Jeff Foxworthy says – If you know all four seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction, you might live in Minnesota. I can’t believe how depressing the winter gets and the impact it has on our daily lives. The weather has to be factored in for every single outdoor activity however seeming simple it may appear. I am so paranoid that the first thing I check every morning is not my mail nor my blog but the weather forecast for the day! That said, there is an old saying that goes something like this “When winter is here, can Spring be far behind” ? I am optimistic and so looking forward for sunny days ahead
On that positive note I plan to resume my blogging though I can’t make promises! To start with I am planning to work on all the Daring Baker’s challenge recipes and also recipes from events that I have missed so far. I was quite fascinated with the January’s DB challenge – A beautiful Baumkuchen(Tree Cake), layered cake. It’s a traditional dessert in many countries across Europe and a popular dessert in Japan. The challenge was to use the Baumkuchen (tree cake) and Schichttorte technique of smearing thin layers of batter on top of each other, and baking them one by one, so creating a layered cake structure.
The January 2014 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Francijn of “Koken in de Brouwerij”. She challenged us all to bake layered cakes in the tradition of Baumkuchen (tree cake) and Schichttorte (layered cake).
I believe a commercial Baumkuchen is cooked layer on layer in a big spit above a large container containing the batter, with a broiler (grill) next to it. The batter is poured over the spit, and when cooked, the next layer gets poured and cooked, this is repeated; until you have 15, 20, or even 25 layers of cake.The little brown lines between the layers of cake are the reason we call this cake “tree cake”. However I didn’t get the distinctive lines as expected – I am pretty sure its because I under-baked each layer.
Now onto the challenge recipe, which is Schichttorte (layered cake, Schicht means layer). This is a simple version of Baumkuchen, with horizontal layers. The layers in Schichttorte are not dipped, but smeared, and the cake is not baked on a spit, but in a baking mould (tin) (pan) producing a flat multi-layered cake.
Baumkuchen(Tree Cake) – January’14 Daring Baker’s Challenge
- 6 large eggs (room temperature)
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup marzipan
- 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup confectioner's (icing) sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar
- 2/3 cup all-purpose (plain) flour (sifted)
- 1/3 cup apricot jam
- 2 tablespoons orange liqueur (optional)
- 1 cup dark chocolate couverture chunks
- 1 tablespoon pure coconut oil
Preheat your oven to hot 450°F. Line your cake tin with parchment paper, grease both paper and tin.
Divide the eggs. Beat the egg whites with the salt until nearly stiff, add the sugar and beat until really stiff.
Crumble finely the marzipan. Beat it with the softened butter, confectioner's (icing) sugar and vanilla sugar until soft and creamy. Add the egg yolks one by one and beat well between each addition. Add the stiff egg whites and flour and gently fold it into the batter. Trying not to lose too much air.
Smear 1/12th to 1/10th of the batter on the bottom of the pan, keep the sides of the pan clean, and bake for (about) 4 minutes in the oven, until it is cooked and brown. Take the pan out of the oven, smear the next portion of batter carefully over the first, and bake for another 4 minutes or until cooked and brown. Repeat until all batter is used. If you need to flatten a bubble insert a tooth pick or similar to deflate the bubble.
Let the cake cool down for a few minutes, take it out of the pan, remove the parchment paper and let the cake cool completely on a wired rack. Trim the edges.
Heat the jam a little, pass it through a sieve, and add the orange liqueur (optional). Cover the cake with the jam and let it cool.
Melt the couverture with the coconut oil in a bowl above warm water. Pour it over the cake to cover completely, move the cake to a cool place and wait until the glaze is dry.
Also the other blunder that I made was – once the cake was baked, I cooled it down and inverted it from the pan. I covered it with Jam and then with melted chocolate. I completely forgot to invert the cake back before I did this step. So my cake was upside down. I realized my mistake only when I took a bite, the base was soft and the top was slightly hard(thanks to the thick coat of chocolate). Nevertheless it tasted great !. The cake had a nice vanilla flavor, it was very soft and moist too. I truly enjoyed each and every bite of it!. Thanks Franscijn for a lovely challenge!