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What to do with a dry Sacher torte?

Since my sister who lives in Rome told me she gets one every Christmas, I thought I'd try one from Cost Plus. Glad I got it half price because it seemed a bit like a glorified Ding Dong. My husband doesn't want me to throw it out without first trying to do something with it--any ideas?

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  1. Drizzle it with rum or a liqueur of your choice and let it marinate in that for a few days. Or make a trifle with it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: greygarious

      LOL greygarious, i posted before i saw your post. great minds…..tee hee.

    2. Process into crumbs and use as a base for rum balls.

      1 Reply
      1. re: prima

        For years there was a fancy very classical bakery in Washington DC called Avignon Freres that had rum balls that were not little cookies but more like big cake. Some time ago I posted on CH an SOS to professional bakers and my respondents said to use cake crumbs, so there you go with your dry Sachertorte.The AF version were rum-soaked and had fruitcake (glace') fruit in them in them, were about 2-3" in diameter (shaped into balls), and were frosted with fudgey chocolate fondant. Maybe the best cake I've ever eaten.

      2. I've had it at both Hotel Sacher and Demel, and the version that Demel exports to the US. All are dry. But a slice is served with a good amount of thick whipped cream to compensate. You might want to try it again this way and with a good cup of coffee.

        More about Sacher torte (and many comments on dryness):

        1. Cut. Then soak in melted vanilla ice cream.

          1. Dunk it into coffee or tea in the morning.

            1. Two thin slices with lemon curd in the middle. And a shot of booze over top. And whipped cream.

              2 Replies
              1. re: pine time

                but Sacher already has a layer of apricot jam...

                1. re: ChristinaMason

                  I'm always willing to gild the lily. :)

              2. Although I have never been to the Hotel Sacher, I have never had a Sacher torte that wasn't dry. I am a decent cook, and mine is dry. I think it is a flawed recipe preserved because of associations, not intrinsic merit. The chocolate cake on the Hershey's cocoa box, augmented with jam if you like, is 162 times better by my calculations. I like the trifle idea a lot and vote you try that and report back!

                24 Replies
                1. re: tim irvine

                  Only 162 times better? lol. I suspect you're right on all counts. I made it at the request of my son after he came back from a semester in Germany. Sometimes once is enough.

                  1. re: tim irvine

                    It's meant to be a dry torte, to be served with whipped cream. http://germanfood.about.com/b/2011/02...
                    Most classic German, Austrian and Hungarian tortes and cakes are going to seem dry to those accustomed to moist, North American-style cakes. It's not flawed, it's a different style of baking.

                    1. re: prima

                      Hee hee. FIL JudiAU who is Austrian and likes a bit of schlag, does not like Sacher torte either. 'Always too dry."

                      So, yes, these are drier style cakes but that doesn't mean that it is good cake.

                      1. re: JudiAU

                        Mr. JudiAU just walked by and saw the thread title. "All sachet torte is dry. The most dry is at the Hotel Sacher."

                    2. re: tim irvine

                      I was away for a few days so couldn't reply till now. Funny you mention the Hershey's cake: I just made the Special Dark version for a friend's birthday today and it looks so good (btw, I sprinkled it with non pariels for some color and it looks like a giant non pariel, so that's what I'm going to call it, "Non Pariel Cake"). Then I looked in the fridge and saw that Sacher torte...yuck,

                      Although the trifle idea is interesting, it tasted too much like a Ding Dong to want to waste any good ingredients on it. I think I'm just going to toss it--esp. since I'm suffering from an over-indulgence/over-abundance of sweets this year. Not only were we given a ton of candies this Christmas, but I had purchased a lot of cakes (stollen, panettone, pound cake) and cookies to serve at an open house a few weeks ago--and very little was eaten.

                      1. re: Thanks4Food

                        Just a friendly fyi, since you're going to the trouble of naming your cake for your friend (which is awesome of you, btw), the correct term/spelling is "nonpareil". :o)

                        1. re: Thanks4Food

                          freeze! please don't toss. re-purpose.

                          1. re: alkapal

                            Re-purpose? This isn't Habitat for Humanity--it's a cake. Why should I waste the freezer space and the calories on something I don't even like?

                            And I'm lactose intolerant which is why I'm ignoring suggestions about ice cream/whipped cream, etc.

                            1. re: Thanks4Food

                              Well, you DID ask for suggestions to improve it. If tossing doesn't go against your grain, nobody's going to stop you other than your husband. If HE eats dairy, you've got a lot of suggestions here for tailoring it for him.

                              1. re: Thanks4Food

                                I'm confused, too. Why did you ask for suggestions if you don't want to repurpose it? It seems like people spent time and energy finding you good solutions for no reason at all.

                                1. re: chowser

                                  Don't be confused: I considered the options and decided this thing wasn't worth saving. Don't you guys ever conclude that something isn't worth saving? I don't do alcohol (much) or dairy and nearly all the suggestions were one or the other or both.

