Death by Chocolate in Austria | My Sacher Torte Hack

I've just thrown down dirt on my fourth casket. Four funerals in four weeks is a bit much. It would have been nice if at least one of them had been interspersed by a wedding. But people were in a hurry to depart and nobody had given much forethought or planning on the matter.

Never mind. I do require some sobering events like these once in a while to ponder the meaning of life and death. So recently, I've been thinking how nice it would be if only I could choose how and where I would die. 

I think I would love to take my last breath in Salzburg, Austria, after enjoying my last mouthful of their Chocolate Sacher Torte. Hopefully, not choking on it. That would be a dreadful way to go. I'd prefer, instead, to savor a mouthful of lovely chocolate melting in my mouth, before I lay back on my pillow and melt away myself. What could be sweeter than a death by chocolate?

And my final wish would be to be buried in St. Peter's cemetery at St. Peter's Abbey in Salzburg. Surrounded by the beautiful Alps in the distance and sheltered by catacomb caves in the fortress hillside.

This might sound very specific and a tad odd, but you see, I love visiting grave yards all over the world, reading the names of the people buried there; when they were born, when they died. I don't know anyone in the graveyards most of the time, but I entertain myself by guessing what their lives might have been like. 

Anyway, the prettiest, happiest graveyard that I have ever come across is at St. Peter's Abbey in Salzburg. I can truly say that the graves are worth dying for.

Grave at St. Peter's cemetery at St. Peter's Abbey in Salzburg
Grave gardens at St. Peter's Cemetery, Saulzburg. This is one of my favourite graves.

Every grave a garden bed, filled with beautiful flowers, is sans tombstone. Anyway, tombstone inscriptions are a bit over the top in my opinion. I don't know what I'd want written on mine. 

'She lived.

And then she died.'

Really, I would much prefer if my grave were just a garden bed filled with all my favorite flowers that would bloom through the seasons. I would love to push up daisies cyclamen, daffodils, pansies, tulips and narcissus. Why stop with just daisies, anyway?

My Favorite Things In Salzburg

A huge fan of my favorite childhood movie, 'The Sound of Music,' I visited Salzburg last spring excited to walk in the steps of Maria and the Von Trapp family children, splash around in the horse fountain in Residence Square, jump up and down the steps at the Mirabel Palace singing do-re-mi and visit Frohnburg Palace which was the Von Trapp residence in the movie.

I did all of that and more, but two of my favourite things were:

1.  Visiting St. Peter's Abbey and Cemetery in Salzburg

Founded in the 7th century, this place was the inspiration for the cemetery and crypts that the Von Trapp family hid from in the movie from the Nazis.

Grave flower bet at St. Peter's cemetery at St. Peter's Abbey in Salzburg, overlooked by catacombs
Another on of my of my favourite graves at St. Peter's Cemetery in Saulzburg, sheltered by the catacombs in the rock hillside.

Calm and serene, I enjoyed every unique garden planted at each grave site.  And the culmination was the the pealing of church bells  that resounded through the little city as all the churches rang their bells at the same time. Extraordinarily joyful, it was a reminder to enjoy every moment of life.

2. Eating Sacher Torte

Sachertorte is a delicious chocolate cake, or torte, of Austrian origin, invented by 16 year old Franz Sacher, supposedly in 1832 for Prince Metternic. The story goes that Franz Sacher filled in when the chef was ill and created this iconic cake that was relished then and continues to be enjoyed through the ages.

For the Original Sacher Torte Recipe- click here.

Soft yet firm, this two layer chocolate cake made with melted dark chocolate (not cocoa powder) is sandwiched between a layer of apricot jam and topped with a smooth and luscious chocolate topping.

My Single Layer Chocolate Cake & Sacher Torte Hack

After my trip to Austria, I was inspired to make my own version of Sacher Torte. It's a twist on the 'Original Sacher Torte,' one that allows me to have my cake and eat it too.

The good part about my one layer chocolate cake is that it's so beautifully dark, and so unbelievably soft, moist, fluffy and chocolatey on the inside.  

But, the great part about my chocolate cake is that it's relatively lower in fat and calories than most other chocolate cakes.  You would never guess the secret ingredient in here is actually thick, fat free Fage Greek yogurt.  Plus, with 3/4 cup of Greek yogurt in this cake, it actually packs this cake with a good deal of protein.

So, that means the best part about my chocolate cake is that I can have another slice without feeling guilty. Now, how about that?

This cake is delicious eaten plain. But can also be frosted with a whipped, light chocolate ganache made with half milk and half cream and then topped off with fresh raspberries. Delish!

Chocolate cake, chocolate gateau, chocolate ganache cake with raspberries, greek yogurt chocolate cake
My low fat chocolate cake topped with a low fat chocolate ganache and fresh raspberries.

For my twist on the Sacher Torte, I bake 2 single layer chocolate cakes and sandwich them with apricot jam. Then top them off with chocolate ganache.

My recipe makes a single layer chocolate cake which bakes beautifully in a 9 inch round cake pan. Do note that this is not a very high cake and I would suggest frosting just the top rather than trying to slice this cake into two layers to frost the center.

Sacher torte hack, Round chocolate cake, chocolate gateau, greek yogurt chocolate cake, single layer chocolate cake, single tier chocolate cake, one layer chocolate cake 9 inch pan
My moist, single layer, low fat chocolate cake. Not too high.

For a rich, shiny top and a soft, moist interior, the chocolate cake is baked low and slow so that the cake rises evenly without drying out on the edges. So, no doming and no unsightly cracks on top. The flat top is ready to frost without needing to level out the top of the cake.

