How to find the best coffee and cake in Vienna

In Vienna, a cup of coffee and a piece of cake is much more than a quick refresher. Surrounded by history and tradition, Viennese coffee culture is so important it has even made the
 UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list!

 Don’t go to Vienna on a diet - there are temptations on every corner that you won’t be able to resist.As a traveller, not a tourist, it behoves you to partake – well at least that’s what I managed to convince myself.

1. Melange coffee

When coffee first came to Vienna the strong, intense flavour of the beans was a bit of a surprise to the Viennese. Some smart person decided to ‘sweeten’ freshly brewed coffee with hot milk which became known as the ‘Wiener Melange”. I would swap my normal skinny cappuccino for one of these any day of the week and it will be the first thing I have when I return.

2. Apple Strudel

With or without crumbs? That’s the hot question when it comes to making a strudel. Head to the Café Residenz Apfelstrudelshow Schönbrunn at Schloss Schönbrunn, Kavalierstrakt 52 to see how the experts make this traditional Viennese dessert, from the slicing of the apples to rolling out the thin dough.

I have tried my hand at this and it wasn't half bad.  Here's a recipe and instructions.

3. Bundt cake

Marmorgugelhupf is a marble bundt cake that was eaten by Emperor Franz Joseph for breakfast, daily! The cake takes its shape from the grooved sides of the pan but the recipe varies. It’s a classic afternoon tea cake or Sunday morning breakfast cake for the not-so-royal.

4. Mannerschnitten

These Neopolitan wafers, you’ll recognise the classic pink wrapper, are available from the Manner store at Stephansplatz 7. They were invented by Mr Manner (of course) in 1898 in honour of Emperor Franz Josef’s golden jubilee.

5. Demel K. & K.

Located in Kohlmarkt 14, this former Imperial court confectioner has a show kitchen where visitors can watch the patissiers weave their magic. It’s a busy store but it’s worth the push through to the back to see the kitchen action. The sales and serving staff have been exclusively female at Demel for 200 years.

6. Café Sasher

The chefs at the five-star Hotel Sacher, Philharmonikerstrasse 4, have been baking Sasher Torte, a chocolate cake with apricot jam and chocolate glaze from a secret recipe since 1876. There have been court cases over who invented the recipe so I'm not going there.

7. Brasserie & Bakery, The Guesthouse

Located between the State Opera and Stephansplatz, right next door to the world-famous Albertina museum, The Guesthouse Vienna serves all day breakfast and a special coffee roast made by Naber Kaffee. Designed by Sir Terrance Conran, The Guest House Vienna exudes a feeling of a ‘home away from home’ and comforts with quiet, relaxed elegance and plenty of life’s little luxuries.

8. Café Landtmann

Taking a prime corner position, Franz Landtmann opened Cafe Landtmann, one of Vienna’s most elegant, cafes in 1873 at the start of the coffee house tradition. Patrons at Landtmann have included Sigmund Freud, Marlene Detrick, Romy Schnieider, Paul McCartney, Hillary Clinton and Kerry Heaney.

If all this talk of cakes has you inspired to learn how to make them here’s a list of cooking and baking classes in Vienna.

Disclaimer:  Ed+bK stayed in Vienna as a guest of The Guesthouse and Vienna Tourist Board.

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Kerry Heaney