I have a sweet tooth, in fact, I believe all my teeth are actually the sweet ones. And as someone who loves to travel, my one mission in life is to eat a lot of desserts – especially ones that might be special to the country or the place.
Vienna’s Sacher Torte – essentially known as the world’s best chocolate cake with the most controversial history – is a cult brand. It is a must do, when in Vienna. So, in the walking tour which we arrived to (very rushed and huffing and puffing), our lovely tour guide stopped us right in front of Hotel Sacher – the famous hotel that lends its name to the delicious cake.
A recipe created 200 years ago, the original cake – that is served at Hotel Sacher is a chocolate cake with a layer of apricot in the middle and on the top – with a final layer of chocolate icing on the top. It comes with an official Sacher Chocolate seal.
In 1832, Price Metternich commissioned his chef to create a new dessert. The chef was ill, so his apprentice, Franz Sacher (If you’ve been to Austria – you’ll learn that ‘Franz’ is a very common name) took over and created the cake.
At that time, chocolate cakes had already been around for a 100 years in Vienna – and this was just a new amalgamation – that created its own history. The cake quickly gained popularity and was deemed suitable for the Imperial court (aka the king and the queen).
The recipe was actually perfected by his son, Eduard Sacher – who was working at Cafe Patisserie Demel at the time. Demel, also close to where the Imperial Court is – was already a popular choice for desserts and pastries for the elite. His Sacher Torte was deemed delicious and continued to serve to the Imperial Court and the public.
In those times, if the Imperial Court approved of something – it became the cult thing – pretty much how it goes with celebrities these days.
The cake’s sudden popularity got lots of money – and in 1876, 34 years after the original recipe, Eduard founded the Hotel Sacher – and of course, started selling the cake there (exclusively). The cake became known as ‘Eduard Sacher Torte’
It was probably not all good sailing, because in 1934, the hotel went bankrupt, and Eduard Sacher’s son – also named Eduard Sacher (not at all confusing), went to work at Demel (where his father used to). He eventually transferred the single ownership of the Eduard Sacher Torte to Demel.
Four years later, around the same time when Hitler conquered Austria, the battle between Hotel Sacher and Demel began. All because Hotel Sacher wanted to register their Sacher torte as the official sacher torte.
The two argued about the number of layers of apricot jam and whether it was made with butter or margarine. Up until this point – I thought those two were the same.
Still with me? Great!
It took almost 20 years for the dispute to resolve and the tired court (I hope they got to eat a lot of the cake, at least), decided that Hotel Sacher will have two layers of apricot jam, the official stamp and be known as the Original Sacher Torte; while Demel will have one layer of apricot jam, their own triangular stamp and be known as the Eduard Sacher Torte. Demel now calls it Demel’s Sacher Torte.
The conclusion is its chocolate cake. Just eat it.