This Viennese Chocolate Punchtorte is one of the most amazing cakes you will ever make. I’ve updated it slightly from my first book, “The New Pastry Cook”. Having baked for so many years there are few desserts I deem extraordinary. This is definitely one of them.
I love Viennese baking as they seem to have a love affair with their desserts. While they are known for their Sachertorte, I truly believe it can’t hold a candle to this Viennese Chocolate Punchtorte.
There is a lot of waiting time with this Viennese Chocolate Punchtorte and you will never guess why. When have you seen a cake that has to dry out before assembly? A chocolate spongecake is made and then allowed to dry for 48 hours at room temperature after which you cut it into three layers with the middle layer being cut into half-inch cubes.
A most flavorful soaking syrup is made of simple syrup, orange and lemon juices, apricot and raspberry jams with dark rum making the perfect “punch” to pour over the sponge cubes for your Viennese Chocolate Punchtorte.
The cake is then assembled by sandwiching the soaked cubes of sponge between the other two layers of cake. Three pounds of weight are stacked on top of the assembled Viennese Chocolate Punchtorte and left to sit that way for 24 hours when it will become one layer. The almost three inch sponge cake is now about one and a half inches tall.
Viennese cakes are often coated with apricot jam before the final chocolate ganache is applied as is this one. It gives a bit of a sharp contrast to the ganache that covers it. After the jam is spread on, it waits again for several hours so the jam can dry to the touch.
When the Viennese Chocolate Punchtorte is cut, the three layers have become a single, very moist cake packed with flavor.
There is a variation in the way I fold flour into the egg mixture. I add all of the flour on top of the beaten yolks and then the remainder of the whites on top of that. At the bakery, I found that by adding all of the flour at once instead of in stages, the mixture retains more volume when baked. As always, fold gently to keep from deflating the mixture.
While there are several steps, this Viennese Chocolate Torte is made over several days with just a little being done every day. I know that you and your guests are in for a cake the likes of which you’ve never tasted before.
One last thing, this Viennese Chocolate Punchtorte, while packed with flavor, is not overly sweet.
Chocolate Sponge Cake1/2 teaspoon instant coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 eggs separated
3/4 cup sugar, divided (150 grams or 5 1/3 ounces)
2/3 cup cake flour less 1 tablespoon (70 grams or about 2 1/2 ounces)
1/3 cup cocoa (30 grams or 1 ounces)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9×3 inch cheesecake or springform pan with a parchment round. Spray the center of the round only. Do not spray the sides of the pan. Set aside.
Dissolve the instant coffee in the vanilla.
Place the egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar (100 grams or 3 1/2 ounces) and the coffee/vanilla flavoring in a mixing bowl fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat until almost white and very thick. Scrape the bottom of the bowl often to make sure the eggs and sugar are incorporating.
In the meantime, sift the cake flour and cocoa together. I use a strainer and push through any lumps with a spoon. Set aside.
In a clean mixing bowl with a clean whisk, beat the whites until almost at the soft peak stage. Add the sugar gradually and beat just until the soft peak stage. Do not overbeat or the whites will be difficult to fold in without deflating the batter.
Add about 1/3 of the beaten whites to the egg yolk mixture and stir to lighten. Add all of the flour/cocoa mixture and place the remainder of the whites on top. Fold together gently.
Pour into the prepared pan, smooth the top and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
Cool for about 10 minutes, then go around the edge of the pan with a small flexible metal spatula. Keep the spatula close to the edge of the pan, not the edge of the cake to avoid tearing the cake. Place the pan on a large can and slide the side down if using a cheesecake pan. Carefully turn the cake upside down and remove the parchment. Place on a cooling rack and allow to dry at room temperature for 48 hours.
After drying, cut the cake into 3 layers with the middle layer being larger than the top and bottom. Cut the middle layer into 1/2 inch slices,
turn it in the other direction
and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Place the cubes in a large bowl.Viennese Chocolate Punchtorte Syrup1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons sieved apricot jam
2 tablespoons seedless red raspberry jam
1/4 cup dark rum
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar (100 grams or 3 1/2 ounces)
Combine orange and lemon juices, apricot jam, raspberry jam and rum. Whisk well; set aside.
Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; wash down the sides of the pan with a brush dipped in cold water. Boil to 234°F on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat and add the juice mixture. Place back on the heat and bring to a boil again. Immediately pour the syrup over the spongecake cubes. Toss gently with a fork to soak the cubes but don’t break them up. They should absorb all of the syrup.Place the top layer of cake upside down in the bottom of a 9×3″ cheesecake pan or springform mold. As you can see, it doesn’t fit tightly. that is fine.Arrange the soaked cubes of cake evenly over the cake layer. Place the bottom layer over the cubes so the bottom is right side up.
Place a 9″ round parchment circle on top of the layer.
Place a 9×2″ pan filled with 3 pounds of beans or weights directly on the paper to weigh the cake down.
After about 4 to six hours have passed, remove the pan with the beans. Very carefully drop the sides of the cheesecake pan as above and move the cake to a cake board. Wrap the edges of the cake with a long piece of plastic wrap that has been folded several times so the cubes will not fall out. Cover the top of the layer with the round of parchment and place the pan of beans directly on top of it again. Leave it like this for the next 18 to 20 hours.
This last direction needs a bit of explanation. The cake is assembled in the pan so the cubed cake does not fall out while being compressed as it would if put together freeform. However, because both pans are 9 inches, it can only compress so much. To make one layer, it needs to be compressed more which is why it is removed from the pan and weighed down again. By wrapping the edges, any stray cube that might escape will be held in.
Viennese Chocolate Punchtorte
1/3 cup sieved apricot jam, room temperature
Chocolate Glaze, below
Remove the plastic wrap around the cake and the parchment on top.
With a small metal spatula, apply a thin coat of apricot jam around the sides of the cake. If there is any separation between the top and bottom layers, that can be fixed later. Switch to a small offset spatula and spread apricot jam thinly on the top layer.
Set aside for several hours for the jam to firm up.
Chocolate Glaze9 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (255 grams)
9 tablespoons unsalted butter (130 grams, about 4 1/2 ounces or 1 stick + 1 tablespoon)
3 tablespoons clear corn syrup
3 tablespoons water
Combine all of the above in the top of a double boiler. Stir until it is melted and smooth. Alternatively, it can be microwaved but use caution not to burn the chocolate. Whisk gently until smooth.Yield: About 1 3/4 cups (430 grams about 15 ounces)
Pour about 1/3 (145 grams or about 5 ounces) onto a tray and spread it out fairly thinly so it becomes firm but spreadable. Refrigerating will speed up the process.
Use this to undercoat the cake sides and top by spreading it smoothly with a spatula.
To easily remove the Viennese Chocolate Punchtorte from the cake board, make a small channel at the bottom by inserting a small metal spatula under the bottom of the cake and removing the barest amount of glaze. It will not be noticeable. Refrigerate briefly to set up the glaze.
Place a cooling rack in a rimmed baking pan.
Remove the cake from the board and transfer it to the cooling rack. Make sure the remainder of the glaze is pourable but has body. Reheat briefly if necessary. Pour all of the glaze onto the top and quickly push it out over the sides.
Quickly push it out over the edges of the cake.
Wait for a few minutes until it is no longer liquid but is not completely set. Smooth the sides. Transfer to a cake to a clean pan and let it sit at room temperature for at least 6 hours over preferably overnight.
Transfer the cake to a serving plate or cake board. The cake can be stored at room temperature for several days.
Serve the Viennese Chocolate Punchtorte in small pieces as it is rich.
Yield: 12 to 14 servings
Tips: Using a strainer, strain the apricot jam all at once leaving the pieces of fruit behind. Use what you need for the soaking syrup and store the rest at room temperature for the finish.
Either natural or dutched cocoa can be used but the dutched will give a darker sponge.To easily cut the middle layer into 1/2″ cubes, freeze it first. It will make it much easier.
Store any leftover glaze in the refrigerator.