                                  The implication that I was being wasteful by not "re-purposing" it just irked me. This is not some healthful food that it would be a shame to waste--it's a giant Ding Dong. I said that twice before but no one seems to have picked on up it. But I really mean a Ding Dong with that waxy-tasting chocolate coating. Would any of YOU try to salvage a Ding Dong, even a giant one with smidgen of apricot preserves in it?

                                  As for my husband: he doesn't care one way or the other anymore--this IS nearly a week later and it's not as much a shame to throw it out now as it seemed on Christmas Day.

                                  1. re: Thanks4Food

                                    Odd that you would ask for assistance that has been provided in earnest given your a priori Ding Dong worthlessness assessment that you're saying should be apparent to every reader.

                                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                                      i'm with you, melanie.

                                      i mean, why bother asking if you don't care in the first place???

                                      no thanks for food, apparently.

                                      1. re: alkapal

                                        I am very thankful for good food, but saw no reason to use good ingredients on something that isn't good to start with--and as I wrote below, I was trying to please my husband with the original post.

                                        If it makes you all feel better--and apparently it will--I will no longer let you know if I decide not take the offered advice. And I will take a few months off from asking any advice at all.

                                        1. re: Thanks4Food

                                          In the past year, you have asked for, and gotten, good suggestions and help in the execution of quite a variety of recipes, especially during your stint filling in for a monastery cook. In this current thread, it would have helped if you'd noted at the outset that you did not want recipes involving dairy or alcohol, as, if memory serves, those were not caveats in your prior requests. When one is responding to a thread seeking recipe help, it's frustrating to take the time to ferret out some links or other resources, only to realize later, when the OP mentions hitherto-omitted details, that one's effort is irrelevant.

                                          1. re: greygarious

                                            Don't you think you're piling on a bit more than is warranted? How many times must I apologize for annoying everyone?

                                    2. re: Thanks4Food

                                      I get it. After a time, you decided it wasn't worth saving. Throwing out not-so-great food shouldn't be so taboo. It's not worth the calories, the space it takes up, nor the guilt. You won't prevent someone else starving by tossing it. Tossing out edible food shouldn't be done with abandon, but sometimes it just makes more sense.

                                      1. re: MrsJonesey

                                        But there's no need to inform Chowhound if you decide to toss something out. Isn't that a little bit like telling someone you threw out a virtual gift they gave you?

                                        If a Chowhound doesn't want to take some suggestions/recommendations, fine. I don't see why the OP feels the need to tell Chowhounds that she's tossing the torte, unless she's enjoying the repartee (that's why I'm posting). Some Chowhounds, if they felt the need to respond, would respond with a simple thank you, even if they planned to toss the torte.

                                        Happy New Year!

                                        1. re: MrsJonesey

                                          Thank you, MrsJonesey: at least one person got it. I thought I was doing you guys a favor by saying I'm getting rid of it so you wouldn't keep trying to offer suggestions.

                                          It seems what you would have preferred it if I had made my original post and not replied with further posts. But someone had said "Please report back!" I thought it was nicer to let you know that I decided not to try to save it than to have someone out there waiting to know how my trifle turned out.

                                        2. re: Thanks4Food

                                          I throw things out all the time and understand that. What I'm confused about is that you'd decided that it was a Ding Dong tasting cake, not worth spending money/ingredients or energy on so why ask for people to expend their time and energy to give you solutions you're not going to take? Personally I did take some time to google recipes for you that might suit your request. Had I known, I wouldn't have bothered.

                                          1. re: chowser

                                            I'm very sorry I put you out, Chowser, but I was doing it for my husband's sake. When I convinced him that we had better-tasting things available, he gave up on the idea of trying to save it.

                                  2. re: Thanks4Food

                                    Before you throw it away, get some vanilla ice cream and cut the torte into slices and make an ice box cake with it layered vertically with the ice cream. That'll moisten it up, and I'll bet you husband wont object. ;)

                                  3. re: tim irvine

                                    I had it at the Hotel Sacher. Meh. Many years ago, at a bakery in Greenwich Village called Mrs. Douglas, I had the epiphany of all chocolate cakes to which I compare all others. The Sacher did not match up well. I like the shlag though!

                                    1. re: teezeetoo

                                      I'd measure Sachertorte against other Sachertortes, rather than against all chocolate cakes. I think people who like Sachertorte like it for what it is, not because it's a good example of a chocolatey chocolate cake. :)

                                      I'm not aware of any classic European tortes that are as chocolately as North American chocolate cakes. Princeregententorte has a lot of chocolate buttercream, but the cake layers are white spongecake. Traditional Blackforest Torte in Europe also isn't nearly as chocolately as the North American versions of Blackforest Cake, in my experience.

                                  4. booze and lots of it.

                                    then turn that into a trifle!

                                    1. I've done this with leftover chocolate cake that has dried out a bit, or cake that came out dry to begin with : break it up into chunks and place in a dish. Cook up some chocolate pudding (homemade for me - I haven't used pudding mix in years), pour it over the cake while hot, and let it cool and set.

                                      Something about this combo is greater than the sum of its parts - it always comes out scrumptious, more than you would think of cake+pudding.

                                      3 Replies
                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                          Glad you liked it! It occurs to me that a drizzle of booze (rum, kirsch, brandy, Grand Marnier, whatever) over the cake before the pudding goes on wouldn't be a bad idea either.

