I decided to make a Sachertorte for Rene’s birthday. I followed the recipe from Mary Berry on BBC Food. Though I’ve not made this before, I followed the recipe to the letter and it worked out really well. I don’t normally use electric mixers when I’m baking – partly because I can’t be bothered washing them but also because I like the satisfaction of making things “by hand”. This doesn’t extend to hand-building an oven.

Five egg yolks…

The trickiest part of the recipe for me was getting the egg white to the right consistency and then folding it into the chocolately mixture without completely deflating it. The bubbles in the egg white are the only raising agent in the cake, if you can call them that.

Mixed cake batter

Once the batter was in the oven I could get the washing up done! When it came out it was cracked around the top and had risen to a mound shape around this crack. I was really worried about that at first but in the end it deflated again. The crack would be covered by the ganache icing anyway.

Speaking of ganache, I think it might be my favourite cake topping. It gives such an impressive look for the effort you put in. It’s just two ingredients – chocolate and cream.

Trying not to steal a bit.

All you need to do is heat up the cream until it starts to emit steam, then stir in the chopped chocolate off the heat. Eventually you end up with a really, really shiny chocolate-cream goo. Which is utterly delicious.

Making ganache

You can work with the ganache at various stages. As it cools it thickens, and you can pour it over a cake to get a mirror-shine finish like below.

Poured ganache

The ganache can also be left to cool further and spread with a palette knife, as the recipe above suggests. Even more fun – you can refrigerate it and make truffles by making small pieces using a melon baller or two spoons, and rolling them in cocoa powder. I made some balls of leftover ganache and used them to decorate the cake after I’d taken it to work.


Transporting this on the Metro was slightly hazardous, but it all worked out in the end and Rene approved of its authenticity!


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