I promise. These questions came in recently from reader Joseph H.:
– I saw no mention of raspberry jam. I keep hearing that you can use raspberry or apricot. Personally, I prefer apricot, and was glad to see it prominently featured in your posts. What gives with raspberry?
– The recipe that I was given in cooking school featured a flour mixture containing ground almonds. In fact, it had more almonds than actual flour. It makes sense to me, seeing as we’re counting on the egg whites to provide structure instead of the flour, and in fact any gluten formation would really be detrimental to the final product. The recipe I have makes a big deal out of there being more almonds than flour. But you have no almonds. What gives?
Concerning the raspberry, to my knowledge apricot is the only officially acceptable filling and/or coating for a Sacher torte. I’m not saying it wouldn’t be delicious, strained of seeds of course, but it might give poor Gerhard a heart attack. As for the almonds, my feeling is that the classic Sacher torte cake layer once contained, and perhaps still contains, some measure of almond flour. That would be very consistent with the Austrian cake-making tradition. You’ll sacrifice some in terms of height (almond pieces are heavier that flour), but you’ll gain in tenderness and flavor. Swap out however much flour you’d like, but my personal suggestion is no more than a third.
UPDATE: Gerhard adds:
Meinl in Vienna (which is kind of like Harrod’s in London, but only about exquisite food), offers a Sacher Torte-like cake that contains no wheat flour but almond flour. It adds a real gold flourish on the chocolate glaze and is sold as “Millenium Torte”. It tastes very similar to Sacher, the texture is very moist though…. you wouldn’t want to eat that with whipped cream.