Brownie Sacher Torte

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Brownie Sacher Torte

Sometimes time can be the best healer.

A year ago, I tried making the famous Sacher torte for my mother’s birthday. It’s a dense chocolate cake with apricot filling that hails from Vienna. I did tons of research and worked much harder than usual to get the cake just right.

Epic fail, everyone. The glaze was clumpy and the cake was just way too dry. It was so not worth all that time and effort. Luckily, time passed and I decided I wanted to try again, but this time I did it on my terms. That means the cake became a brownie and the glaze was a much simpler version of the process that did me in a year ago.

Brownie Sacher Torte

It’s cliché to say that time heals, but clichés are often quite true. I’ve had friendships end, important ones, without really understanding what happened. It’s hurtful, but stepping back and getting both time and perspective can really help.

Brownie Sacher Torte

One of my favorite short stories is by my favorite author, Edith Wharton. She wrote a story called “Roman Fever” that I’ve read more times than I can possibly say. It starts a little slow, but if you make it through to the end, I promise it will be rewarding. Anyway, it’s about two older women who have all these friendship issues even though they should be well past it. One of the best lines from the story is, “So these two ladies visualized each other, each through the wrong end of her little telescope.”

Brownie Sacher Torte

We’re always looking at other people that way, through the wrong end of whatever telescope we happen to be peering through. That’s how friendships end, why people hurt other people, and why it’s so hard for everyone to get along. Very few people can see inside the real version of ourselves to get who we really are. When we find those people, we should hold on to them, because they’re rare.

Brownie Sacher Torte

One of the people who gets me, and who always will, is my mother. We’re not alike in a lot of ways, but in the important ways, we are. On the surface, we look and behave differently, but we have the same fundamental views on the things that matter. So the least my mother deserves is a cake on her birthday.

My mom is a pianist (and a darn good one), so that’s why I piped some music flair on her cake. My children call her “Baba,” the Russian word for “grandmother,” so that’s the B you see. She likes Sacher torte, so I gave her my best version of it at this point. Maybe someday I’ll do it the traditional way, but this year, she got the brownie-fied version.

Brownie Sacher Torte

A year ago, I couldn’t have thought of even trying something close to this cake again, but hey, time helps. All we need is the space to think and read amazing short stories and everything is healed. So happy birthday to my mom, who is the best. I love her more than I love brownies!


Brownie Sacher Torte


Brownie Layers
1 and 1/2 cups butter, melted
1 and 1/2 cups cocoa
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
6 teaspoons vanilla
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 and 1/2 cups flour
1 cup apricot jam
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 tablespoon butter
1 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
5 tablespoons water, divided


  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line three 9-inch round pans with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the cocoa into the melted butter until it dissolves. Add the sugar and stir again. When the sugar is incorporated, mix in the vanilla and eggs. Add the salt and flour, mixing until just combined.
  3. Evenly distribute the batter among the three pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes until set. Cool completely.
  4. When the cakes are cool, make the glaze. Melt the chocolate in a saucepan with the butter and 2 tablespoons of water. When it's melted, take the pot off the heat and stir in the powdered sugar. Add the remaining tablespoons of water and stir until smooth.
  5. Allow the glaze to thicken for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want it to be able to pour it, but not have it be too thin.
  6. When the glaze is thick enough, stack the brownie layers carefully, spreading a thin layer of apricot jam in between each layer.
  7. Pour the glaze onto the center of the cake. Using a knife or offset spatula, carefully spread the glaze to the edges, letting some drip over the sides.
  8. Let the glaze harden. Decorate if desired.


I fulfill many roles in life: wife, mother, teacher, everlasting learner. This site is dedicated to one role that expresses my creativity in ways that I find consistently challenging and rewarding: baker. Inventing new ways to enhance food, especially if that food involves chocolate or peanut butter (or both!), is a passion of mine. I look forward to sharing my ideas with you.

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice

    Glad you were able to get the torte right this time, Mir! It looks amazing! I love the layers and how full of chocolate this is. What a gorgeous dessert, and I’m sure it tastes SO good!
    Gayle @ Pumpkin ‘N Spice recently posted…Blueberry LemonadeMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Gayle! It is definitely full of chocolate. Even I found it to be intense, and I have a very high tolerance!

  2. Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy

    Yay for getting it right this time – it looks worth it. I am almost glad to hear that even expert bakers like yourself get thing wrong sometimes 😉
    Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy recently posted…Comment on Greek Spaghetti with Roasted Tomatoes, Feta and Olives by DanniiMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Be fully glad, Dannii. Anyone who pretends to be perfect is boring!

  3. Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom

    Mir, this torte is stunning!!! and I love this post! I agree, time heals and stepping back is sometimes needed, especially when you need to take some time, look at the situation differently and gain some perspective. you and your mother sound like me and my mother. I love my mother so much. . in a lot of ways, I wish I was more like her, but like you said, we are the same where it matters most. I love the music notes on the torte!! so beautiful!!! I hope you guys enjoyed this cake together!!! have a great weekend, Mir!
    Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom recently posted…Summer Snacking with Blue Diamond AlmondsMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks so much, Alice! It’s the values and core beliefs that make moms and daughters like one another, not the surface stuff. Otherwise, we’d just be clones! 🙂 Have a great weekend!

  4. Rachelle @ Beer Girl Cooks

    That is one beautiful brownie torte! I’m sure your mom will love that on her birthday. I love the musical flair and how cool is that your mom is a pianist!
    Rachelle @ Beer Girl Cooks recently posted…Stuffed and Bacon Wrapped FigsMy Profile

    1. Mir

      She’s really good at it, too, Rachelle, which makes me proud!

  5. Medha @ Whisk & Shout

    Brownie cake? I’m so down. This looks great and I’m so glad it turned out so well 🙂
    Medha @ Whisk & Shout recently posted…{Vegan} Macadamia Oatmeal Cookie Stone Fruit CrumbleMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Medha! It took two tries!

  6. Michele @ Two Raspberries

    I loe the layers and the chocolate covering the top! mmm absolutely amazing! hope you have a great weekend girl! 😉
    Michele @ Two Raspberries recently posted…Almond Butter Freezer Fudge Vegan GF Soy Free Refined Sugar FreeMy Profile

    1. Mir

      You too, Michele! Even though it’s almost over. 🙂

  7. Manali @ CookWithManali

    I’m so glad it turned out well, yay!! looks gorgeous! Wish your mom a very happy birthday Mir! 🙂 Have a greak weekend!
    Manali @ CookWithManali recently posted…Roasted Cauliflower Pita TacosMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Manali! You, too!

  8. Jasline (Foodie Baker)

    A very big happy birthday to your mom, I’m sure she can feel all the love that you’ve put in the cake!
    Jasline (Foodie Baker) recently posted…Molten Coffee-Vanilla CakeMy Profile

    1. Mir

      I hope so, Jasline! Love is baking, baking is love!

  9. Erin @ Miss Scrambled Egg

    Mir – This is so sweet. I adore Edith Wharton’s writing, but haven’t read this short story. I need to know. Isn’t it so true how misunderstandings and grudges can destroy good friendships. It’s sad. I’m glad you have your mom. She sounds like a sweet woman who is very deserving of this special torte.
    Erin @ Miss Scrambled Egg recently posted…Roasted Garlic and Rosemary PotatoesMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Read it, Erin! Really. It’s so good. If you do, let me know all your thoughts!

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