It was our wedding anniversary 2 weeks back . For birthdays and anniversaries , baking cake has become kind of ritual at home.. This time I was searching for a special cake for the special day.. I bookmarked a few and then thought to check this month’s Daring Bakers challenge . This time the challenge was layered cake . Seeing all those layers I was all excited..so this was going to be the anniversary special cake … !!!
Baumkuchen (Tree cake) is a kind of layered cake. It is a traditional dessert in many countries throughout Europe and is also a popular snack and dessert in Japan. The characteristic rings that appear when sliced resemble tree rings, and give the cake its German name, Baumkuchen, which literally translates to “tree cake” – Source Wikipedia
I had seen pictures of the layered cake on the net before and had always thought that all those layers were made by baking a cake and slicing the cake into thin layers. :) As I am not much expert in slicing cakes evenly , I never tried to make them. Only after seeing the Daring Bakers challenge, did I realise that the layers are done while baking itself. Easier than slicing evenly was my first thought.
But after searching the net about the tree cake, I realised there was a glitch.. each layer should be baked and browned by 4 – 6 min. Some sources suggested using the broiler option in the oven, or using the upper gas flame if using cooking range oven . I initially tried to bake the first layer at 230 C in the cooking range oven . But after 4 minutes, the cake wasn’t showing any sign of browning. I kind of panicked a bit , what if the layers are not going to come well defined.. .. I switched off the lower gas flame and turned on the upper gas flame in the oven . after few minutes the batter started to get a light brown colour. Relief !!! I kept the same setting for the rest of the cake , each layer took about 5 minutes to get browned.
After every 3 layers spread an even layer of apricot jam. This will make the cake more soft and moist. The whole baking takes about 2 hrs and you need to be constantly checking the cake, to see that the layers are not over browned. For the final layers, the baking time will become lesser. The last 2 layers took only 3 min in my case. The process is not complicated, but you need to know your oven well !!!
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).
TREE CAKE (Baumkuchen)
For the Cake Batter
- Large eggs (room temperature) – 6
- Salt - a pinch
- Granulated sugar – 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (120 gm)
- Marzipan – 2/3 cup (150 gm)
- Softened Unsalted Butter – 200 gm
- Confectioner’s (Icing) sugar -3/4 cup (100 gm)
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) (1 package) (8 grams) vanilla sugar
- All-purpose (plain) flour (sifted) – 2/3 cup (100 gm)
- Apricot jam
For the Glaze ( I got the recipe from here )
- Butter – 6 tbsp
- Light corn syrup – 2 tbsp
- Semisweet chocolate , chopped – 6oz
- Preheat your oven to hot 450°F/230°C/gas mark 8 or turn on the upper gas flame in the oven.
- Grease your cake 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 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 cup 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.
- After every 3 layers, spread an even layer of apricot jam.
- 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 and let the cake cool completely on a wired rack.
- Heat the jam a little, pass it through a sieve. Cover the cake with the jam and let it cool.
- To make the glaze heat a small sauce pan on medium-low heat. Melt butter in pan then add chocolate and corn syrup. Stir continuously to keep from burning. Mix well
- Pour chocolate glaze over cake and spread evenly with a spatula. Glaze will set as it cools.