Baumkuchen – tree cake (Daring Bakers Challenge Jan 2014)

DB jan 2014 cake2

Baumkuchen, or better known to me as the Dutch Indonesian Thousand Layer cake, Spekkoek Lapis Legit. I’ve often seen these in Oriental bakeries; they are spectacular to look at, heavy as bricks and incredibly sweet, and delicious with cup of bitter coffee.  For a gluten-free experiment on a Thousand Layer cake, try this one that I’ve made a few years back.

DB jan 2014 cake5

I made this cake in honor of my Javanese grandmother, who I never met. She passed away at a young age when my father was still a baby. He always spoke sadly about being a motherless child, something that I’ve only recently learnt to appreciate as I’ve become a mother myself. There is a magical bond between mother & baby, that not even fathers can substitute (sorry Slackenerny!)

DB jan 2014 cake4

I made a mini cake using a third of the recipe. My layers where coloured using natural food dye. I only managed 7 layers, although in the photo it looks like 6 as two of my layers merged into each other – this cake can not be speed-baked with a baby crying for attention! Adding marzipan to the cake batter was knew to me – I guess this was the German aspect of the cake. I smothered the top in white chocolate (as I was out of dark) which made this decadently sweet. Serve this up in small slices as a little goes a long way!

DB jan 2014 dye

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).

Preparation time:
Preparing your batter: 15 minutes
Baking: 60 minutes (depends on number of layers)
Glazing: 15 minutes

Equipment required:

10-inch (25 cm) spring form pan / 8×10 inch (20×25 cm) cake tin
parchment paper
oil or butter for parchment paper and pan (tin)
beater (electric or hand-held)
spatula or thin wooden spoon
wired rack


For a 10-inch (25 cm) spring form pan or a 8×10-inch (20×25 cm) cake pan
Original recipe is in metric (grams) the volume measures are the nearest conversions.
Makes 12 pieces.

6 large eggs (room temperature)
pinch of salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (150 ml) (4-1/4 oz) (120 gm) granulated sugar
2/3 cup (160 ml) (5-1/3 oz) (150 gm) marzipan
1 cup minus 2 tablespoons (1-3/4 sticks) (7 oz) (200 gm) softened unsalted butter
3/4 cup (180 ml) (3-1/2 oz) (100 gm) confectioner’s (icing) sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (1 package) (8 grams) vanilla sugar
2/3 cup (160 ml) (3-1/2 oz) (100 gm) all-purpose (plain) flour (sifted)

1/3 cup (80 ml) (3½ oz) (100 gm) apricot jam
2 tablespoons (30 ml) orange liqueur (optional)
1 cup (240 ml) (7 oz) (200 gm) dark chocolate couverture chunks
1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure coconut oil

oil to grease your pan
parchment paper
10-inch (25 cm) spring form pan / 8×10 inch (20×25 cm) cake tin

1. Preheat your oven to hot 450°F/230°C/gas mark 8.
2. Line your cake tin with parchment paper, grease both paper and tin.
3. Divide the eggs. Beat the egg whites with the salt until nearly stiff, add the sugar and beat until really stiff.
4. Crumble finely the marzipan. Beat it with the softened butter, confectioner’s (icing) sugar and vanilla 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.
5. Smear 1/12th to 1/10th 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. 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, remove the parchment paper and let the cake cool completely on a wired rack. Trim the edges.
6. Heat the jam a little, pass it through a sieve, and add the orange liqueur (optional). Cover the cake with the jam and let it cool.
7. Melt the couverture with the coconut oil in a bowl above warm water. Pour it over the cake to cover completely, move the cake to a cool place and wait until the glaze is dry.


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