The Original Sacher Torte, a silky smooth chocolate sponge with homemade apricot jelly and rich chocolate icing, is surely Vienna and Austria’s most famous cake and perhaps the most famous in the world. The recipe has been a trade secret of the legendary Hotel Sacher, located just behind the Vienna State Opera, since 1832. Franz Sacher invented the cake while serving as an apprentice chef at the residence of Prince Metternich. Today more than 360,000 of the handmade examples are produced every year. A third of these are eaten in the hotel, a third sold at its shop, and the remainder dispatched to customers all over the world. Another cake with its very own secret recipe and founding myth is the Imperial Torte. It is reputed to be the creation of a kitchen boy who baked it in honour of Emperor Franz Joseph I for the opening of the Hotel Imperial on Vienna’s Ringstrasse boulevard in 1873. The cake is made from layers of cocoa cream and almond wafer and then wrapped in marzipan and chocolate. Just like the Original Sacher Torte, the Imperial Torte is available to buy online and comes in a little wooden box bearing the hotel’s wax seal.
The Grand Hotel Wien is the source of another classic of the Viennese patisserie tradition: the Grand Guglhupf. It goes without saying that its recipe is a very well-kept secret, but the ingredients for this moist, ring-shaped cake include red wine and cinnamon as well as butter, sugar, flour and eggs. The Grand Guglhupf can of course be found on the menu at the hotel on the Kärnten Ring section of the Ringstrasse, but it is also available in a special presentation tin which can be picked up at the hotel or ordered online. The Ritz-Carlton luxury hotel chain unveiled a signature cake for their 86 locations across the globe in 2014. Naturally the Ritz-Carlton cake, which combines fine dark chocolate with juicy pieces of orange, is served at their Ringstrasse hotel.
In homage to the celebrated Viennese Art Nouveau painter Gustav Klimt, the Hotel Hilton Vienna next to the Stadtpark delights guests with its very own Klimt Torte. It does not contain any flour but is finished with a generous covering of chocolate and comes in three sizes. The Do & Co Hotel Vienna, directly opposite St. Stephen's Cathedral on Stephansplatz, took inspiration from its neighbour when designing the Domspitz (cathedral spire) cake. Its triangular packaging alludes to the roof tiles of the famous Viennese landmark and contains a chocolate poppy seed cake filled with damson jam which is encased in chocolate. The Vienna Marriott Hotel also makes reference to its surroundings with the Ringstrassen Torte. The city’s showpiece boulevard is reflected in a classy pastry of sponge, raw marzipan, candied orange peel and hazelnut nougat. Celebrity chef Sarah Wiener is the creator of the Altstadt Vienna’s trademark cake and is a regular at the hotel in the seventh district. Their chocolate covered Otto Torte is topped off with decorative glacé cherries.
- Hotel Sacher Wien, Philharmonikerstrasse 4, 1010 Vienna, www.sacher.com
- Hotel Imperial Wien, Kärntner Ring 16, 1010 Vienna, www.imperialvienna.com, www.imperialtorte.at
- Grand Hotel Wien, Kärntner Ring 9, 1010 Vienna, www.grandhotelwien.com, www.grandguglhupf.com
- The Ritz-Carlton, Vienna, Schubertring 5-7, 1010 Vienna, www.ritzcarlton.com/vienna
- Hotel Hilton Vienna, Am Stadtpark 1, 1030 Vienna, www.vienna.hilton.com
- Do & Co Hotel Vienna, Stephansplatz 12, 1010 Vienna, www.doco.com
- Vienna Marriott Hotel, Parkring 12a, 1010 Vienna, www.viennamarriott.at/com
- Altstadt Vienna, Kirchengasse 41,1070 Vienna, www.altstadt.at