Baumkuchen – An old gem with roots in Germany is a fun cake to bake when you are bored of baking the same old cake recipes. I discovered Baumkuchen on one of my random internet browses and was instantly intrigued by this beautiful cake. I have been wanting to bake this since then and when I finally did bake, Baumkuchen did not disappoint.
Baumkuchen literally means tree cake, owing to its layers that resemble the growth rings that trees have. Though widely known to be a German cake, the origins of this cake is disputed. No matter who discovered this, he/she is certainly a baking genius 🙂
The three main ingredient of Baumkuchen cake are brown butter, flour and egg with butter being the start ingredient of taste and egg that of texture. The original recipe calls for a ratio of 1:1:2 of these three ingredients in that order. Traditionally this cake is baked on a rotating cylindrical spit inside a fire pit like a wood fire pizza oven with the batter spread over the spit as it rotates and bakes each layer (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baumkuchen). Though the traditional baking looks quite labor intensive, cooking it in our kitchen is not that difficult. In fact this was one of the easier cakes I baked that came out perfectly baked and very tasty! So, let’s start!
Note: Right now, my easy recipe plugin is broken so, the concise recipe format is not available. I have tried to mimc that myself at the end of this page.
First, break four eggs into a bowl, add 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tbsp vanilla extract and 1/4 cup milk in a bowl and mix them well. Place a pan on medium heat and melt a stick of butter and bring it to a boil till the butter browns making it what is known as brown butter (this is nothing but Indian Ghee cooked slightly more!). This brown butter is THE ingredient that gives the cake its subtle nutty sweet flavor. I used a stick of butter that made 1/2 cup of brown butter.
Once the egg mixture is mixed well, place it on a double boiler (heat water in a pan and place the egg mixture bowl on top without touching the water) and cook it slowly for about 10 mins, constantly stirring the mixture.
Once the mixture is cooked for about 10 mins, place it in the beating bowl and beat it on medium speed for about 10 mins. Half way through beating, slowly add brown butter and beat it for another five minutes, the batter will almost double in volume. Now, add 1/2 cup of all purpose flour or cake flour into the mixture and mix it well by a bubble whisk.
Now you have the cake batter ready, it’s time to bake it. Baking of Baumkuchen is different from other cakes, it takes an oven with broling capability (which is 500-550 degrees temperature). Take two cake pans and place one on top of the other and grease the top one or line with a greased parchment/aluminium foil. Alternatively you can also take a heavy bottom cake pan. Take about 3-4 scoops of batter and pour into the pan and rotate the pan so that the batter coats the bottom of the pan evenly. Place the pan in the oven on broil and let it bake for a minute and half or till you see the surface of the cake caramelized.
Take out the pan and pour another 2-3 scoops on top of the caramelized layer and spread it evenly just by rotating the pan around. Bake it again till the new layer is caramelized. Repeat this process till you use up all the batter, with this recipe, I could make about five layers of 3 spoons each.
Once all the layers are baked, transfer the cake on a plate and let it cool. For Baumkuchen, the best coating is chocolate. On a double boiler, melt your favorite chocolate, add some gelatin ( I used vegetable gelatin, Agar agar) and a spoon of milk or cream, this makes for a fine chocolate glaze for the cake. Pour it on top of the cake, once the cake is completely cooled down and spread it evenly and refrigerate the cake for an hour.
After the cake and the glaze sets, take a knife and dip it in water and slice the cake to your choice of shapes and enjoy the fine flavor of very tasty Baumkuchen cake 🙂
Egg – 4
Sugar – 3/4 cup
Vanilla Extract – 1 tbsp
Milk – 1/4 cup
Browm butter – 3/4 cup or 1 stick melted & caramelized
All purpose flour – 1/2 cup
For Chocolate Glaze:
Chocolate chips – 1 cup
Milk/heavy cream – 1/4 cup
Gelatin/Agar Agar – 2 tsp melted
- Beat eggs, sugar, milk & vanilla extract till they are mixed well.
- Cook the mixture on top of double boiler for about 10 mins, keep stirring.
- Remove from boiler, beat on medium speed for about 10 mins, add brown butter slowly while beating
- Add flour to the beaten mixture and mix well
- Stack two cake pans & grease the top, pour 3 spoons of batter and rotate to coat evenly
- Bake it in oven set to broil till the top of the batter turns brown
- Pour 3 spoons of batter and bake it again, repeat till all the batter is used up
- Place cake on a flat plate and let it cool
- Melt chocolate using double broiler method, add milk & gelatin
- Pour melted chocolate on the cooled cake and refrigerate for an hour
- Cut the cake in your desired shape and enjoy the cake to your heart’s content 🙂