Baking a cake fit for a princess—the crowned one at that—is a tiny bit intimidating. But I knew it was something I had to at least try after chatting with Lindsay Emory, the author of The Royal Runaway, which is out October 9. Over glasses of complimentary wine in a hotel bar, we discussed her new book and this website. I wondered aloud if their might be a dish in the book that could be made.
There was: Sachertorte.
Before this baking adventure, I’d never tried one of these torte, but I was familiar after taking four years of high school German. (Unfortunately while doing flashcards with my high school mentee, I realized the language didn’t stick. So at least I have memories of the foods we learned about.) If you’re unfamiliar, the Sachertorte is a heavy chocolate sponge cake topped with apricot preserves and a rich, dark chocolate icing. Though similar recipes were around as early as the 1700s, the cake came to fame—and earned its name—when Franz Sacher, then a 16-year-old apprentice, made it at the request of of prince.
With perfectly royal roots, I had to give it a try. I returned from the RWA Conference and attempted to make this dish before my advanced copy of the book arrived. After I read the book, I realized just how perfect the Sachertorte was for it.
Sophie set the chocolate cake and vodka in front of me. “Austrian chocolate and Russian vodka,” she said. “It seems appropriate, given the circumstances.”
That’s as much of a teaser as I’ll share, because I don’t want to reveal any spoilers. Trust me when I say that simple offer of a slice of cake for lunch turns into much, much more in a few short pages.
Though simple in its ingredients and appearance, this cake requires a bit of patience. It’s totally worth it for the deliciously decadent result. You can find various versions of this recipe on the Internet. Here’s what I used, pulling insight from several including Epicurious, Austria.info and Wolfgang Puck.
For the cake:
4.5 ounces bittersweet chocolate
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners sugar
6 eggs, separated, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
For the filling:
1 cup apricot preserves
2 tablespoons rum
For the chocolate glaze:
1.5 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
For whipped cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to cream butter and confectioners sugar. Add six egg yolks, one at a time. Add in the melted chocolate and vanilla.
In another bowl, beat together six egg whites with granulated sugar at a high speed until it forms peaks. Fold the egg whites into the other batter, one large spoonful at a time. Do not overmix, leaving a few wisps of egg whites. Sift the flour into the mixture half a cup at a time. Again, do not over mix.
Pour into lined cake pan and bake 45 minutes. Remove and allow to cool before assembling.
Cut cake in half to create two layers.
In a small pan over medium heat, combine apricot preserves with rum. Warm until melted and pour over each layer of cake. Stack the layers and place on parchment paper.
In another bowl, combine sugar, water and bittersweet chocolate to create a glaze. Allow to cool slightly before pouring over cake. Let the glaze fall over the edges, scooping remnants from the parchment paper back to the top repeatedly until the cake is appropriately covered.
Create an unsweet whipping cream with the suggested ingredients and serve alongside a slice of the cake.
I received an ARC of The Royal Runaway. The drama surrounding Harry and Meghan’s royal wedding has nothing on Princess Thea’s. After being jilted at the altar by her fiancé, she’s just returning to royal life when she meets a handsome stranger at a bar who changes everything she thought she knew about her ill-fated nuptials and her family’s legacy. With at ticking clock—and a growing attraction to her new partner—Thea must uncover the mysteries surrounding her life while also coming to terms with her duty to the crown.
Part heart-pounding romance, part spy thriller, I stayed up half the night turning the pages as quickly as I could to find out what was in store for Thea and Nick in this fast-paced story. This was a fresh and welcome take on the royal trope, and I enjoyed every moment.