I'm not sure about the rest of the bloggers taking part in this Blogger Bake Off, but when they announced this week would be European cakes, my mind went blank. All I could think of was Tiramisu, which I made in week 4, and Croque en Bouche (way too technical for me). I've been doing so much research this past week as to what I could bake, and on my way I've come across some amazing looking cakes I never knew existed (my cake has a slightly more complicated pastry brother called the Fachertorte. It looks so scrummy!) However some of them looked extremely complicated, and as much as I would love to have given them a go, I really would have needed more practice.
It was one evening that I had an epiphany and remembered last year's Bake Off contestants having the grueling task of making Mary Berry's Sachertorte with a very vague recipe, for the technical challenge. I remember thinking that it looked so glamorous and actually not too complicated once you have the full recipe, so I decide to give it a go.
I found Mary Berry's recipe to be very simple and easy to follow, however I did have a bit of trouble with the piping. I've always veered away from piping because it terrifies me. I take it to heart when I try and get all creative with baking and it turns out looking poop, so this is the first time I've really donned my piping bag (I actually used a sandwich bag), closed my eyes and gone for it. I'm really pleased with how it turned out, but it would have been a disaster if I'd piped straight away. The best advice I can give to anyone with similar piping fears is PRACTICE. Just have a little squiggle on some kitchen roll just so you get the hang of handling the bag.
I'd like to think if I was on the show tomorrow, Mary Berry would be happy with my shiny chocolate and piping skills.
1) Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease a deep 23cm round cake tin then line the base with greaseproof paper.
2) Break the chocolate into pieces, melt gently in a bowl set over a pan of hot water, stirring occasionally, then cool slightly. Beat the butter in a bowl until really soft, then gradually beat in the sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the cool chocolate and the vanilla extract and beat again. Add the egg yolks, then fold in the ground almonds and sieved flour. The mixture will be quite thick at this stage.
3) In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Add about one third to the chocolate mixture and stir in vigorously. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface.
4) Bake in the oven for about 45-50 minutes, or until well risen at the top and the cake springs back when lightly pressed with a finger. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes then turn out, peel off the paper and finish cooling on a wire rack.
5) To make the topping, heat the apricot jam in a small pan and then brush evenly over the top and sides of the cold cake to build up a layer. Allow to set
6) Make the icing by breaking the plain chocolate into pieces. Heat the cream until piping hot, remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted, then cool till a coating consistency. Then pour the icing on to the centre of the cake. Spread it gently over the top and down the sides, and leave to set.
7) For the 'icing' writing, break the milk chocolate into pieces then melt gently in a bowl set over a pan of hot water. Spoon into a small paper icing bag or a sandwich bag if you don't have one and snip off the corner. Before piping onto the cake have a little practice on some kitchen role, just to make sure the consistency is right. Pipe 'Sacher' across the top and leave to set.