A Brief History of the Sachertorte, Austria's Dreamy Chocolate Cake

There are plenty of elegant cafes in which to enjoy the Viennese Sachertorte
There are plenty of elegant cafes in which to enjoy the Viennese Sachertorte | © Vinciber / Shutterstock
Culture Trip

Coming close in at second place in the contest of Austria’s favourite culinary specialties, succeeded only just by the ubiquitous apfel strudel, is the darkly rich, showy sachertorte. Austrian chef Franz Sacher dreamed up the dessert in the 19th century, creating a simple yet indulgent recipe of chocolate cake laced with a thin slither of apricot jam running through the middle. Here is a guide to the dessert.

Recognisable from its shimmering mirror glaze, and a neat disc of solid milk chocolate on top, the cake is found all over Austria, sitting proudly behind glass counters of bakeries. A sachertorte is only a true sachertorte if served with a generous helping of thick cream, helping to counteract its somewhat dry texture.

The authentic recipe is a preciously guarded secret, developed in 1832 by Franz Sacher, who aged just 16 at the time of its creation, was working as an apprentice at the court of Prince Metternich. Rumour has it, the talented young chef pulled the recipe out the bag while under pressure to create a new dessert for the prince and his guests. The sachertorte was born and became an instant success.

Fork in the sachertorte

Later in 1876, Franz’s son, Eduard Sacher, opened a luxury boutique hotel in centre of Vienna and decided that the cake created by his beloved father should become the trademark of the hotel, sharing the family name of Sacher.
アユコの知らない世界(⁎⁍̴̆Ɛ⁍̴̆⁎) チョコレート講習へ。 オーストリアの代表的なお菓子。 ザッハトルテ 19世紀初めにメテルニヒ候の料理長、フランツザッハーさんが考案した、古典的なチョコレートケーキ。 このチョコレート、鏡のようにピカピカのケーキでした☆彡 #sachertorte #chokolatecake #hotelsacher #チョコレートケーキの王様 👑 #ごちそうさまでした
A post shared by Takahashi Ayu (@ayuppe.t) on Feb 11, 2017 at 7:31pm PST
Many counterfeit versions exist and in the 20th century, the torte was caught up in a complex legal battle between Hotel Sacher and Demel Bakery, who quarrelled over who was the true holder of the stamp of ‘The Original Sachertorte’. In the end, after a long and arduous war, the case was settled outside of court, with Hotel Sacher ultimately coming out on top when they were granted the legal rights to ‘The Original Sachertorte’.
I had a lot of fabulous bday treats today, but the Sacher torte my mom ordered direct from the Hotel Sacher in Vienna takes the cake. #sachertorte #wien #vienna #dasoriginal #hotelsacher A post shared by Suzanne Klein (@teafoodie) on Feb 14, 2017 at 8:31pm PST
December 5 is National Sachertorte Day in Austria, so, if you happen to visit Vienna around this time be sure to participate by popping down to Hotel Sacher to indulge in a slice of this acclaimed, glorious dessert.

landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

X
Edit article