And because I have an unshakable grade-schooler devotion to the color green (do adults care about best friends and favorite colors?) the most important piece of this Demel discovery was that that there was a place in the world serving a bright green cake shaped like a dome and that one day it would have to be eaten by me (and that there are no copyright-free photos demonstrating this amazing pasty case with the green cake on Flickr--not that that has ever stopped anyone from using my photos without even an attribution).
Unfortunately, on my last-minute visit to Vienna (Budapest was already a spur of the moment idea with little research, and I hadn't realized Vienna was less than three hour away by train) the green cake was not on display. I don't imagine it's a greatest hit, especially when competing with more famous sachertorte or dobostorte.
Instead of a glorious whole confection in the case, there were just a few errant slices and a dummy cake up on a high shelf in a dark glare-proudcing glass cabinet.
I had heard nightmarish stories about being seated upstairs after a very long wait in line, having to fight your way back down to the main entrance to pick out your slices and have them written down for you to bring up to your waitress (they are all women) and then wait for the sweets to arrive.
There was a poorly organized line that was being cut with no consequence, however, the wait wasn't more than five minutes and there is a young woman with a selection of cakes in an annex on the second floor (in the American sense--I can't call something up stairs the first floor) so it's not that much trouble. There would've been trouble if a green slice was absent, though.
I could make out the very un-German, casatta, and still can't determine the name of the browner, cookie-adorned and gianduja-fillled slice I also picked out (above). Who cares? It's not green.
Ok, casatta? That green slice is totally Italian, or more specifically Sicilian, and a staple of many NYC bakeries, often as mini cherry-topped single serves. There's nothing Viennese about the fluffy sweet ricotta center suspending candied fruit and surrounded by a layer of liqueur-soaked sponge and a smooth blanket of almondy marzipan. I traveled blank miles for something I could've gotten in Carroll Gardens? (Or at Ikea, sort of. Princesstårta has a different flavor profile, but also is a bulbous torte covered in green marzipan.)
Maybe the casatta has been adopted as an ode to the oxidized domes of the Hofburg Palace across Michaelerplatz from Demel.
I guess the non-Austrian nature of this cake shouldn't have been so surprising. Wienerschnitzel, the most iconic dish in town, is essentially scaloppine. Now that I know the green cake is Italian, I want the best casatta (green-only) in NYC. Villabate? Where else? Now may be the rare instance where I regret moving out of an Italian-American neighborhood.
Demel * Kohlmarkt 14, Vienna, Austria
Photo of Demel sign via bestbig&tucker on Flickr