Getting a bite of the World’s Most Famous Cake

Photo by Wien Tourismus | www.peterrigaud.com

Photo by Wien Tourismus | Peter Rigaud

Having a sweet tooth, I probably first knew about the Sachertorte before learning any name of a single popular, historical building in Vienna.

Vienna is home to the Original Sachertorte, two layers of dense, not overly sweet chocolate cake with a thin layer of apricot jam in between the layers and dark chocolate frosting on the top and sides. It is known as the world’s most famous chocolate cake.

And there are two famous, rival places to go for the cake in Vienna – Hotel Sacher or the Demel cafe.

I had my Sachertorte at Hotel Sacher.

When I was in Vienna just a couple of months ago, I was kind of obsessed to try and taste the world’s most popular cake but I didn’t know much about it until the Filipino (surprise! He’s lived in Vienna for 30 years) waiter who served me at the Hotel Sacher cafe shared to me a story that in Vienna, they take chocolate cake so seriously that the city’s two main producers once fought a nine-year legal battle about it.

The cake in question is of course, the Sachertorte.

sachertorte at cafe sacher 2

The legal battle, which ran from 1954 to 1963, was centred on which had the right to call its Sachertorte the “original”.

A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY 

The first Sachertorte was created for Prince Metternich in 1832 by Franz Sacher, a 16-year-old pastry apprentice in the royal bakery. He was decades ahead of his time as the chocolate industry only began developing in the mid-1800s, and it wasn’t until the late 19th century that chocolate cakes became common. Sacher’s son Eduard, who served as an apprentice at the Demel pastry shop, refined his father’s recipe and took it with him when he opened the ornate Hotel Sacher in 1867.

cafe sacher

Because of this, the Sachertorte was the subject of a lengthy legal battle between Hotel Sacher and Demel. In 1955, the Commercial Court ruled Hotel Sacher’s version closest to Franz’s pioneering recipe and granted the hotel the exclusive right to identify its cake as the “Original Sacher-Torte.”

The first day that I was in Vienna, I headed to Cafe Sacher to order a slice of Original Sacher-Torte with a generous dollop of unsweetened whipped cream and a cup of Wien Melange. I won’t lie, the weighing scale tells me not too many sweets on this trip but I am eager to blow as many calories on the chocolatey indulgent dessert because of the history. Perfect excuse, no?

TIP WHEN TRYING OUT THE SACHERTORTE IN VIENNA

1. Go there early.

Kaffe Haus

Photo by Wien Tourismus | Karl Thomas

Whether you decide to try out the Sachertorte at Hotel Sacher or at Demel, head out early so you can enjoy the peace and quiet and ponder over the fact that your tongue is going on an adventure to taste a world famous food. Both cafes can get congested later in the day (especially the Cafe Sacher), sometimes with a long waiting time.

2. Don’t rush through it!

Kaffee Haus

Photo by Wien Tourismus | Peter Rigaud

The Sachertorte takes days to make and an afternoon (or morning) to savor. Eating Sachertorte in Vienna is an unhurried ritual, can even be a sweet, romantic date. Put down your phone, while you’re at it, too. This deserves your undivided attention.

* The Original Sacher Torte is still made almost entirely by hand using Franz Sacher’s recipe and is a closely guarded secret.

3. Keep an open mind

sachertorte at cafe sacher

Even if this is reputed to be the “the most popular chocolate cake in the world”, it can’t please everyone. Some like it, some don’t. I’d be curious what you think of it!

So, after my rendezvous with the Original Sachertorte, I wanted to walk around. Vienna’s Ringstrasse, a grand boulevard that encircles the historic city center in a 3-mile loop was just around the corner so I went there for a post-torte power walk. Learn more about Vienna.

Are you going to visit Vienna soon or is it in your travel plan? Would you include ‘eating the Sachertorte’ on your to do list if you’re there?

gluten free carrot cake

Classic Carrot Cake with Coconut Cream Frosting…gluten-free!

gluten free carrot cake

Is 5 am too early to get excited over carrot cake?

I have not posted something about the stuff going on in my kitchen, not that I have stopped cooking but because I have not found anything exciting to mention…until I decided to go gluten-free for health purposes and bought the book, The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook and experimented on the recipes in it.

Suddenly my kitchen was exciting again. Sort of.

Going gluten-free, eliminating wheat from my diet is not a fad for me. I’ve been a migraine sufferer for years and years not knowing what is the cause but speculated on fatigue, stress, astigmatism, etc. I never thought it had anything to do with what I eat. My typical nutrition is fairly what every other person (at least those around me) eats: toast for breakfast, some fruit juices, sandwiches for snacks. Then I read Dax Moy’s Elimination Diet a few years back where it says, “how you look and feel can be traced back to what you eat” and it struck a chord in me. 

Dax suggested to eliminate potential allergens for at least 7 days or as long as you can and then see how you feel. Then re-introduce those foods and see how you feel again. I know this sounds so advertorial but this is my personal experience: the moment I got off from wheat, my headaches were gone. And I used to have headaches at least 4 out of 7 days a week!

So from then on, I knew wheat was the culprit but who can ever avoid wheat completely? Scary enough, wheat is practically in most foods available (especially when you’re eating outside): breads, cookies, cakes, thick soups, sauces, store brought burgers, sausages and most processed foods. Anyway, I’ve been avoiding wheat as much as I can but do indulge in a slice of birthday cake or a piece of bread…and bam! the day after, the headaches would come back.

Long story short, I searched for gluten-free options of snacks and treats for me and my family…something that don’t taste like cardboard or require hours of hard work in the kitchen.  Because, duh, I have a two year old boy, I can’t linger in the kitchen that long. Elana Amsterdam who blogs at ElanasPantry.com opened doors for people like me wanting to go gluten-free and enjoy their food, without feeling sluggish, common effect after consuming wheat – I made Cinnamon Muffins before using the recipe on Elana’s website and from her book, The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook – Banana Blueberry Muffins, Chocolate Chip Scones, Chocolate Chip Cookies, all gluten-free and using almond flour. All of Elana’s recipes are fool proof, even a 10 year old can make it.

With Elana’s permission, here’s the recipe of this rich, moist carrot cake that is healthy and high-protein. Bonus: your room will have that wonderful aroma of cinnamon and coconut so if you’re into those things like me, then this recipe is for you. 

[yumprint-recipe id=’1′]Here’s the ready to serve carrot cake with all that creamy coconut frosting! I baked the cake last night and prepared the frosting but only frosted this morning, at 5 am.  The cake is moist and nice and the kids can’t stop licking the coconut cream frosting! Ok, me too, me too.

Classic Carrot Cake

My daughter said she can’t wait to bring this to school to share with her best friend! If you’re looking for a gluten-free recipe for carrot cake, this really works and it looks like you really labored for it. Guaranteed to impress anyone!