Hi, I'm Andie.

I live near the Swiss Alps, in Bern, and I love not only melting cheese, but all kinds of Swiss cooking. 

En Guetä!

Baumkuchen
 
baumkuchen
 

Baumkuchen, literally ‘tree cake’, isn’t Swiss. It originated in Germany, but is also known in many other parts of Europe, including Switzerland, and it is particularly beloved in Japan (for a fascinating history of the German pastry chef who baked the first Baumkuchen in Japan, see here).

The general process for the cake is a slow baking of layer upon layer of batter which, when the cake is cut, gives the appearance of the rings of a tree. Often this is done on a spit, with the batter slowly applied and roasted. At home, you can do this in a cake form, brushing batter and grilling, layer by layer.

Here’s my experience of the cake baking, in video form.

It’s an afternoon’s work.

This recipe is taken mostly from this Jamie Oliver recipe with a very pleasing photograph—though I think generally apricot jam is paired with this cake instead of marmalade. And the recipe from Swiss bloggers, Foodwerk, is also excellent—especially their video. Betty Bossi has a differently shaped version too.


baumkuchen
 

300 g marzipan

100 ml cream

200 g sugar

170 g butter, soft

10 eggs

1 tbsp vanilla extract or paste

the zest of one orange

175 g flour

75 g cornstarch

Filling

300 g marmalade

shot of spirit of choice

Glaze

200 g dark chocolate

50 g butter

50 ml spirit of choice

toasted almonds to garnish


Line a 24 cm (9 inch) springform pan with parchment paper and grease the sides.

Preheat your oven’s grill/broiler.

In a small pot over medium heat warm the marzipan and cream, stirring until you get a paste. (If you are using homemade marzipan that isn’t too hard you can skip this step and just stir together the marzipan and cream, right in the bowl.)

In a large bowl, beat together the marzipan paste, sugar, and butter.

Separate the eggs, reserving the whites.

Add the yolks to the sugar, butter mixture one by one, beating until incorporated. Add the vanilla and orange rind.

In a separate, small bowl, whisk together the flour and cornstarch.

In a large bowl and an electric mixer, whip the egg whites until they are stiff and glossy.

Gently fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture.

Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the butter mixture.

Now your batter is ready.

Filling

In a small pot, warm the marmalade and spirit over medium heat until spreadable.

Baking

Using a pastry brush, brush a thin layer of batter over the bottom of the prepared pan.

Place in the oven for 4 minutes, or until golden brown.

Take the cake out of the oven and brush another thin layer of batter over the bottom of the pan.

Place in the oven for 4 minutes, or until golden brown.

Take the cake out of the oven and brush a thin layer of marmalade over the bottom of the pan. Then brush another thin layer of batter over the marmalade (It’s ok if they mix together a little).

Place in the oven for 4 minutes, or until golden brown.

Continue this pattern of batter, batter, marmalade, until you run out of batter and have filled the cake form to nearly the top. It will take a while.

When you finally reach the top, brush with a final layer of marmalade, then run a knife around the edge of the cake.

Let the cake cool and set fully for a couple of hours—covered in plastic wrap in the fridge.

Glaze

Put a large pot of water on high heat and set a large bowl on top of it (stainless steel works best). Once the water is boiling, turn off the heat, then add the dark chocolate and butter to the bowl on top. Turn the heat down to low. Once the chocolate and butter have melted, whisk in the booze.

Place the cake on a cooling rack with parchment paper or foil underneath to catch the chocolate drippings.

Pour the glaze over and smooth with a spatula.

Press the toasted almonds around the sides of the cake.


helvetia
  • To make your own marzipan, see here.

  • I used Cointreau as my spirit of choice, but other orange varieties (Grand Marnier, Triple Sec) would also suit, or rum.

  • I tried to make a wood grain decoration on the top of the cake, so I additionally melted a little milk chocolate and once I had poured over the dark chocolate glaze and it had just slightly set, I added a bit of the melted milk chocolate and used a pastry brush to swirl it in circles, mimicking a grain of wood.


baumkuchen
Tannenzapfen Torte

Another tree cake?

Tannenzapfen Torte

Ghackets und Hörnli

Ghackets und Hörnli

Marzipan

Marzipan