Baumkuchen: Multi-layered Tree Cake



Good friend Steven, over on Made By You And I – that’s his handsome mug there – decided to toss out a challenge to me a while back to do a recipe for Baumkuchen. Baum is German for tree (“O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum…”) and Kuchen is cake. Tree Cake. He had seen this post over on The Daring Kitchen, a site where a selected member picks a recipe once a month and the DK members all give it a shot then post the results. There are two sides: a cooking (i.e. chicken, veggies, etc.) and a baking side (cakes, breads, etc.). I checked the Daring Kitchen challenge out and decided to go for it. And that’s how I came to give this interesting cake a try.

The full recipe is published at the DK site and you can nab a PDF of it if you wish (link a bit further down). Although much more detail is given on that site and on Wikipedia, here are the basics:

A Baumkuchen is basically cake baked in very, very thin layers, built up until you get a cake that, when sliced, looks like the rings of a tree, ergo its name.

Traditionally and in a commercial bakery, it is made by baking a white or almond-flavoured batter as it is poured onto a rotating large pole set in front of a special broiler. As each layer is poured on top of the previous one, a slight browning occurs and these result in the distinctive “rings” seen in the finished cake. The undulations you see in the 2nd and 3rd photo above are made by simply pressing the still uncooked batter while adding the very last few layers bake. This gives the cake a distinct look and allows it to be cut into clear portions, if desired: some Baumkuchen are simply left flat, as shown in the first photo. It is usually finished with chocolate coating although some types are covered in other flavours. Continue reading “Baumkuchen: Multi-layered Tree Cake”

Cake Week in Pastry Level 2

With the end of the first section in the CIVIU course, we begin this second half with Level 2 of Pastry where we’ll be upgrading the products we put out. Finer quality items, more detail, a little more complex construction are expected. Likewise, when we get to Breads 2 a few weeks from now, we’ll need to up the ante there as well. This first week in Pastry Level 2 finds me in the Cakes section.

And who’s on the team for this section? Surprise! They didn’t change the teams. So once again, it’s Kevin and I, the only team of two, doing what the other teams of three are expected to pump out. This means bigger workload for us, since we won’t have that third person to help produce all the regular production requirements (cakes, bars, pot pies all for the cafeteria). Fortunately, they’ve decided to cut back on the quantities we have to produce but that applies to teams of three as well. We’re still out one person.  We’ll see how that goes.

Some of the production stuff we needed to do for Cakes week included making a few sponge cakes and carrot cakes (iced), genaches, simple syrups, cheese cakes, simple buttercream and a giant load of Italian meringue buttercream. Since Kevin hadn’t done buttercream when he was on cakes during the previous Pastry section, he got to do it this time. I made the carrot cake. Both of us made a sponge cake. Then we got on to the individual items. Oh, and a special order birthday cake for the end of the week came in… on Wednesday.

Continue reading “Cake Week in Pastry Level 2”