers in the UK, so I figure it is fitting to roll out another Mary Berry recipe. My write up of Mary Berry’s chocolate brownies remains, month after month, one of the most viewed pages on this blog.
So when I spotted Mary Berry’s Simple Cakes from the library I figured it was time to test out another one of her usually fool-proof recipes.
The very first recipe in the book is Sachertorte. Not a cake I’ve ever made before but one I’ve been privileged enough to eat in its birthplace, the Hotel Sacher in Vienna. Created in 1832 for Austrian royalty (let’s observe modern country borders for now), it is a cake which now boasts its own national day (5 December, for anyone who needs an excuse to eat cake).
This version of Sachertorte doesn’t quite match up with various ‘original’ Sachertorte recipes that you can find on the internet, as it contains no flour. But I like this, as it means that this cake is suitable for coeliacs! The cake itself is actually also dairy free (the ganache is not) so for anyone dealing with dietary requirements, it might suit.
Somehow, when making this cake I managed to not follow the recipe – not on purpose. I ignore recipes all the time on purpose. But baking, cakes – generally I’m an obedient cook. I read the recipe multiple times before commencing and I don’t stuff up.
Only when making this, I did stuff up. I managed to reduce the chocolate but a full 100g. And guess what? It was absolutely fine.
So the recipe that follows is not Mary Berry’s, though it owes a great debt to her. And, due to the reduced quantity of chocolate, I declare it a health cake (or something).
Purists will also note that I used blackberry jam and you are supposed to use apricot. My choice, like that of any good cook, was driven by what was open and immediately to hand.
Also – because the cake is almond based it is reasonably dense but also retains its moisture well. So it will keep well for a few days, providing you don’t eat it.
- 165g dark chocolate (or 265 if you are actually following the recipe)
- 6 eggs, 5 separated
- 215g caster sugar
- 150g ground almonds
- about 4 tbsp jam of your choice (you can get away with less)
- 150g dark chocolate
- 150mL cream
- Grease a 23cm springform tin and base line with baking paper. Pre-heat oven to 160°C fan (180 conv).
- Melt chocolate in the microwave and allow to cool slightly.
- Whisk the 5 egg whites to soft peaks (Berry describes this as 'stiff but not dry'). As I have just one bowl for my stand mixer, I then (gently!) tipped the whisked whites into a separate bowl so I could keep on using the stand mixer bowl. No need to clean if you do the egg whites first.
- Next, whisk the 5 egg yolks, the extra egg and the sugar until thick and pale. It should be thick enough that it leaves a trail when you lift the whisk from the bowl.
- Whisk in the almonds, chocolate and 1 tbsp of the whisked egg whites. The mixture will be quite stiff but make sure it's well combined before moving on.
- Gently fold the egg whites into the mix. Ensure it is well combined but don't beat - you don't want to knock out air.
- Turn into your cake pan and bake for 40-45 minutes until the a crust forms on the top and the cake starts to shrink away from the edges of the pan. For my cake in my oven, this took the 45 minutes. As I used the 'wrong' amount of chocolate, you will have to use your own judgement here!
- Cool the cake in its pan for 10 minutes or so then tip out onto a rack covered with a clean tea towel. I liked this trick - especially good for more fragile cakes.
- Leave it to cool completely. I did this much late Saturday afternoon and proceeded the following day.
- When ready to finish, heat your jam (gently - it's high in sugar content and this can go wrong easily!) and then brush over the top of the cake. As I only have a very coarse silicone brush, I actually just used a spoon to spread it around.
- For the ganache, melt the cream and chocolate in the microwave and allow to cool and thicken. Spread on the cake - you can see from the picture that it's a nice thick covering, but make sure you include the sides too.
- If you are keen, you can pipe the word 'Sacher' on the cake. I am not that keen.
- Serve with cream. And because the cake is almond based, it is lovely and moist - so if you are especially health-conscious, you can skip the cream.