Monday, 10 October 2011

The Great Sachertorte Skirmish of 2011

Hi all,

This weekend saw another bake-off between The Boy and I.

The challenge? Inspired by the Great British Bake-Off, we decided to make Sachertorte. I've wanted to make this cake for ages, and having had a taste of some at the Clandestine Cake Club, I wanted to make it even more. So off we went to get ingredients, at Saturday at 4pm saw us lock horns in our little inter-city, pan-regional baking event. This bake-off was very important to me after The Great Cheesecake Debacle. My baking pride was at stake.

The recipe I used (I will get round to posting recipes on here one day, I promise), called for a lot of egg white whisking, which is very hard work, but worth it for the light, fluffy texture of the cake. Then, in a high-risk, high-potential pay-off move, I went for a topping made with a sugar syrup instead of a cream-based ganache. High risk, because i don't own a thermometer and i know how precise you have to be when it comes to sugar, so i just had to guess when it got to 120o. Luckily I remembered to buy a new piping set as my trusty old piping syringe got lost in my move after christmas.

The cake baking started out ok, with a nice sized, nicely risen cake. I then covered it with apricot jam, and attempted to top it with the chocolate topping. This was far too runny though, and lots and lots of coats had to be applied before it would start to stick. Even after being left in the fridge overnight, the topping still hadn't set, but i had enough on there to pipe the decoration on. Sachertorte traditional has the word 'Sacher' (after Franz Sacher, the inventor of the cake) on the top in chocolate. Herein lies an inherent problem i have with baking: Just go ahead and wing it, and hope for the best, or practice, and risk doing it perfectly on your practice then messing it up on the real thing. I decided to have a practice on the basis that The Boy is very precise, so i would have to be too in order to win. The piping turned out ok, although the practice was definitely better than the real thing.

The apricot jam is applied
Runny chocolate coating is ridiculously messy!

Practice went ok!
The real one didn't go quite as ok, but is still acceptable

The cake went back in the fridge, then when I checked on it later, the S had migrated as the cake had been at a bit of an angle in the fridge. This was a total disaster, but all was not lost as i managed to gently nudge the rogue letter back to its rightful place.

Rogue S!
Once he had finished, it was time for judging. As you know, we take great pains to blind our efforts from our 'independent' judge, Nancy. However, she felt she had to bow out of this competition as she thought she had guessed whose was whose from the piping (and obviously, knowing she wouldget cake from me if i won, this would put her independence into jeopardy.

So this time, we had a grand total of 5 judges. 3 of my friends, and 2 of his. And the score? 4-1 to ME!! And, if i do say so myself, my sachertorte was a triumph. It was baked perfectly, tasted wonderful, and looked alright in the end, despite the slightly dodgy topping. It was very quickly snaffled by my friends and colleagues.

note the uniform texture inside. I'm well proud of that, I am!

Part of me wants to make this again, immediately. The rest of me is saying "don't you ever, ever make this ever again. Quit while you're ahead!". I guess we shall see....

Aaaand here they are... The long awaited photos of The Boy's *losing* cake...

Very precise piping, but the lack of swirly bits may have decreased  the prettiness factor.

More gooey than mine, which is good, but not as uniformly baked...
I know, I know, I am a terrible winner. And I am also a terrible loser, which doesn't matter in this particular case ;)

Hayley xxx

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