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One of the joys of a river cruise, especially a European river cruise, is the ample time in ports of call to explore. Since river cruising gets you up close and personal in each city, we like to experience the cuisine of the land while touring ashore.  At Select Waterways, one of our favorite memories is exploring the city on foot, after getting our bearings with the complimentary guided motorcoach tour during a recent stop in Vienna on a Danube river cruise with AmaWaterways. On a misty afternoon, we popped into the Demel Bakery some coffee and a slice of Sachertorte, a Viennese specialty. To this day, we’ll crave a Sachertorte on a cool, misty afternoon and reminisce about that perfect moment in Vienna.  Thanks to our friends at AmaWaterways, what follows is a bit of history about this glorious chocolate confection and, more importantly, the recipe!

The crème-de-la-crème of cake wizardry in Vienna is the iconic Sachertorte, available at the renowned Hotel Sacher. Rich dark chocolate, apricot jam and utter deliciousness will send your taste buds spiraling into sensory overload. Always served with a side-dollop of schlag, aka whipped cream, this cake promises to indulge your most delightful champagne wishes and decadent dreams.

Celebrating its own national holiday on December 5th, the Sachertorte had its not so-humble beginnings in 1832 when Franz Sacher first created the dessert for Prince Wenzel von Metternich and his very important guests. Just sixteen years old at the time, the young chef-in-training received this lucky break when his boss, the Prince’s actual chef, fell ill. It’s been said that the older man cautioned his apprentice with ‘Let there be no shame on me tonight!” — and the rest, as they say, is the chocolate history dreams are made of.

Fueled by the cake’s immense popularity, Sacher’s son Eduard ultimately built the Hotel Sacher, a luxury hotel which has hosted such notable guests as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, JFK, Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Plácido Domingo, José Carreras and Leonard Bernstein over the years. Some of these guests’ famous signatures can even be found on one of four tablecloths the hotel keeps on display.

There is also a stunning art gallery with works from the 19th century, so stop by here for an extra slice of culture. Of course, you can find variations of the Sachertorte throughout the city (most notably at the Demel Bakery, which waged a legal war for decades for the right to the name), but many consider the hotel’s to be the most authentic. While in Vienna, experience a true taste of Austria. It is a treat for the taste buds as much as the senses.


  • 4.5 oz. butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate, melted
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 7 egg yolks
  • 7 egg whites, whipped
  • 7 oz. flour
  • 2 tbsp. apricot Jam


  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate
  • 1 stick butter

Preparation Method

Mix butter, sugar, and egg yolks together until creamy. Fold the melted chocolate into the mixture. In a separate bowl, fold the whipped egg whites and flour together. Combine with the egg yolk and chocolate mixture. Pour into a greased 9” round cake pan. Bake for approximately 45 min. at 370 F°. Let the cake cool and remove from pan. When fully cooled, cut the cake in half horizontally. Fill with apricot jam and glaze top of cake with the ganache. Makes 8 servings.

Recipe courtesy of AmaWaterways


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