Sachertorte: Classic Chocolate Sponge Cake

Since birthday season in my family is starting, I thought a cake recipe would be fitting.

Although I am far away from them (most of them are in Mexico), we still remember and rejoice each others birthdays. So this cake is dedicated to my cousin (even though he doesn’t really love chocolate) for his birthday and my sister, simply because she LOVES this cake…. Felicidades Alde!!

This yummy cake is very light and airy. The apricot jam is a nice surprise amidst the dark chocolate layers, and the frosting is decadent and extremely easy to make! It’s a wonderful pairing of flavors.

The aerated texture of the cake layers balances the richness of the dark chocolate, preventing this cake from being overwhelming.

To know more…

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Sachertorte is a typical Austrian- Viennese to be exact- dessert. Although there is a bit of controversy regarding the original recipe, it is traditionally made with sponge cake. Sponge cake is a classic recipe that any cook can and should master. Unlike other recipes, the one I’m using does not use butter, so the result is a less dense and lighter cake.

Classic Chocolate Sponge Cake
Since this cake is done using the foam method- as opposed to the batter- it remains aerated. The following recipe will be divided into three sections the cake, the filling, and icing. Don’t be discouraged, it’s not as long and complicated as it seems :)

Inspired by chocolate sponge cake recipe featured in bon appetit March 2012 issue.



4 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 c + 1 tblsp natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 c cake flour
1/2 c + 6 tsp sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of salt
butter for the pan

3 bowls (1 small, 2 large)
2 whisks (or 1 electric mixer)
two  9x3x3 in metal baking pans (or one 13x9x2 in.)**
rubber spatula
parchment paper
pastry brush

Preheat the oven to 400°. Meanwhile butter metal baking pans  and line the bottom with parchment paper [remember to butter both sides of the paper!].  Dust the pans with 1 tblsp. of cocoa powder.

In a small bowl sift 1/4 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of cocoa powder. Set it aside. In a large bowl, crack 2 eggs. Separate the remaining 2 eggs, place the egg whites in a separate large bowl and add the yolks to the bowl containing the whole eggs [it’s really important that the eggs are at room temperature, this will allow them to whip better, resulting in a more aerated batter]. With a large whisk (or electric mixer), beat the whole eggs and yolks for about 1 minute. Increase your speed and gradually add 1/2 cup of sugar [if you are using an electric mixer, then increase the speed to medium, if you’re using a whisk (like I do) its time to use elbow grease!]. Beat until the mixture is thick and pale [see picture below]. Mix in the vanilla and set aside.

Using a clean and dry whisk, beat the egg whites until light and foamy, sprinkle 1 tsp. of sugar and a pinch of salt. Continue to whisk until you have soft peaks. Then gradually sprinkle the remaining 5 tsp. of sugar and beat until you get a glossy and thick meringue [similar to the one pictured below].

With a rubber spatula, fold half of the meringue into the egg mixture [I like to quickly whisk the egg mixture before adding the meringue, to reincorporate it since it was set aside for a little while]. Sift half of the dry ingredients into the mixture, and carefully fold until just blended. Repeat by adding and folding the remaining meringue, followed by the dry ingredients. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl making sure everything is well incorporated. If you are using two pans [like I did] pour 2/3 of the batter into one pan, and the remaining 1/3 into the other; otherwise, pour all the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Bake until cake springs back when gently pressed, about 12-18 minutes [the pan with 1/3 of the batter will be done at 10-12 min].
Remove cake from the oven and let it cool in the pan on a cooling rack. Once its cool, run a knife around the sides of the pan, place a cutting board on top, and invert the cake onto the board. Carefully peel the parchment paper. Using a serrated knife trim any uneven edges. For an evenly layered cake, grab a ruler and measure the desired thickness of each layer. Before cutting through the cake, make little markings [with your knife] around the four corners, at the desired thickness. Once you’ve made the marking, use them as the guide for your knife. Use a pastry brush to remove any crumbs.


While your cake is baking or cooling make the filling


3-4 tblsp apricot jam
2 tblsp water
1 tblsp rum

small saucepan

In a small sauce pan add apricot jam, water, and rum. Heat slightly over low heat until everything is incorporated. If you want a thicker filling use more jam. Easy right?

Icing & Assembly


3/4 c bittersweet chocolate coins (I like using Valrhona chocolate feve 68% or 70%)
1/2 c whipping cream

small saucepan
rubber spatula
offset spatula
serrated knife

In a small saucepan heat cream over medium-low heat. Once it starts simmering remove from heat. Let stand for about 30 sec. and add chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted, and icing is smooth and glossy. Let the icing cool for about 10-15 minutes.

Using a spoon evenly distribute the filling on each layer of the cake. Pay special attention to the edges of the cake, as they tend to get dry. [The cake really soaks up the flavor of the filling like a sponge, hence the name ].

Before you spread the icing, remove any crumbs with a pastry brush so the icing goes on smoothly. Using an offset spatula spread the icing. Let the icing set.

For a more festive look, I decided to shave some pieces of chocolate on top of the cake.

Hope you enjoyed this & thanks for reading!
Let the parties begin :)

* I didn’t have a 13x9x2″ baking pan as the recipe calls for, so instead I the used two 9x3x3 that I have in the kitchen. Remember recipes are guidelines that you can adapt ;)
~En memoria de Tia Geli~

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Ana says:

    I loooveee this cake! The combination of apricot jam and chocolate is delicious. I’m not into baking, but for this cake im willing to try ;)

  2. Monika says:

    oh no… I am afraid this is far not the original recipe .. not even close …. first of all, the batter of original recipe calls for lots of chocolate and the fact is that it is not a sponge cake at all …. however, nice version of some cocoa delight :)

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