The Sachertorte is not the only cake in Vienna rich in tradition. Nor is it the only one with a secret recipe. There’s the Imperial Torte, for example, which is made at the luxury hotel of the same name.
A cake with history
(Press photo credit: Kirchgasser Photography)
According to legend, the cake – which includes layers of whipped chocolate cream and sliced almonds, surrounded by marzipan and coated in chocolate glazing – owes its existence to the attention to duty of the Imperial Hotel’s young kitchen servant, Xaver Loibner, way back in 1873.
Picture the scene – you’ve turned the former town palais of Duke Philipp Alexander von Württemberg into a rather fine hotel with expectations of suitably upper class guests. Grand Duke Michael Nikolaevich of Russia – son of Tsar Nicholas I – popped in soon after, for example.
Your grand opening takes place on April 28th and it’s not just some local dignitary dropping round to do the honours with a pair of scissors and a smile.
(Actually, it is a local dignitary, if you can describe Emperor Franz Joseph as such.)
You don’t want the Emperor going hungry on such an occasion. So, to pay due respect to the Imperial palate, young Xaver came up with the Imperial Torte, unique in both composition and shape (it’s square).
Of course, once you have a cake which an Emperor enjoyed, you don’t want just anyone producing it. So the recipe remains a secret to this day.
The Imperial Hotel’s own in-house pâtisserie continues to make the Torte by hand.
At the time of writing, they offer three permanent variations: the original cake as described above plus Schwarze Orange (“Dark Orange”) and Feine Himbeer (“Delicate Raspberry”) versions.
These cakes come in various sizes in elegant boxes that respect the name and tradition behind their contents. As such, they make nice souvenirs, too. Last time I checked, they also offered a limited edition Imperial Torte featuring Klimt’s The Kiss on the packaging.
How do I get an Imperial Torte?
You have three ways to get your hands on the cake:
- Buy one from the online store
- Enjoy a slice with a cup of coffee at the Café Imperial Wien (one of Vienna’s many elegant cafés)
- Just drop into the café and buy a cake to take with you
Incidentally, quite apart from providing cake and accommodation (as one of Vienna’s five-star superior locations), the Imperial Hotel has two other points of interest for the visitor to Vienna.
The hotel served as a major location in Season 2 of the Vienna Blood period detective series. And it normally plays a prominent role in the display of Christmas lights around the Ringstrassen boulevard.
Address: Imperial Hotel, Kärntner Ring 16, 1010 Vienna