Savor a Slice of Heaven at Home with This Viennese Dessert

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Austrian desserts and baked goods are world renowned as heavenly, sweet treats. It’s difficult to avoid becoming addicted to these delights!

I’m sure you’ve heard of the iconic specialty that is the Sacher torte, a dessert that’s known and cherished all over the world. It’s the famous decadent chocolate gâteau that’s made with apricot jam, and a rich chocolate glaze on top.

The Viennese Sacher torte features the richness of chocolate with the sweet tangy taste of apricot. A combination that will have your tastebuds swimming in ecstasy. Read on for the recipe.

Who would ever refuse a delicacy such as this?

The cake’s creation first came about as the result of a random occurrence in 1832, when the Prince of Metternich wanted his chef to create an extraordinary dessert for his guests. Unfortunately, the head chef was ill so his 16-year-old apprentice Franz Sacher was left to complete this challenging task.

Full of chocolate, full of flavor, full of history: The Viennese Sacher torte has it all. If you’re craving a rich and delicious cake, this is the one: pure chocolate with a fruity layer of apricot jam – an irresistible combination. Read on for the recipe.

Franz’s son Eduard further developed the cake at the court confectioner Demel, the first place to serve the cake to the public. Eduard later founded the Hotel Sacher, and it could be eaten there, too.

The Best Viennese Sacher Torte Recipe |

Unfortunately, once the torte started to gain popularity, it became the subject of a lawsuit between Hotel Sacher and Demel. This concerned not only the question of rightful ownership (and exclusive rights to sell the torte), but also the correct number of layers of jam that were used to make it.

When it comes to the law, it’s often the fine details that make all the difference.

The sponge cake that is prepared to make this recipe is quite rich, but it will give your gâteau a wonderful moist and delicate texture.

Want to know how to take this cake from good to gorgeous?

The quality of the chocolate that you use is the deciding factor. Look for a high quality dark chocolate that is at least 70% dark, and made without artificial flavorings.

If you prefer something even more sophisticated, get fancy with the decorations:

Use a sharp icing tip to write the name “Sacher” on top of the cake, or even atop each slice.

Or, if you’d rather go for a more basic, quickly-made recipe, give our German-inspired simple two ingredient cake recipe a taste.

The Recipe

Best Viennese Sacher Torte |
The Best Viennese Sacher Torte
Votes: 11
Rating: 3.55
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Best Viennese Sacher Torte |
The Best Viennese Sacher Torte
Votes: 11
Rating: 3.55
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
  • 5 oz. high quality dark chocolate chopped
  • 6 eggs separated
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 5 oz. oz. or 1 stick + 1 tbsp. butter at room temperature
  • 5 oz. or 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 3 1/2 oz. or a scant 1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs
  • 5 oz. or 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp. smooth apricot jam*
For the glaze:
  • 2 oz. or 1/4 cup sugar
  • 7 tablespoons water
  • 7 oz. high quality dark chocolate chopped
  1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over low heat.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F (convection 160°C/320°F). Grease the springform pan or line with parchment paper.
  3. Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  4. Cut the vanilla pod lengthwise and scrape out the pulp. Set aside.
  5. Whisk the softened butter in a large bowl until smooth. Add the sugar and vanilla pulp gradually, stirring to combine after each addition.
  6. Add the egg yolks one at a time and continue to mix, until thickened and fluffy.
  7. Add the melted chocolate and the breadcrumbs, and stir to combine.
  8. Finally, gently fold in the egg whites.
  9. Pour the batter into your baking tin and smooth the surface with a spatula.
  10. Bake in the lower part of your oven for approximately 50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  11. Cool completely in the pan, then carefully remove, running a knife around the perimeter first to loosen the edges.
  12. Halve the chocolate sponge to form two layers, and spread half of the apricot jam on the bottom layer. Place the second layer on top. Spread the remaining jam on top of the cake.
  13. For the glaze, heat the sugar and water in a double boiler until the sugar has dissolved (do not boil). Add the chocolate gradually and stir until the chocolate is melted and fully combined, and the mixture has a shiny appearance.
  14. Pour the glaze on top of the cake, and spread to cover.
  15. Cool completely before serving.
Recipe Notes

To enjoy a real piece of Viennese culture, serve with whipped cream and a cup of coffee. This chocolatey temptation should be stored in the fridge.

This recipe is for a 9-inch springform baking tin.

*If you prefer another flavor besides apricot, feel free to substitute with raspberry jam, or your favorite choice.


Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Melt the Chocolate

Bring some water to a simmer, then lower the heat and place your chocolate in a double boiler on top. Stir occasionally, until the chocolate is shiny and fully melted. Then remove from heat.

At this point, you should also preheat the oven and prepare a 9″ springform pan. You can grease it with butter or oil, or line with parchment paper.

Melting chocolate seized up? Read here on how to prevent chunks and bumps for perfect, velvety-smooth chocolate.

Step 2 – Whisk the Egg Whites

Separate the eggs and set aside the yolks. Whisk the whites with a standing mixer or electric hand beater for 5 to 10 minutes.

You’ll know they’re ready when stiff peaks form – shut off the mixer, raise the beaters out of the bowl, and take a look. Continue beating until they’re whipped enough, then set aside.

Maybe you’re in the market for a stand mixer? Check out Foodal’s guide to choosing a top rated model for your kitchen.

If a top of the line hand mixer is more your speed, Foodal recommends the KitchenAid 9-Speed, available on Amazon for all of your quick mixing, beating, and whipping needs. Read our review here.

Step 3 – Prep the Vanilla

When you’re cooking with whole vanilla beans, it’s important to maximize that vanilla flavor by prepping your beans properly.

Carefully split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise with a sharp knife, and scrape out the pulp with the tip of your blade.

Scraping Vanilla Pod |
Step 3 – Prep the Vanilla

Save the scraped pod for use in another recipe, or add it to your sugar bowl for a bit of added flavor.

Step 4 – Cream the Butter and Sugar

Cut your softened butter into chunks and whisk it in a large bowl until smooth. If you’re going to use the electric mixer, just rinse off those beaters first. I prepped mine by hand.

Trying to figure out which whisk is best for the job? Check out Foodal’s review here.

Creamed Butter and Sugar |
Step 4 – Cream the Butter and Sugar

Gradually add the sugar and vanilla to the butter, creaming them together until they’re thoroughly combined. The final result should be thick and fluffy.

Step 5 – Add Your Yolks, Chocolate, and Breadcrumbs

First, add the egg yolks one at a time to the bowl and mix thoroughly between additions. Continue to whip the mixture together, until it’s thick and fluffy.

Combining Chocolate and Breadcrumbs with Batter
Stirring the melted chocolate and breadcrumbs into the batter.

Add the melted chocolate, being sure to scrape out that double boiler with a spatula, so you don’t miss any of the good stuff.

Remember to wash out the top of your double boiler while the torte bakes –you’re going to need it to make the chocolate glaze later! Add the breadcrumbs too, and stir to combine.

Whisking Chocolate Batter |
Mix the ingredients together thoroughly, to ensure that the batter is uniform in color and texture before adding the egg whites.

Step 6 – Fold in the Egg Whites

This step requires a little extra care, since the fluffy egg whites will help your chocolate sponge cake to rise. Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold the whites into the batter.

Step 7 – Pour and Bake

Finally, you can go ahead and pour that batter into your prepped baking pan and smooth the surface just a little with your spatula.

Smoothing the Chocolate Torte Top |
Smooth the batter with a rubber spatula before baking.

Bake on the lower rack of the oven for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cake completely in the pan.

Step 8 – Fill and Glaze

After carefully removing your cake from the pan, slice it into two layers.

Cutting Cake Layers |
Try cutting your cake into layers using a piece of unflavored dental floss.

Spread half of your jam on the bottom layer, top with the other half of your cake, and top that with the remaining jam.

Spreading Apricot Jam |
Spreading the apricot jam filling onto the bottom layer of cake.

To prep the chocolate glaze, bring water to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Place the sugar and water in the double boiler and heat until the sugar has dissolved completely, making a simple syrup. Be careful not to let it boil.

Add the chopped chocolate a little at a time, stirring to combine between additions. Continue to stir until the chocolate is completely melted and fully combined with the simple syrup.

Spreading Chocolate Glaze |
Spreading the homemade chocolate glaze over the top of the torte.

Your glaze is ready when it takes on a shiny look. Remove it from the heat, and pour over your cake right away, then spread to cover. Chill before serving.

Photos by Nina-Kristin Isensee, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.

About Nina-Kristin Isensee

Nina lives in Iserlohn, Germany and holds an MA in Art History (Medieval and Renaissance Studies). She is currently working as a freelance writer in various fields. She enjoys travel, photography, cooking, and baking. Nina tries to cook from scratch every day when she has the time and enjoys trying out new spices and ingredients, as well as surprising her family with new cake creations.

