Sachertorte

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Sachertorte a famous Austrian cake served on festive occasions in German-speaking countries. It is a rich chocolate sponge cake glazed in apricot, and iced with bittersweet chocolate.

It was first produced in 1832 by Franz Sacher, chef to Prince von Metternich, and is reputedly the only cake in the world that was ever the subject of a court case. Sarah Kelly (1985) describes how the dispute arose:

when Demel’s, Vienna’s most famous pastry shop, and the Sacher Hotel, owned by a branch of the same Sacher family, contested who had the right to call their product the ‘genuine’ Sachertorte. Demel’s case was based on the fact that the shop had bought the right to produce the ‘genuine’ Sachertorte, stamped with an official seal of bittersweet chocolate, from Edouard Sacher, the grandson of the creator… The Hotel Sacher based their case on the family connection with the cake’s creator. The most discernible difference between the versions from the two establishments was in the placing of the apricot jam … Seven years later, the courts decided in favour of the Hotel Sacher. Demel’s, however, … announced that they would simply market their Torte as the ‘Ur-Sachertorte’, the very first version.