Vienna is the coffee house capital of the world, and the Viennese love to sit for hours enjoying their Wiener Melange - coffee with milk and milk foam - with a slice of cake, especially when that cake is the world-famous Sacher Torte!
The Sacher Torte is one of the most famous Viennese dishes and almost everyone has already heard about or tried this unique chocolate cake with one or two layers of apricot jam and coated with a thin chocolate icing.
But how come you can get the Sache Torte at the Hotel Sacher and at Demel Café, both claiming to have the original recipe?
In 1832 Franz Sacher, a 16-year-old cuisine-apprentice of Prince Wenzel von Metternich’s head chef - who was ill at the time - was given the task of creating a special dessert for distinguished guests. He prepared a chocolate cake that was hugely appreciated by the Prince’s guests.
After working as a chef in Bratislava and Budapest, Franz Sacher returned to Vienna where he opened a Delicatessen shop. His eldest son Eduard, during his training with the Royal and Imperial pastry chef at the bakery Demel, improved upon his father’s recipe and began serving the Original Sacher Torte at Demel’s Café.
In 1876 Eduard Sacher established the Hotel Sacher and took with him the cake and its name, which of course transformed the Hotel Sacher and Demel into arch-rivals and sparkled the “cake war”!
Finally, after a nine-year legal battle, both houses reached an out of court settlement ensuring the Hotel Sacher to call its cake “the Original Sacher Torte” and Demel, the right to call its cake “the Eduard-Sacher-Torte.”
Both cakes are delicious and remarkably similar, but over the years, the name “ the original Sacher torte” has given Sacher a considerable branding advantage over Demel. Sacher sells five times more cakes than its rival Demel, and at a higher price!
Particularly, I prefer the Demel recipe; it's more original if you want; they use butter instead of margarine (Sacher uses margarine!). And essential difference: Demel's cake is built with two cakes and the jam in the middle, while Sacher's cake is one block cut in the middle.
So how about going to both Sacher and Demel to compare the yummy cakes and let us know which you prefer?