28 thoughts on “Savor a Slice of Heaven at Home with This Viennese Dessert”

  1. This is a beautiful tutorial for making a classic chocolate cake. I enjoyed reading about the background history of this cake. Food has its own fascinating allure in the annals of the ages. I would guess that only those supplying the aristocratic and the wealthy had access to the ingredients in this cake, coming as they would from more exotic climes than Austria.

    I was actually interested to find that some of my Mennonite forebears — always a diaspora since they refused to take up arms and were either driven out of countries at war, or fled– came to Kansas from the Russian Crimea with apricot pits to plant. Growing up in Saskatchewan, there was nary an apricot tree to be found, so I always considered that an exotic and delicious fruit, but it is likely that they grew not far from Austria.

    Anyhow, this is a lovely recipe that I can easily access ingredients for and look forward to trying. Thank you!

    • Thank you!
      I agree with you about interesting food stories. There are so many fascinating – and sometimes funny – legends that have evolved in the background of different recipes. Also, the aspect with the ingredients is interesting to think about – some people probably couldn’t afford all of those. Nowadays, where almost every kind of product can be bought everywhere (due to globalization), we can’t imagine anymore how it must be when something’s not available. When trying to buy local and seasonal, one quickly realizes that the choice is decreasing.
      I hope everything’ll work out when you try this cake. Enjoy it! 🙂

  2. As usual,I usually comes across these food sites right when I start my diet. Of course, the first thing I did when I saw this recipe is run into the kitchen and try it myself.

    Unfortunately, I had a bit of a disaster: no nice chocolate, but I had some clearance chocolate from some brand I don’t remember. Maybe that was the first mistake. Also, I think I beat the egg whites to much, as it came out of the oven a little, um, crunchy. But that also maybe because I forgot to set the timer and baked it for an extra 30 minutes.

    Ah well, I’ll just stare dreamily at the picture. There’s always tomorrow to try again.

    • Oh no, I’m sorry it didn’t work out the way it should.
      I think the extra 30 minutes might be the reason here. That was probably a bit too much for the egg whites 😉 And just beat them as long as you can discover stiff and shiny peaks. And only fold them into the chocolate dough carefully – and not too long. Otherwise the fluffy texture will not be achieved, and the cake won’t rise up in the oven.
      I really hope that you can motivate yourself to try it once more. I’m sure you’re able to make a great version this time 🙂

  3. I can identify with the diet story because I am also trying to lose weight and get healthy! This is a really beautiful recipe and it looks so tasty. I would like to save it for a special occasion. Some treats need to be set aside for those special occasions when you have something to celebrate.

    • I agree with you. This is a fancy cake, suitable for a special occasion. It is rich and intense, so rather nothing for a simple afternoon-coffee-and-cake-snack 😉
      I’m sorry for introducing these recipes to all of you during your diets. But still, even a slice of a homemade cake like this is a better option that some other sweets (with additives and loads of sugar) one can buy. Making it yourself and putting all the effort in it, makes it easier to really enjoy one piece than eating the whole cake.
      Whenever you’re making it, enjoy this wonderful chocolate cake with all your senses!

  4. I made this at the weekend as we had visitors coming. I followed the recipe really carefully – I’m usually a bit hit and miss – and it came out perfectly. I love your way of cutting the cake in half! I’ve never sen that before. I use a long thin knife.
    We had the cake as a dessert after dinner with small glasses of dessert wine. Thanks so much – I shall certainly make it again.

    • I’m so pleased to hear that it turned out so well!
      I usually cut my mulitlevel cakes this way. Although I have a long knife, too, I always manage to cut not in one straight line and end up with different heights of the cuts 😉 Great that it’s useful for you too.
      Enjoy this dessert whenevery you’re making it!

  5. I have to admit that I am a little nervous about making this. I am the type of cook that struggles with over-beating, stirring, or kneading things. I still have not found that “happy medium;” I am either too cautious and end up not mixing thoroughly, or I get carried away and am left with a heavy lump that slightly resembles what it is supposed to be.

    Could someone please define what “fine bread crumbs” are supposed to look like? Are they the same unseasoned bread crumbs that you get in the grocery store to bread fish or chicken with? If so, then I have plenty of those. If not, then I need to evaluate my options.

    Also, will a regular 8- or 9-inch round cake pan lined with parchment paper work for this?

    • I’m sure – if you plan enough time and work with some concentration – it will turn out great! 🙂 Just make sure to have a look at the baking time, and leave the dough to cool before cutting.
      About the breadcrumbs, you may have a look at one of my “step-by-step” pictures. On one of them you can find the melted chocolate and breadcrumbs. I’m pretty sure it’s what you mean with unseasoned crumbs to bread chicken e.g. The ones I have can be used for that too!
      And a 9-inch round cake pan will be a perfect choice. Have fun!

  6. I always envisioned chocolate cake as the ultimate dessert. Nothing compares to it. This Viennese Sacher Torte makes a real difference in the way I view chocolate sweets. It has a pretty fancy name to add to it’s delicious recipe I see. Opening up the vanilla beans to really grasp the taste just right is something I’ve never seen before. I am someone who is used to baking simple chocolate desserts such as brownies and cookies. My mother is the master at baking chocolate cakes. I would totally love trying to create this one though. It doesn’t seem too difficult.

    • Glad I could give you a new idea how to handle the vanilla bean.
      Brownies are such wonderful desserts, I adore it when they have this sticky, gooey texture inside! 🙂 This cake is great too, and if you stick to the instructions, I’m convinced that it will be a fantastic surprise for your mother. I wish you lots of success!

  7. Oh, this looks delicious! I actually have not heard of this Viennese dessert. While the recipe looks easy enough, I don’t think I have the confidence to do baking. (sigh) Nevertheless, I went ahead to reading through the whole article as I love any recipe with chocolates in them!
    I appreciate also bits on how the recipe came to be. I like reading that kind of information. Like the other reader, it’s also my first time to see the technique of using unflavored dental floss to cut a cake in half. Very ingenious!

    • Thanks, glad that you liked the article. I always enjoy reading about the history of recipes, as they often include interesting or funny facts. Also nice to hear that you haven’t heard of the cutting-idea too. It’s always great to provide some new tips or tricks that are helpful for others as well.
      You should go ahead once you have the time to bake. With the “cooking by numbers” you will be on the safe side 🙂 It’s worth it!

  8. Slice of heaven is right. I saw this plate of decadence and just had to see what it was all about. Chocolate is my favorite and will pique my interest every-time. These ingredients are very interesting, I did not at all expect jam to be included, have to absolutely try.

    • You can be sure that the jam fits perfectly into the cake. I love these juicy layers between that rich chocolate dough. I hope it’ll work out and you will enjoy this great dessert!

  9. That looks like pure decadence to me. Yum. It’s so pretty too. I think it would make a fine dessert for a special occasion. I’d let someone make one for my birthday, no problem.

    I happen to have coffee beans right now that boast notes of chocolate, caramel, and apricot. I think it would go very nicely with this special treat.

    • Yummy, the nuances of the coffee beans sound a lot like they are the perfect addition to this cake. You should definitely try both in combination! I always like the idea of having something to eat and drink that refers somehow to each other.
      And I hope you’ll get a great version of this for your birthday! 🙂

  10. Beautiful dessert. I can appreciate how moist this cake looks, as chocolate cake comes out dry many times (for me!). I will have to try this recipe. I can also appreciate how indulgent the frosting looks. This looks rich enough that it would serve many, with small portions.

    • Thanks, it has indeed a moist texture, I’m sure you’ll be able to achieve this too 🙂 You’re right about the richness, it is sufficient for many, cut into small slices, and maybe served with an espresso or a fine dessert wine! Enjoy!

  11. I’ve always wanted to try this cake, but think making your own version is so much healthier as you can choose what chocolate to use and how much jam to spread. Thanks for the step by step guide, especially about the egg whites, as they are tricky and require patience. One day I will try it when I have some willing volunteers to eat it.

    • I absolutely agree with you. When making your own, you have full responsibility about the amount of some ingredients, their quality etc. And you really appreciate eating, because you know how much effort you put into it. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you will find some volunteers, but I’m sure this shouldn’t take too long if you promise them a cake like this 😉

  12. I knew browsing this late at night would be a good idea. This is too good looking NOT to make. My mouth is literally watering! Looks like I will be abandoning this new diet of mine pretty quickly.

    • Oh no, I feel awful for preventing people from their diets 😉 But, maybe you’ll agree here, a little sweet sin isn’t too bad, is it? At least, it’s always the better choice to cook or bake at home instead of referring to industrial sweets or meals. So – indulge into this lovely chocolate cake!

  13. I saw that photo of the slice and I had to come here and comment, it looks delicious! We have something similar here in Romania called “amandine” but it has more syrup! Viennese desserts are the best!

    • I haven’t heard of “amandine” before, but I had a look online and I think it looks really yummy. I have to admit, sweets that are covered in chocolate always attract my full attention 😉

  14. Hello,

    Great recipe but I have a question. What degree (Celcius or Fahrenheit) does the syrup for the glaze should be before adding the chocolate.


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