January calls for self-indulgent treats like the voluptuous Austrian chocolate Sachertorte with moist stripes of apricot jam. The jam makes it different from other layered sponge cakes like the chocolate ganache cake. And even though the homemade version may not quite measure up to the pieces served in the Hotel Sacher in Vienna, it does make a darn good substitute.
For the layers
150 g butter
150 g sugar
200 g good dark chocolate
½ vanilla pod
6 egg yolks
120 g flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cocoa
6 egg whites
250 g apricot jam (or 200 g dried apricots chopped, boiled and blended with 50 ml water and 100 g sugar)
For the icing
150 g dark chocolate
80 g sugar
150 ml milk
100 g butter
2 tbsp cocoa
Blend the apricot jam – or make it yourself with dried apricots, as described above.
Break chocolate into pieces and melt it gently in a bowl set over a pan of hot water.
Beat butter with half the sugar and seeds from the vanilla pod.
Continue whisking while you add egg yolks one by one till you have a light and smooth mixture.
Stir in the slightly cooled melted chocolate.
In another bowl whisk the egg whites with the other half of the sugar until it forms white tops.
Stir egg whites vigorously with a little of the butter-egg yolk mixture, and gently fold in the remaining egg whites.
Sift in the flour mixed with cocoa and baking powder and fold it in gently.
Pour the mixture into a tall sided pre-greased baking tin.
Bake in the oven at 170 C /335 F for 50 minutes.
Leave to cool before you release the cake from the tin and slice it horizontally through the middle to make two even layers.
Place one layer on a serving plate and spread with blended apricot jam.
Put the other layer on top and leave it to set while you prepare the icing.
Heat up the milk, sugar, butter and cocoa, remove it from the heat and stir in chopped chocolate to make it melt.
Cover the chocolate sachertorte with a thick layer of icing and leave it to set before serving.