Low Fat Chocolate Cake Recipe in a Nutshell

Step 1. Preheat oven to 325°F and line 9 inch cake pan.

Step 2. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar).

Step 3. Combine the wet ingredients (except hot water) in a separate bowl. (eggs, oil, Fage Greek yogurt, milk and vanilla.) 

Step 4. Combine wet and dry ingredients together.

Step 5.  Add hot water to create a smooth, velvety batter.

Step 6. Bake for 50 minutes.

Chocolate cake, chocolate gateau, chocolate ganache cake, greek yogurt chocolate cake, single layer chocolate cake, single tier chocolate cake
A slice of chocolate cake, frosted with chocolate ganache and ready to dig into.

Kitchen Notes: Tips and Tricks

For a moist chocolate cake:

1. Measure the flour correctly

Too much flour will result in a dry cake. So, for this recipe, rather than relying on cup measures, weigh the flour instead. However, if you don't have a weighing scale, then use cup measures as a secondary alternative, but follow the method below. This recipe calls for  1 1/4 cups of flour.

To measure the flour correctly, first spoon 1 1/4 cups of flour into appropriate measuring cups. Do not compress or flatten the flour. And do not shake the measures to make the flour settle. Pile the flour into the measure and then without shaking the measure, drag a knife over the top of the measure to level the flour. This process is called "spooning and leveling."

Then sift this flour into a plate along with the baking soda, baking powder and salt. This separates the tiny particles of flour and thoroughly blends them with the baking soda, baking powder and salt. It also prevents getting lumps of unmixed leavening agents in the cake that will be very sour and unpleasant to taste.

Now spoon the sifted flour back into the 1 1/4 cup measures and level out the flour again with a knife dragged over the top of the measures. You will find that you have some flour remaining. Discard the remaining flour.

2. Bake at a slightly lower temperature (about 25°F lower)

Most cakes are baked at 350°F, but when baking a chocolate cake bake it at 325°F instead since chocolate cakes are likely to scorch at high temperatures. This will also ensure the cakes rises slowly and evenly which will prevent the top of the cake from doming and getting cracks.

3. Don't overmix the batter

When combining the wet and dry ingredients together, instead of using an electric mixer, just fold them together with a spatula until no trace of the dry ingredients are visible. 

4. Substitutes

If you wish to substitute skimmed milk and fat free Greek yogurt with full fat ingredients, go for it! The cake will turn out just as well. Greek yogurt can also be substituted with sour cream or full fat plain yogurt.

Round chocolate cake, chocolate gateau, greek yogurt chocolate cake, single layer chocolate cake, single tier chocolate cake, one layer chocolate cake 9 inch pan
Straight out of the oven

Recipe for an Easy, Single Layer, Low Fat Chocolate Cake with Greek Yogurt

Prep: 50 minutes | Cook: 50 minutes


Dry Ingredients:

☐ 150 grams all-purpose flour  or  1 1/4 cups flour, sifted, spooned and leveled.
☐ 1/2 cup (45 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (Hershey's cocoa powder)
☐ 1 and 1/4 cups (275 grams) granulated sugar 
☐ 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 
☐ 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 
☐ pinch of salt 

Wet ingredients:

☐ 2 large eggs at room temperature
☐ 1/2 cup (100 grams) vegetable oil 
☐ 3/4 cup (170 grams) thick Greek yogurt (Fage fat free)
☐ 1/4 cup (60 grams) skimmed milk
☐ 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
☐ 1/3 cup (75 grams) boiling water

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1. Prep

Preheat oven to 325°F. Set rack in center of oven.

Line a  9" round cake pan with butter paper or wax paper. Coat with butter or oil and lightly dust with flour. Dust out excess flour and set pan aside.

Lined 9inch round cake pan, round cake tin lined
Line cake pan with baking paper. Grease and dust with flour.

Step 2. Combine the dry ingredients

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the sugar to the bowl and mix with a fork to combine well.

Step 3. Combine the wet ingredients (except hot water)

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, Fage Greek yogurt, milk and vanilla

Step 4. Combine wet and dry ingredients together

Make a well in the flour and sugar dry ingredient mixture. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in thirds, folding the dry ingredients into the center of the well to combine. Continue until the wet and dry ingredients are well incorporated. Don't overmix.

Step 5.  Add hot water

Slowly add the hot water and stir it into the cake batter to thin it out and create a batter with a smooth, velvety texture.

Batter for chocolate cake, Chocolate cake, chocolate gateau, chocolate ganache cake, greek yogurt chocolate cake, single layer chocolate cake, single tier chocolate cake
Add hot water to the batter to create a silky, velvety consistency.

Step 6. Bake

Pour batter into the center of the cake pan. Place the cake pan in the center of the rack in a pre-heated oven at 325°F. Close oven gently and do not open until it's time to check the cake for doneness. Check cake at the 50 minute mark.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Place the cake pan on a cooling rack to cool for 30 minutes. After which, remove cake from pan. 

If frosting, wait until the cake has completely cooked before frosting.

Recipe inspired by: Baker by Nature

To frost this cake with an easy chocolate ganache try my chocolate ganache recipe with only 3 ingredients. It's low fat and made with half and half instead of full cream.

Chocolate cake, chocolate gateau, chocolate ganache cake, greek yogurt chocolate cake, single layer chocolate cake, single tier chocolate cake
Low Fat Chocolate cake frosted with Low Fat Chocolate Ganache

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post!
To see my other Travel related recipes, click on the 'Travelecipes' label below.

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