Baumkuchen, is essentially (or at least to me), german “kueh lapis”. It tastes nearly the same, looks nearly the same, and is made nearly the same way. None the less, it was really fun to make and it was definitely satisfying to see the layers!
My first try, I made the mistake of only letting the sides brown and not entire surface of the cake. This resulted in a cake with beautifully browned sides but a beige center. (Ok in my defence, you can see the layers, if you look closely enough.) But on my second attempt, the results were better! However, I got a little more impatient, resulting in thick cake layers (whoops).
I made this cake for a close friend of mine because another friend had a neck brace which reminded her of a baumkuchen and she never stopped going on about it, so when deciding on a birthday cake for her, what’s more fitting than a baumkuchen??????
I must admit that this was a really time consuming and I got burnt by the oven door twice (because i got impatient and didn’t remove my cake properly, sigh). But the results were fab so it was entirely WORTH IT! So here goes: (this is the exact recipe for the decorated cake you saw when you first open this post so, if you just want the cake, skip the glaze!)
Cake: (I halved the recipe, and made a tiny cake about 4-5in in diameter!)
4 whole eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown butter
1/2 cup cake flour
1. Whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla and your sugar together until everything is combined!
2. Get some water boiling in a small pot (it’s like a double boiler!) and place your bowl over it and cook the eggy mixture for about 5 minutes until it reaches about 53degC (or 129degF). OH, make sure the bottom of your bowl isn’t in contact with the water!
3. Then whip it using a hand mixture (10 – 15min) until its fluffy! It should triple in volume.
4. Halfway through, slow down your mixer and add your brown butter.
RECIPE ON THE SIDE: BROWNED BUTTER
Place the amount of butter you have to use in a small saucepan and heat it over medium-high fire. Your butter will first start to melt, and bubble. Don’t be worried when it starts to bubble a lot but watch for a nutty smell and a SLIGHTLY browner coloration of your butter. Once you smell that nutty smell, keep it over the fire for awhile then remove it from the heat immediately. Do NOT overcook it! You have to watch really closely and brown sud-like solids will form on top. Make sure the bottom of your pan isn’t charred and no black solids form! And there you have it, brown butter. (You just need a little practise and patience and you’ll get it!)
5. Once the mixing is done, slowly incorporate sifted cake flour with your whisk! Slowly whisk it so that the mixture doesn’t deflate.
6. Once the batter is done, add a piece of parchment paper at the base of your baking tin, and grease it. Then scoop your first layer and swirl it around. Bake it for a few minutes until the top has browned nicely.
7. Remove it and add the next layer, swirling it around, then putting it back in. Repeat this until you have finished your entire bowl of batter!
(Adapted from http://blog.chefsteps.com/2014/08/midnight-snack-video-baumkuchen-tree-cake/ & Bryon Talbott (youtube chef!) )
Powdered sugar / icing sugar
1. Pour your desired amount of icing sugar into a bowl.
2. Add a teaspoon of milk/water (your choice!) into the icing sugar and mix it.
3. If it’s too dry/sticky, add more milk/water! If it’s too wet/runny, add more powdered sugar! Now, it’s all about the ratio!