There’s been a lot written about chocolate. George Orwell, Ogden Nash, Katharine Hepburn, J.K. Rowling, Charles M. Schulz, Dave Barry and countless others have had their say about the subject. I love chocolate, but not as much as my mom loved chocolate.
Growing up during the Depression gave her a great regard for it as only great scarcity can do. It was always a given that she would want chocolate for her birthday cake. Beautiful chocolate truffles were always a go to whenever I couldn’t think of anything else to get her for a gift. Even during her last days, when nothing else sounded appetizing to her, she still wanted a cup of hot cocoa or a bite of Almond Roca. She also kept describing a delicious little cake that had been served during a tea party at her care facility. It was chocolate, covered in chocolate ganache, with a fruit filling inside. It brought to mind a Sacher Torte that I used to make quite a bit that my mom thought was very good. I made it again recently and it is good! I acquired this recipe more than 30 years ago, so I don’t remember where it originally came from, but here it is for you. My mom would highly approve.
Viennese Sacher Torte
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup hot strong coffee (instant espresso powder works well)
1 cup sugar
¼ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
½ cup apricot preserves
2 tablespoons brandy
Chocolate Glaze (see recipe below)
In the top of a double boiler (or in the microwave), stir chocolate, oil, salt, and coffee over barely simmering water until blended. Pour mixture into large bowl of an electric mixer and add sugar, egg, buttermilk, soda and vanilla; beat on medium speed until well blended.
Add flour and continue beating for 5 minutes, occasionally scraping sides down with a rubber spatula. Pour into a greased and floured 8-inch cake pan.
Bake in a 350°F oven just until cake begins to pull from the sides of pan, about 30 minutes. Set on a rack to cool, then remove from pan.
Cut cake in half horizontally to make 2 layers. Combine apricot preserves and brandy; spread evenly over the bottom layer of cake. Set top layer in place and put cake on a rack.
Slowly pour Chocolate Glaze (see recipe below) onto the center of cake so it flows over the entire surface. With a spatula, guide glaze down over the sides of the cake to coat smoothly. Chill until the glaze is set, at least 30 minutes.
Using a wide spatula, loosen cake from rack and gently slide onto a serving plate. If cake is made ahead, cover without touching and chill up to 6 hours; return to room temperature to serve. Serve with whipped cream if desired. Makes about 10 servings
In the top of a double boiler (or in microwave), over barely simmering water, melt 5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate and 3 tablespoons shortening until melted.