May 16, 2008 8

Demel (Vienna: Hofburg Imperial Palace)

By in Vienna

The sausages revived our energy, but we were thinking of cakes. After hitting several tourist sights (including following the Royal Band marching into the Castle, saved our trouble finding directions), we dashed to one of Vienna’s most famous cake shop before its closing time.

So there was a bitter rivalry story about Vienna’s signature chocolate cake: Sachertorte. The Sacher family invented it in 1832, but the recipe got into the hands of the Damel family when a Sacher offspring married a Demel. Demel started to sell Sachertorte and ugly disputes ensued. Nowadays both claimed their Sachertorte is THE original recipe. So we hit both spot to compare.


Damel locates right at the entrance of the Hofburg Imperial Palace, so they’re the old school Royal confectionary for Royalties and Upper classes. Queen Sisi could get her favorite Demel Candied Violet Petal with a shorter fiaker ride. 😉


The interior was very Parisian. Yet somehow the feeling is a bit different. The candies, chocolate and cakes are not as fine and delicate.


Sachertorte. Verdict: the chocolate was tastefully rich but I felt it’s a bit one note. More unforgivable: the cake was a bit dry… (did we get a bad piece? 🙁 )


The Esterhazytorte redeems it all. It’s baked meringue layered with rich hazelnut cream. It’s so delicious! The hazelnut flavor is very rich. There’re hazelnut bits in the fine silky cream layers that added an addictive, complex, crunchy texture (I’ve tried another place’s later where they didn’t have the crunch, oh my the difference is heaven and earth). I guess that makes up how they don’t have as much ‘layers’ as others (this one has 8 compare to the usual 16). I almost had a tear falling down when I was about to eat my last bite.


Apfelstrudel (?): apple, pine nuts and poppy seed. Very fun to eat with multi-textures and flavors (sour sweet apple, crunchy pine nuts and chewy, heavy poppy seed paste). It’s very heavy though. We got coffee and spicy chocolate (it’s really spicy T__T, maybe that’s why I felt teary eye ^^;;)

I think the taste of Vienna pastry is generally sweeter and creamier than Paris, but it’s a very very lovely level of sweetness – very controlled, perfect kind of sophisticated sweetness that they’ve mastered.

Kohlmarkt 14, 1010 Wien

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8 Responses to “Demel (Vienna: Hofburg Imperial Palace)”

  1. valentine says:

    yeah even from the pic, Sachertorte looks kinda dry and “normal”…?( ̄∀ ̄;;)
    (although I like the triangular chocolate planted on top-very graphic!)
    whoa the Apfelstrudel looks all puffy and chunky! definitely looks
    fun to eat!
    and as a chai-lover, I’m interested in the spicy chocolate!
    does it taste like chai??ヾ(゚∀゚)ノ

  2. Freda says:

    hehe I know…it does look ‘basic’ and ‘default’, and I won’t have the urge to eat it again and again. Spicy chocolate does taste a bit like chai, it has a similar aroma and actually make the chocolate less sweet than it really it? Spicy chocolate is common in Mexico I think…in fact I think it saids “Mexican Spicy Chocolate” on the menu…^^;;;

  3. valentine says:

    haha, interesting experience to have Mexican chocolate
    in Vienna!

  4. seat says:

    The story about Sachertorte is interesting. They have Demel in Japan but I never tried their cakes. Should definitely check out if they have Esterhazytorte(what an impossible-to-remember name)!

    Apfelstrudel is a monster!! So the original recipe should have nuts and seeds? The ones I usually have only have apple.

    btw Starbucks has Sachertorte…an Italian friend highly recommended it to me so I had to try – not as bad as I thought actually. ^^;;;

  5. Freda says:

    I read the story at Hotel Sacher actually (a book on every table), probably it’s their side of story. ^^;; But its’ a very public legal dispute that went on for 7 years. Guidebooks also highlighted them side by side on the same spread.

    I think Apfelstrudel only has apple…^^;; this monster with poppy seed and nuts is definitely something else (can’t find the name ^^;;)

    I think at worst, Sachertorte can’t go wrong — just a chocolate cake. But the cakes in Japan Starbucks are provided by some local bakery anyway, here in LA the Starbuck’s pastry section are crap (brownie, lemon bar, carrot cake kind).

  6. […] Demel’s cafe in Omotesando. I got really interested after reading potatomato’s post here. Of course I had to try Sachertorte, which turned out to be hard and dry and unbearably […]

  7. […] good. Again this brought back fond memories of the wonderful cakes I had at Vienna. Though the studel I had at Vienna had thick skin, Jon said he had thin skin ones like this when living at Austria as a […]

  8. Andy says:

    The cakes are amazing aren’t they! We loved our last trip to Vienna so much that we’ve written a free City Guide with our own advice on what to see…

    Vienna City Guide