Baumkuchen: the cake Charlotte bakes in episode 258

Aazealh

Administrator
Staff member
Baumkuchen-258.jpg

There was some talk about the cake Charlotte bakes for Griffith in episode 258, so I figured I'd make a quick thread about it. It's a traditional type of cake from Europe that's commonly known as Baumkuchen, which means "tree cake" in German. It's called like that because it has layers that look a bit like the rings inside a tree trunk. The main ingredients are butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt and flour.

Baumkuchen2.jpg

What makes this cake unique is that it's traditionally cooked on a spit. The baker slowly adds layers of batter while rotating the cake over the fire, which is how it achieves its look. It's a slow process since there can be up to two dozen layers, and it requires some real skill. In fact it's almost exclusively made by confectioners nowadays and it's not a very common pastry.

Baumkuchen3.jpg

There are several types of spit cakes like this in various European countries, typically in mountainous regions. Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Hungary, Poland, Sweden... They each have their own names and styles for it. It's not clear where or when these kinds of cakes first originated, but the reason we use the German name Baumkuchen here is because that's how it's called in Japan: バウムクーヘン.

It was introduced there in 1919 by Karl Juchheim and has since become very popular, more so in fact than it is in Europe. This is no doubt how Miura got the idea to feature it in Berserk!
 
Very interesting!

Two thoughts pop to mind: kudos to Charlotte for baking such a complex cake and now I want to try it. :chomp: I hope I can find one where I live.
 

Aazealh

Administrator
Staff member
What I'm wondering is how did you even start researching about it?

Well, when episode 258 came out (in 2005) I had never seen that sort of cake before, which piqued my curiosity since I know a good deal about European pastries. It wasn't enough to start me on a quest to find out about it, but I kept it in mind. Years later, I learned of its name by total chance (overheard a conversation), so I was like "nice, mystery solved!". It didn't feel like it was worth posting about though.

But then yesterday people were talking about it in the chat, because the Big Berserk Expo will be selling cakes like that next month. Since no one seemed to know about this type of cake, I figured I might as well make a thread about it. And since I already knew a bit about it, it wasn't hard to find more information on the Internet. If you're interested, this page has a lot of details about spit cakes and their history.

Baumkuchen-BigBerserkExpo.jpg
 

Aazealh

Administrator
Staff member
Baumkuchen used to be my favourite cake as my grandma often had it at home, I have many memories about it. It had chocolate all around it, though.
What a nice somewhat personal connection, even though it’s such a minor detail :beast:

Yeah it seems in Germany it's often sold covered in chocolate nowadays. Why not, I mean, chocolate makes everything better, right? :guts:
 
Baumkuchen is great. If someone wants to try. I have made this recipe at home. I translated it to english hopefully it is comprehensible.

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6 eggs
250g butter, soft
200g sugar
2 pck. (48g) vanilla sugar
1 pinch of salt
3-4 tablespoons rum (as desired)
150g flour
50g cornstarch
100g ground almonds
45g currant jelly
1-2 tablespoons of water
60g dark chocolate coating
1-2 teaspoons neutral oil

You still need: mixer with whisk, springform pan (20 cm), baking paper, pot for water bath, brush, knife

1. Cover the bottom of the springform pan with baking paper. Preheat the oven to approx. 250 °C top heat/highest level of grill function

2. Separate eggs and beat egg whites with salt until very stiff. Beat the egg yolks with room warm butter, sugar and vanilla sugar in a mixing bowl with the whisks of the mixer until a bound mass is formed. Stir in the rum. Mix flour with cornflour and ground almonds and stir it in in 2-3 portions. Carefully mix the beaten egg white into the dough.

3. Spread 1-2 tablespoons of dough evenly on the bottom of the prepared springform pan (picture 3.1). Bake the dough layer light brown, takes about 2 minutes. It is important that the layers are not baked too long, otherwise the cake will be too dry later. Take it out of the oven and as a second layer spread 1-2 tablespoons of dough on the baked layer again. (Picture 3.2) Put the form back in the oven and process half of the dough this way, that is about 6 layers. Remove the finished cake carefully from the edge with a knife and let it cool down. Bake a second cake with the remaining dough as you did before.

4. Heat the red currant jelly in a pot or microwave with a little water until everything is fluid. Brush the surface of the first cake with it, place the second cake on top, press down a little and brush the second surface with jelly. Alternative: (If you like, you can also heat up a little more jelly, surround the bottom cake firmly with baking paper and then put a 2-3 mm thick layer of jelly on top. Make sure that nothing runs down the edge and let it gel, this is done quite quickly. For sticking to each other, put some jelly on the bottom of the second layer, put it on and brush the top side). Let it dry. Cut off about 1 cm from the edge and cut a hole in the middle. Put this piece aside and decorate it later.

5. For the chocolate, coarsely chop the dark chocolate coating and melt with oil in a water bath. Allow to cool only briefly, the consistency should be fluid, not too liquid. Spread the chocolate on the cake with a teaspoon and let it flow down the sides of the cake. Cool down well and let it dry.

6. Decorate the cooled chocolate with sugar writing and Haribo Perl balls. (If you like)
 
I wonder if it's possible to use brands different from Schwartau, Sarotti, Decocino and Haribo :ganishka: never seen advertising like that in recipes.
I might try that recipe. If I do I'll post the result!
 
Very interesting!

Two thoughts pop to mind: kudos to Charlotte for baking such a complex cake and now I want to try it. :chomp: I hope I can find one where I live.
So, in the end I was able to order the Swedish and the German versions of the cake:

baumkuchen.jpg


That they were both cooked on a spit is pretty much the only thing they have in common; beyond the visual differences, the taste and texture were also completely different. The Swedish version's texture is, in my opinion, closer to meringue than it is "regular" cake, whereas the German version's texture is pretty much what I would call cake. To be honest, I wasn't a big fan of the Swedish version, as it tasted too much of egg, but the German version was really good, perhaps a bit too sweet, but that means I just need to eat smaller servings.

All in all it was very interesting learning about this style of cake and trying them. :ubik:
 
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