Monday, October 27, 2014

Daring Bakers' Challenge October 2014: Sachertorte

This month's Daring Bakers' challenge was a definite "11th hour" things for me! I'm pretty sure that someone hit the turbo speed button on the month, because it seemed to FLY by. Well, the day before the baking deadline, there I was melting chocolate, beating egg whites, measuring flour, folding, and baking to make my first ever sachertorte!

What, you ask, is a sachertorte? Simply put, it is a dense Austrian chocolate cake that uses beaten egg whites as a leavening agent, incorporates apricot jam as a flavor layer, and is encased in a poured layer of chocolate ganache. The key is to incorporate the egg whites without deflating them ... no easy task... and no tidy task, either.

I was actually really excited about this month's challenge because Eric and I have recently gotten hooked on a show out of the UK called "The Great British Bake Off" and one of the technical challenges given during one of the episodes was a sachertorte. The show is hosted by two well-known bakers from the UK: Mary Berry (isn't that the best name ever??) and Paul Hollywood.

As I worked on my creation last night, I had many thoughts running through my head, but the most prominent one was "What would Mary Berry say?" Would she think I whipped the egg whites enough? Would she approve of my folding technique? It tickled me how a TV host was so absently involved in my process yesterday. At one point, Conor asked if he could help me prepare the cake... of course, that was just as I was folding in the egg whites, which requires a more delicate touch than he tends to display. Instead, I had him help me sift the flour... much less mission critical, but still make him feel special! :)

I'd read about a number of people having difficulty with the poured chocolate finish provided by the recipe provided for the challenge, so I opted to hedge my bets and use Mary Berry's ingredients and quantities for that aspect of the cake, and I'm glad I did. The poured chocolate went on beautifully and turned out so smooth!

The final touch of a sachertorte is writing "Sacher" on its top. The recipe called for milk chocolate, which is something I'm not a fan of and ... it turns out ... don't even keep in our house. We have dark and semi-sweet chocolate galore, but no milk chocolate. I was concerned that the chocolates I had wouldn't provide enough of a contrast with the poured chocolate, so I opted to use white chocolate for the final touches.

Because of the late hour the sachertorte was finished last night, we decided to hold off on taking it for a taste test run until tonight. So, at this point in time, I have no clue how it tastes, but it sure looks pretty and it rose during its time in the oven, so I'm taking that as a win! :)

(please ignore the flash's reflection in the cake!)

The October Daring Bakers' challenge was brought to us by Korena of Korena in the Kitchen. She took us to Austria and introduced us to the wonders of the Sachertorte.

Update (10/28/14): We dove into the sachertorte last night and gave it a big thumbs up. The kids devoured it! To save us from eating the whole thing, I took the leftovers to work, and my co-workers happily finished off the remaining sachertorte goodness.


liana said...

So, how did it taste ? It looks lovely, Mary Berry is the best indeed :)

Kim said...

Your cake looks so pretty. I am sure your coworkers like mine enjoyed the opportunity to have a slice or two! By the way many times my celebrity chef who is cooking with me is Julia....