CHOCOLATE-STRAWBERRY SACHERTORTE

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Makes 10 servings

While researching my book Kaffeehaus, I collected many recipes for Sachertorte, which just might be the ultimate Viennese coffeehouse dessert. The Viennese like their Sachertorte without frills—just a dense chocolate cake with a shiny chocolate glaze (really a thin fudge, and none too easy to make) and a big dollop of whipped cream. This authentic approach is sometimes too austere for American tastes, so here’s a somewhat simplified version that uses strawberries to bring the components together. And don’t skip the whipped cream, which is really needed to moisten the firm cake.

CAKE

  • 5 ounces semisweet chocolate (no more than 62% cacao), finely chopped
  • 9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon)
  • unsalted butter, at cool room temperature, plus more for the pan
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup strawberry preserves (not sugarless)

CHOCOLATE GLAZE

  • ²/3 cup heavy cream
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate (no more than 62% cacao), finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 10 large strawberries with stems for garnish
  • Sweetened whipped cream for garnish
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Lightly butter the inside of a 9-inch springform pan. Line the bottom with a round of wax paper. Dust the inside of the pan with flour and tap out the excess.
  2. To make the cake, melt the chocolate in the top part of a double boiler set over hot, not simmering, water. Remove the insert from the heat and let the chocolate cool until tepid but still pourable, about 10 minutes.
  3. Beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer set on low speed until the mixture is combined, about 1 minute. Increase, the speed to high and beat, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl, until light in color and texture, about 3 minutes. Beat in the chocolate. One at a time, beat in the egg yolks, again scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, then the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the granulated sugar, flour, and salt.
  4. Using clean beaters, beat the whites in a medium bowl with an electric mixer set on high speed just until soft peaks form. Stir one-fourth of the whites into the chocolate batter to lighten the mixture, then fold in there remaining whites. Spread evenly in the pan.
  5. Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool on a wire cake rack for 10 minutes. Remove the sides of the pan. Invert the cake onto the rack and remove the pan bottom and wax paper. Invert again so the top of the cake faces up and let cool completely.
  6. Bring the preserves and 1 tablespoon water to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Boil for 1 minute. Strain through a wire sieve into a small bowl and press firmly on the solids in the sieve. Discard the solids. Let the strawberry glaze cool slightly.
  7. If the top of the cake has domed, trim off the domed part with a serrated knife so that the top is flat. Discard the cake trimmings. Place the cake on the wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the strawberry glaze over the top of the cake, being sure to fill any small holes in the cake with the glaze.
    Smooth the glaze over the top of the cake with an offset metal spatula,
    letting the excess run down the sides. Use the spatula to pick up the glaze on the baking sheet and spread onto any unglazed areas of the cake. Let cool until the glaze has set, about 30 minutes.
  8. To make the chocolate glaze, bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Let stand until the chocolate softens, about 3 minutes. Add the corn syrup and stir with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. (Do not whisk, as this creates air bubbles that will mar the surface of the glaze.) Let cool until slightly thickened but still liquid and pourable, about 20 minutes.
  9. Transfer the cake on the rack to a clean rimmed baking sheet. Pour the chocolate glaze over the top of the cake and smooth the glaze with an offset metal spatula, letting the excess run down the sides. Use the spatula to pick up the glaze on the baking sheet and spread onto any unglazed areas of the cake. Place the stemmed strawberries around the top perimeter of the cake. Refrigerate until the glaze has set, about 30 minutes. (The cake can be made up to 1 day ahead. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.)
    Using a sharp knife dipped in hot water and dried between each slice, cut the cake into wedges. Serve, with a large dollop of whipped cream next to each slice.

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