I am super pleased to share the newest installment of ‘Be My Guest’. Today’s guests are Liz and Jewels. Not only are they my first European guests, they are also the bloggers behind the blog that inspired this feature.
Liz is a designer and cookbook author in Germany and Jewels is a German photographer based in the US. They launched their blog to stay in touch and share wonderful recipes. Each week they challenge each other to a recipe and share it on their blog.
Liz and Jewels are also contributors to Decor8, Liz is the author of 3 cookbooks, which Jewels photographed, and they are hosts of successful food styling and photography workshops in New York and Münster. Quite a list of successes, right?
So today the cook-off is between the three of us and showcases an amazing Sachertorte – you know, that wonderfully dense Austrian chocolate cake with apricot jam and chocolate ganache icing?
It’s my birthday tomorrow, so Liz and Jewels kindly chose to bake me a birthday cake – isn’t that sweet? And they picked an amazing one – simple to make, very tasty and tastes great a few days after baking, which is the best treat a few days after celebrating.
This cake takes me right back to a European Cafe. It was great to go back to a traditional cake recipe, but to still make it in layers the way I like it. I always forget how easily a beautiful shiny ganache comes together and that a cake can be iced much faster that way than with frosting. I’ll be doing it more often now.
Thank you Liz and Jewels for joining me today and for sending me virtual birthday cakes with candles!
- 140g/5oz plain chocolate
- 140g/5oz unsalted butter, softened
- 115g/4oz caster sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 5 free-range eggs, separated
- 85g/3oz ground almonds
- 55g/2oz plain flour, sieved
- For the topping and the icing
- 6 tbsp apricot jam, sieved
- 140g/5oz plain chocolate
- 200ml/7fl oz double cream
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease a deep 23cm/9in round cake tin then line the base with greaseproof paper.
- Break the chocolate into pieces, melt gently in a bowl set over a pan of hot water, stirring occasionally, then cool slightly. Beat the butter in a bowl until really soft, then gradually beat in the sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the cooled chocolate and the vanilla extract and beat again. Add the egg yolks, then fold in the ground almonds and sieved flour. The mixture will be quite thick at this stage.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are stiff but not dry. Add about one-third to the chocolate mixture and stir in vigorously. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface.
- Bake in the oven for about 45-50 minutes, or until well risen at the top and the cake springs back when lightly pressed with a finger. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes then turn out, peel off the paper and finish cooling on a wire rack.
- To make the topping, heat the apricot jam in a small pan and then brush evenly over the top and sides of the cold cake. Allow to set.
- Make the icing by breaking the plain chocolate into pieces. Heat the cream until piping hot, remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted, then cool till a coating consistency. Then pour the icing on to the centre of the cake. Spread it gently over the top and down the sides, and leave to set.
Liz and I decided to make the cake in layers, which works well and allows for a little more jam. Feel free to use dark chocolate or milk chocolate and any jam you like - I used apricot because it's one of my favourites, but Jewels used cherry jam.