Sachertorte is a famous sponge chocolate cake with apricot jam, iced all over with chocolate.
Sachertorte is famous because it has come to evoke Vienna in many people’s minds. It’s also famous because of the bitter fight that was waged over it — more precisely, over where the jam is placed.
Sachertorte was invented in 1832 by Franz Sacher: that, no one disputes.
Somehow the recipe ended up in the hands of the Demel family, who had been bitter rivals to the Sachers. One version says that one of Franz Sacher’s daughters, who isn’t really named, married into the Demel family despite bitter opposition from her own, and to spite her own family, gave the recipe to the Demels. Another version says that one of the Sacher descendants, Eduard, sold the recipe to the Demels in the 1930s.
Two versions of the cake arose. The Sacher version slices the cake in half horizontally and fills it with apricot jam in the middle. The Demel version puts the jam on top the cake before it is iced, making it sort of like a giant Jaffa Cake.
Though the decades passed, the bitter rivalry didn’t. In 1953, the two families went to court over who was allowed to call the cake “Sachertorte”. The court sawed it off: Sacher could calls theirs “original Sachertorte,” Demels could call theirs “original Demel’s Sachertorte”. The Sachers would use a circular seal on their cake; The Demels would use a triangular one.
Many people are still bitter, however, over the court decision.
Pronounced “zakker torteh”