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).
That is how the Daring Bakers announce the challenge of this month. I am glad I had the honour to challenge them again.
*** Click here to see all the tree cakes the Daring Bakers made! ***
This is how I presented the challenge:
Hello! My name is Francijn and I'm from the Netherlands, my blog is "Koken in de Brouwerij".
When, in 2008, I became a member of the Daring Bakers, I decided that one day I would challenge you all to make spekkoek. Spekkoek is a Dutch-Indonesian layered cake with traditional spices like clove, mace and anise. This is an example I bought in my grocery store:
But when the moment came for me to host in January 2013, I chose something else: “gevulde speculaas”, because I realised that you would need a broiler (grill) in your oven to make spekkoek. And I was pretty sure that not all Daring Bakers would have one.
Now that I am hosting the January 2014 challenge I have the perfect answer to this problem: a layered cake that doesn't need a broiler (grill)!
Basically, there are two types of layered cakes: the ones with individually baked layers, and the ones that are made by cooking the layers one by one on top of each other. It is the second type that we will be baking this month.
The mainstream in this kind of layered cake is the Baumkuchen (German for tree cake). A commercial Baumkuchen is cooked layer on layer in a big spit above a large container containing the batter, with a broiler (grill) next to it. The batter is poured over the spit, and when cooked, the next layer gets poured and cooked, this is repeated; until you have 15, 20, or even 25 layers of cake. Click here for a picture. The little brown lines between the layers of cake are the reason we call this cake “tree cake”.
Baumkuchen is very popular in Japan as well, where it is called baumukuhen it is served at weddings, because of its ring form. Isn't that funny :-)
Now onto the challenge recipe, which is Schichttorte (layered cake, Schicht means layer). This is a simple version of Baumkuchen, with horizontal layers. The layers in Schichttorte are not dipped, but smeared, and the cake is not baked on a spit, but in a baking mould (tin) (pan) producing a flat multi-layered cake. It is Schichttorte that we will be baking for this month's challenge.
Do yourself a favour and google images of baumkuchen. I promise you will enjoy yourself and be inspired by the many possibilities.
Recipe Source: The recipe provided is from the book “101 heerlijke recepten voor cake en gebak” (101 delicious recipes for cake and pastry), which is a translation of “Lieblingskuchen” (favourite pastries). The publisher asked me to add this specification:
© 2003 GRÄFE UND UNZER VERLAG GmbH
Originaltitel: Lieblingskuchen by Christa Schmedes
The English translation is mine and includes my own comments.
Mandatory Items: The challenge for January 2014 is to use the Baumkuchen (tree cake) and Schichttorte technique of smearing thin layers of batter on top of each other, and baking them one by one, so creating a layered cake structure.
Variations allowed: I will give you a basic recipe, but you are free to use any other recipe for layered cake, as long as it uses this technique. If you choose a different recipe, please share it with us, and share your source.
For inspiration you could search for “layered cake”, “spekkoek”, “baumkuchen”, “Schichttorte”, or any clever search phrase you can think of. You may use any color, flavor, any number of layers (as long as they are thin and many), any form or shape, alternating colors.... get creative!
Preparing your batter: 15 minutes
Baking: 60 minutes (depends on number of layers)
Glazing: 15 minutes
- 10-inch (25 cm) spring form pan / 8x10 inch (20x25 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 8x10-inch (20x25 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
10-inch (25 cm) spring form pan / 8x10 inch (20x25 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.
Freezing and storage : The tree cake tastes better when you wait one day before eating it. Eat within a week. Store in an airtight container, but not in the fridge. Freezing is possible: cut into portions, wrap tightly in cling film and freeze up to two months.