Monday, June 27, 2011

Behind the Layers: Baumkuchen (Traditional German Layer Cake)

Have you ever wanted to know what goes into a traditional layer cake, or what the difference is between baumkuchen and spekkoek (our thousand-layer cake)?

For those of you who love baumkuchen or have tried in the past and liked it, you might like to know how similar euforia's spekkoek is to baumkuchen. Or, maybe you're new to both delicacies! If so, you're in for a treat as we explain what makes layer cake so special. Today we're focusing on baumkuchen.

What do 'baumkuchen' and 'spekkoek' mean?

Baumkuchen: Tree Cake (German)
Spekkoek: Bacon Cake (Dutch)

As you can probably tell, the cakes get their names from the way that they look!

What's in them?

The ingredients in baumkuchen and spekkoek are pretty much the same: eggs, butter, flour, sugar, vanilla, milk (and spices, in spice cake variations).

Origins & Tradition

Baumkuchen has its roots in Europe, specifically, in Germany. An article in Wikipedia suggests that a cookbook from 1581 contains a recipe for baumkuchen! Origins for the cake may go back as far as Ancient Greece.

How It's Made

Traditional baumkuchen is a layer cake just like euforia's spekkoek, except that it's made by layering batter on a spit which is rotated over heat. Just like with euforia, each layer is baked separately, one on top of the other. The result is that baumkuchen is a round cake hollowed out like a bundt.

However, there is a horizontal version of baumkuchen which really is just like spekkoek, which is baked in horizontal layers.

Check out the video below to see baumkuchen being baked in action!

Where It's Eaten Today

In addition to Germany, it might surprise you to know that this traditional German layer cake is one of the most popular sweets in Japan! It was brought to Japan by a German baker after World War II and is still popular there today.

If you like baumkuchen, you'll like euforia's spekkoek. Thousand layer cake can even be rolled and made round like baumkuchen, as you can see in the image below.

Find Out More

You can find out more about baumkuchen in the following pages: