Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sachertorte. Also known as Brownies With Strawberries and a chocolate glaze.

 My refrigerator has the most random things stocked in the side shelves. Things like kimchi, thai red curry paste, marmalade and their less-used ilk jostle for space and manage to stay hidden for a good six months before I'm aware of their existence.

And then I panic about how to use it up, because if there is one thing I cannot stand, it's wasting food.

These strawberry preserves were gifted to us by a Korean friend of Dad's.

It caught my eye when I was searching for vanilla essence. We were visiting my 11-year-old cousin later that evening, and I knew for a fact that she wouldn't let me in without a pan of something-with-chocolate-in-it.

I decided to keep it pretty basic; brownies could never go wrong. The last time, when I had made Spiced carrot cake for the under-15s in the family, I had choice words hurled at me. Not making that mistake again.

Perusing through Hershey's exhausting list of recipes, I came across a recipe for Sachertorte squares. The last time I had Sachertorte had been roughly 15 years back, at Paris. I remember loving the intensity of the cake, but have never ordered such an old-fashioned cake again, instead ordering doughnuts and truffles.

I substituted the apricot preserves in the original recipes with the strawberry ones we had (I called my cousin up to confirm if she'd go for that flavour combination). If you have a bottle of preserves you picked up at Auroville or received as part of a gift pack, try this recipe.

Sacher torte.

Adapted from the Hershey's website.


For the cake:

1 cup unsalted butter

2/3 cup cocoa powder (please use Cadbury)

1 tsp vanilla essence

1/4 tsp baking powder

1-2/3 cup powdered sugar (I measured after powdering)

3 eggs

1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour (maida)

1/4 tsp salt (do not skip!)

For the filling:

1/2 cup of strawberry preserves

For the Satiny Glaze:

2 tbsps unsalted butter

3 tbsps cocoa powder

2 tbsps milk

Powdered sugar (or preferably, icing sugar), sieved -> up to 1 cup;

1/2 tsp vanilla essence.


For the cake:

1)Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius. Spread foil or butter paper on the bottom and sides of the pan(I used a 13 x 13 inches pan). Grease if using foil. Delay this step if you're a slow worker. Ten minutes of preheating is enough.

2)Melt butter on low heat until half of it melts. Take it off the flame, and immediately stir in the sugar and cocoa. Beat on low speed for about 3 minutes.

3)Let it cool to room temperature. Add in the eggs, one at a time, completely beating in after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

4)In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Add into the wet batter, beating until blended to this consistency.


Usually, I would never, ever beat any batter with flour in it with a hand-mixer. It is the worst thing to do, as the gluten in the flour gets overworked, and you'd end up with delicious cake-flavoured bread. Recipes from Hershey's are crazy that way, though. The consistency and steps are bewildering, but always produce a respectable cake.

5)Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Slide it into the middle of the oven. Next, work on the filling and glaze.

I took out 2 minutes too early, but gooey-ness is a good
thing, right?

6)20-25 minutes later, check on the cake. Pull it out, and try making a dent into the centre of the cake. It should slightly spring back, like a sponge. Let it cool for ten minutes, under the fan. Tip it out into a big serving plate, and carefully remove the foil. Cool completely.

7) Cut the cake into 16 pieces. Slice each piece horizontally. Melt the preserves in the microwave. Put in a spoonful and sandwich the two halves together.

Caution: Boiling hot sugar gives second-degree burns.
It hurts. Adult supervision, next time, I think.

8)Repeat for all the remaining squares. It's tedious, so ask for all the help you can get. Use a butter knife to spread the tops with the Satiny Glaze. Sprinkle cut almonds or sliced strawberries over the top.

For the Satiny Glaze:

Melt butter in a small pan for a minute or so. Stir in the cocoa and milk until it becomes a smooth mix. Add in vanilla. Keep whisking in sugar with a fork, two teaspoons at a time, and keep tasting the mix. Add in a few drops of hot milk, if it gets too dry.

The original recipe called for a whole cup of powdered sugar, but I found even half a cup plenty. Plus, my glaze was sort of crunchy, almost, because I was too tired to sieve the sugar. Icing sugar should tide over this problem.

The not-so-satiny glaze.

The final product!

I stacked them all into a pretty yellow box, but the glaze dripped off and made an almighty mess. A little refrigeration would have shocked them into submission.

The precocious chocolate-monster that I call my cousin grabbed the box off me and had a bite. I waited for a response. Thank you, they're OK, they're good, they're bad. Something.

Wordlessly, she hid the rest of them in a cul-de-sac of the refrigerator. I was slightly upset at the lack of enthusiasm. Until my aunt called next day to complain that nobody found the cake box until that morning, and all of it had been demolished.

That really was, the satiny glaze on the sachertorte. (Happy, Spica?)


  1. Here goes: It looks good. I miss your chocolate filled dessert, etc..

    But did you just end the article with "that was the icing on the cake"??!!

  2. Yes. I guess all the chocolate in my diet, being too much around pun-and-slapsticky humour and writing twice in the same day has amounted to that.

    Those are the excuses you have to buy, at any rate!

  3. That sounds more like you! :)