                                          1. re: jdub1371

                                            kirsch is brushed on with a pastry brush. Just a hint does it.

                                      1. If you have an imbibing needle (comes with some basters) you can poke holes through the frosting and imbibe it with rum or sugar syrup or whatever else you can think of that might go with the SacherTorte. That's what I'd try.

                                        They're really not hard to make from scratch.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                          Could also poke holes and add chocolate syrup to make a SacherPokeTorte. I don't own an imbibing needle, but I've used a toothpick to make garden variety poke cakes. ;-)

                                          1. re: prima

                                            What about trying a sacher torte chocolate tres leches cake? Use this three milks to pour over the cake w/ holes poked in.


                                            I think it would be much better than chocolate syrup.

                                            1. re: prima

                                              sachertorte is not sweet. No to syrup.

                                            1. I'm with the rest- liqueur it up. Though, it's kind of hard to saturate the cake with a liqueur syrup when it's already been covered in ganache and preserves. I'd probably make some version of trifle/tiramisu with it. If you ever dare to try again in future, be sure to use a European butter with low water content/high fat and perhaps bake it at a slightly lower temperature and/or for a bit less time. Also, maybe you're beating the flour too much- developing the gluten and check on the cocoa type. Maybe you're using alkalized vs. non-alkalized? Personally, I use chocolate, unsweetened or otherwise in lieu of cocoa powder almost exclusively. Just some thoughts. Best of luck!

                                              1. hmmmmm..... I've never had a Sacher torte that most Americans don't think is "dry." But then if you bought it from Cost Plus, heaven knows how long it has been sitting on a shelf! Soooooo... Before I re-purposed it, I would find a cardboard box that the plated torte will fit into, line the bottom of the box with aluminum foil, roll some paper towels into "ropes," then get them pretty wet and spread them along the inside bottom of the box, then put the torte on a plate in the box and close up the lid. Then let it sit on the counter top or some place safe for a day or two to "re-hydrate." THEN, if it's still dry, as Melanie suggests, serve it up with a mountain of whipped cream beside it!

                                                The Austrian tradition for Sacher torte is unsweetened or very lightly sweetened whipped cream, but American taste buds prefer the sugar content full speed ahead.

                                                Good luck!

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                  Have to agree with Caroline1. I bought the Cost Plus one last year, it was dry and really flat. I wasn't entirely surprise, it's a box cake that required no refrigeration, shipped from Europe with a disturbingly long expiry date on it.

                                                  It is no where even close to the Sachertorte at Demel in Vienna, or a coffee houses in Budapest. And I am not a fan of it myself, I find it a bit too rich. I prefer a Dobostorte.

                                                2. I make Sachertorte about 4-6x per year, using a cake bake form, a few ingredients, and a Bain Marie. It is not that hard, and I had a few that were a bit dry in the beginning.

                                                  Rather than add brandy onto the chocolate outer layer, the technique used to rehydrate the cake is from the bottom of the cake layer.

                                                  1. Using a plate (photo) with a lip that will hold liquid, add a few drops of brandy into the center of the plate, spreading them out and around.

                                                  2. Using a cake lifter, then place the Sachertorte onto the moist plate very carefully.

                                                  3. Cover the cake and plate with plastic, foil, or a cover. I used a Dr. Oetker Cool Cake carrier for this, which also protects it in the refrigerator.

                                                  4. It is important not to move the cake at this point, but to let it rest in a refrigerator for 24 - 48 hours undisturbed.

                                                  First, as the original recipe calls for Apricot brandy in the filling layer, that is what I would also use to rehydrate a dry torte. Something else may yield a conflicting taste.

                                                  Second, to keep your torte moist, cut or divide the cake at the 1/3 level, and not exactly at the 1/2 level ( photo). When you spread the apricot & brandy preserves at this level, it will keep things moist at the bottom, and upwards. You can also double up on the apricot spread at the cake top, just under the chocolate layer.

                                                  Third, always keep the torte covered to maintain the moisture.

                                                  As mentioned, this is traditionally served with a large side dollop of fresh cream. Rather than ship and receive a dry torte, I would urge those interested to try making one.

                                                  1. I was in Salzburg in September and had the Sacher torte at the Hotel Sacher. It was dryish but not dry. But I knew it would be like that. Served with whipped cream and a pot of tea I loved it. No, it's not the best cake I ever had but I was in Salzburg eating cake at a famous cafe! How is that bad?

                                                    If your cake is too dry I would probably layer it in a trifle with homemade custard and apricot jam and a bunch of whipped cream!

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Jpan99

                                                      Nice photo !

                                                      Seeing it, I wish I were there.

                                                      1. re: Jpan99

                                                        Now that looks gorgeous--the chocolate looks thick and delicious.

                                                      2. I've bought this sac her torte Oct 4 from Demel & Hotel Sacher. It's the ends of October already and haven't opened it yet. Any idea of the expiry? Can't seem to see expiry date. It's been a month long. Just want to make sure if this has to be thrown away or still ok to be served. Thanks.