As a food blogger, I'm constantly bombarded by food recipes and photos at an attention-deficit inducing rate. This has resulted in probably the largest, most disorderly bookmark folder known to man, and most of which I'll probably never get to given the limitations of the human stomach. So, when I make it a priority to cook something I've seen floating around on the world wide web, it is special. I first saw this cake on fellow globetrotter Sasha's blog, Global Table Adventure.
This gorgeous German cake consists of many separately baked layers, when cut resembles the rings of an old tree. Traditionally, the cake is made on a spit with each new layer added (or batter painted on) when the previous layer is cooked by the heat surrounding the spit. A typical baumkuchen will have up to 15 to 20 layers so it takes quite some time and patience to construct this cake (this is not for the amateur or impatient baker– there, that's my disclaimer). Because most households don't come equipped with a baumkuchen spit, a home version of the German tree cake has been developed called the, schichttorte. This uses a typical oven broiler to cook each layer in the typical cake form. Although you loose the appearance of tree rings, you'll still have the beautiful cross section layers in each slice.
I will again warn you this requires an incredible amount of patience because each 2 millimeter layer needs to be browned before the next layer of batter is spread on. However, I found it to be the perfect winter weekend project– there was something meditative about the repeated action of brushing the batter and jam. My suggestion is to just turn off the heater, crank up the broiler and put on your favorite album. Okay maybe more like 2 albums.
Despite all the work, this cake is very much worth the effort. It's beautiful, delicate, and most importantly tastes incredible. Here's Sasha's family recipe and I hope these photos inspire you to make your own!