Fanny of course repeats her disdain for Plain Flour, she won't have it in the house, only Self Raising will ever do, for everything. Again with advice which seems outdated now, but thankfully not violent, she likens poorly stored flour to bed blankets which can hold up to 40lbs of moisture if not treated to an electric blanket every now and again. Fanny recommends if your flour is dampened, pop it on a baking tray and place it in a barely warm oven for a while before sifting and sifting it again. No need to do that with mine, it's not claggy at all. For this fine Viennese Patisserie Fanny of course suggests using chocolate chips, what else, melted with a little water (or rum) while the butter is beaten like a walnut tree. Grrrr. My trustee KitchenAid which has thankfully returned from hospital is on hand to do all the hard work.
Once beaten, Fanny gets me to add in some icing sugar and six egg yolks one at a time. The mixture takes on a glorious colour before the addition of the melted chocolate chips. All six egg whites are whisked up stiffly with a little more icing sugar before being folded in gently with small additions of flour each time. I'd say, but Fanny doesn't, that the mixture should be treated with respect. I'm still raging.
As I'm turning the mixture into the prepared cake tin I realise I've never made a chocolate cake before, which seems odd. It's not normally something I'd go for. This one looks good though, and of course the usual cooks perk of having a sneaky spoon lick let's me know it will taste great too. Once it's in the oven and baking for 40 minutes the smell alone makes me make a mental note to make more chocolate cakes. Fanny has a top tip to test if it is ready - to make your hand into a fist and push it into the top. If the sponge springs back, it's done. If it's still a bit squishy then it needs a bit more time. No more violent analogies please. Once cool, the cake needs to be brushed with apricot glaze.
Fanny suggests icing the cake in what her family call 'Mrs Gretel Beer's Chocolate Icing' but there is no explanation of why. I can only assume it was her recipe, from her book 'Austrain Cooking' which Fanny recommends. Fanny says they all greatly admire it, so why not? It's made of a syrup of water and sugar, boiled and slightly coloured mixed in to more softened chocolate chips and a drop or two of very pure olive oil. It is very glossy. Fanny says to spread it all over the cake with a hot wet knife, which I find quite hard as it begins to set almost immediately. Or seize more accurately. Mrs Beer, and Fanny too of course, recommend serving the Sachertorte with whipped cream, and Fanny pipes hers onto the top. I am still raging with Fanny and in an act of pure defiance I settle instead on an homage to the traditional Sachertorte decoration. Thankfully any anger and thoughts of violence have not affected the bake. Fanny knew about her cooking I'll give her that, but in some of her views (and actions) she really was a Fanny.