Friday, September 17, 2010

Baumkuchen


When Ichigo is late for class and falls down the stairs (again), the dormkeeper gives her some baumkuchen to eat after she misses breakfast.  That same day, they learn to use the special baumkuchen spit and she discovers that the dormkeeper knows how to make amazing baumkuchen witout any baking spit at all!  Let's learn how to make this incredible cake without any special equipment too!


What is it?
It is a layered cake resembling the rings of a tree because it is made by pouring layer after layer of batter on a spit over heat so that you end up with a multilayered circular cake.  "Baumkuchen" means "tree cake" or "log cake" in German and it can trace it's history towards Ancient Greece where an actual log was used as a spit to pour batter on over a fire.  Typically 15 to 20 layers thick, this cake is known as the "King of Cakes" and when baked over a spit can actually weight over 100lbs!  The cut pieces that we saw in the show are actually called "baumkuchenspitzen" or "pointed tree cakes" and are in reality, the scraps that fall off of the spit while baking!  In Japan, these little bits are sold as バウムクーヘン and are popularly used as a return present for wedding guests since it resembles a ring.  It was introduced to Japan by the German Karl Joseph Wilhelm Juchheim through his chain of stores in 1917 and now we can bring it to the US!  CLICK HERE TO SEE PICTURES OF BAUMKUCHEN.

Where can I try it?
Shops that sell Baumkuchen are actually very difficult to find in the US because it requires a special oven that can't really do much else just to make it, it's time intensive and hasn't really reached a high level of popularity in the US.  Your best bet to taste it will be to make one at home unless you live in a town with a lot of German influence or a big city with a large selection of food shops.  The one you can make at home layers the cake horizontally and is made in a spring-form pan.  You could always try to make it in a fry pan like they do in the show, but I'm not sure if I'm skilled or patient enough for that... the dorm-keeper used a rolled rod of foil that was oiled and rolled in a rectangular fry pan.  Good luck with that.

Mitsuwa Japanese Markets (Pre-Packaged)

How can I make it? (recipe: The German Kitchen)

Ingredients:
7/8 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
7/8 cup cornstarch
5 1/2 ounces almond paste
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
2 egg yolks
6 egg whites
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
9 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
2 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Preparation:
Butter a 9 inch square metal pan. Place a sheet of parchment paper in the bottom. Butter the parchment, and flour the whole pan. Position the rack of the oven to the lowest level, and preheat the broiler.
In a large bowl, cream the butter or margarine until light and fluffy. Add in the almond paste in small chunks; beat until smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, and salt. Beat in the yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until smooth.

In another bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Add in the sugar slowly while continuing to beat the meringue to stiff, glossy peaks. Fold the meringue into the yolk mixture. Sift the flour over this, and fold in.

Spoon a small amount of batter onto the parchment in the baking pan. With a pastry brush, paint the batter on. You want to cover the paper completely, but have a thin layer. Place under the broiler, and cook until light brown; this should take about 1 to 2 minutes. Brush another layer of the batter over the cake, and place under the broiler. Continue on in this way until all of the batter is used. Cool completely. Turn the cake out of the pan, and trim the edges clean.

In a double boiler, combine the chocolate and the oil. Heat until the chocolate is smooth. With a pastry brush, brush one side of the trimmed cake with some chocolate. Don’t make it too thick. Allow this to harden. Turn the cake over, and brush the other side. Allow the cake to set. Cut the cake into 6 narrow strips, each about 1-1/2 inches wide. Brush the sides and top with the glaze, and allow to set. Store in the refrigerator, but serve at room temperature.

Tips from the show:
- You have to coat the spit evenly.
- Wait for the layer to brown before adding the next layer.

Tips from the real world:
- You can make this dish in a spring form with something in the middle or use an angelfood cake mold to maintain a ring shape but the layers will still be going in the wrong direction.
- It takes a lot of patience to make this cake and you should use a broiler where you can pull out the pan's shelf so that you don't burn your hand on the oven.
- Be sure to alot at most five hours to do this but at least three... it's very time consuming.



Ideas for Variations:
- You can coat or frost the outside in various chcocolate glazes or frostings.
- After frosting or other coating is added, you can add toppings like nuts.

Baumkuchen makes a reappearance in season 2 episode 3.

References:

11 comments:

  1. When you said, "Good luck with that" for the frying pan, did you try it or is it too hard to make it like that?

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  2. I found a couple of sites that did try to do that after watching the show, but they all failed miserably so I decided not to include it. However, I did find many successful sites where people were able to make horizontal layers and still achieve the same texture/taste.

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  3. Unsalted butter? Does tht means you use salted butte in the previous recette?

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    Replies
    1. no, it just means the butter isn't salted like regular butter( like the one you use for popcorn)

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    2. It is better to use unsalted butter than salted butter as you can control the saltines of your batter. Too much salt is not good for your body.

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  4. Hey Nikki, I dount you still have them, but if you do could you give me the sites were the people sucessfully made this in the fryin pan? Thanks! I'll make sure to try it out. ^_^

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    Replies
    1. How to make baumkuchen German layered cake at home by ochikeron @ YouTube

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  5. So do you think a beginner can make this with the frying pan?

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    Replies
    1. Yes you can but some people may take lots of patience and perseverance, like me before successfully doing it.

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  6. has any1 read Kitchen Princess manga, cause baumkuchen is mentionedin it, especially in the final volume!!!

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  7. Hi! can I sub the almond paste with something else or eliminate it altogether? I don't really like the almond flavour.

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Tell me what you think or even send me links to other recipes for these sweets!