Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Day 11- Austria!

I had the afternoon off today, so decided that this would be as a good a time as any to visit Austria. Austrian cuisine tends to be on the heavy side - lots of meat, dumplings and stews. Perhaps best known is the Wiener Schnitzel, often cooked in beer. Austrian cooking is most often associated with Vienna, birthplace of Sigmund Freud. And, while I could definitely include research on food and eroticism from a psychoanalytic perspective, I'll just stick to cooking for this blog. But I digress...The Austrian's are most famous for their pastry and cakes, notably Apfelstrudel, or apple strudel and the Sachertorte. For this reason, I decided to eschew the heavy sausage in beer thing and make a well know desert.

  Austria is a landlocked country situated in southern Central Europe. Slightly smaller than Maine, it occupies a territory of approximately 32,000 square miles, which includes much of the mountainous territory of the eastern Alps and the Danube region.


 I settled on the Sachertorte, or Austrian Chocolate Cake - This rich, chocolate cake, also known as Sacher's Cake was created by Franz Sacher when he baked it for an Austrian prince. Traditionally this is served with fresh whipped cream. It sounds hard to make, its actually quite easy:
 


Egg whites & Chocolate batter
Frost first layer of cake with chocolate, then glaze entire cake with apricot preserves


And here's the best part- the finished product!!

Our assessment is that the cake is very good but didn't wow us. I like a dark chocolate, super rich, but not sweet cake. This one was made with semi-sweet chocolate, and I prefer bittersweet. Still, the apricot preserves added a nice tartness to the chocolate flavor, and with whipped cream, it'd be even better. Lastly, although the recipe didn't call for straining the apricot preserves, I would have, since the chunks of apricots looked a little lumpy under the chocolate glaze.

Recipe

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate baking squares
  • 1/2 cup flour

For the filling

  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate baking squares
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves

For the icing

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F (170°C/Gas mark 3) and grease and line with parchment, or waxed paper, two 8-inch round cake pans.
  2. Separate the eggs. Put the whites in one bowl and the yolks in another. Beat the yolks until smooth.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon until creamy. Stir in the egg yolks gradually.
  4. Break the chocolate into pieces and melt in double boiler over low heat or slowly in microwave (10 seconds, stir, 10 seconds, stir & continue until melted) Stir chocolate into the creamed mixture.
  5. Put the egg whites into a large bowl, or mixer fitted with a whip attachment, and whisk until they are firm and form soft peaks when you lift the whisk.
  6. Mix the flour into the chocolate mixture. Then one spoonful at a time, fold the egg whites into the cake batter with a metal spoon.
  7. Pour the mixture into the cake pans. Smooth the top with the back of your spoon and bake the cakes for 35 minutes.
  8. When baked, run a knife around the edge of the cakes to loosen and turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
  9. For Filling: Melt the chocolate in a bowl. Mix in powdered sugar and the butter. Use a knife to spread the chocolate paste onto one half of the cake. Then, put the other cake on top.
  10. Melt the preserves in a pan over a low heat. Spread it over the top and sides of the cake with a blunt knife.
  11. For Icing: Sift the cocoa powder and the powdered sugar into a bowl. Add water, a teaspoon at a time, until it reaches a spreading consistency then spread it all over the cake.

6 comments:

Mary Trelease Beaudet said...

I'm ALL about desserts! This sounds good! I love apricot. I'm thinking raspberry might be a good option, too.

sadie said...

I think raspberry might even be better. If you use apricot, strain it, as it's a little lumpy under the chocolate glaze.

beth berman said...

this looks yummy, and sweet-loving teenager, that is, "one who loves sweets", not "one who is sweet and loving", feels I could successfully- make this! We're going to give it a try w/ strained apricots. We LOVE apricots!

sadie said...

go for it Beth!

witchywoman said...

That actually looks delicious! I made an Armenian Orange Cake that you might enjoy. http://www.food.com/recipe/armenian-orange-cake-252911

sadie said...

did you say cake? did you say orange cake? YUMMMMM!