Blog-checking lines: 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).
I was very thrilled when I saw this month's challenge! I would have never imagined being able to make a Baumkuchen in my kitchen. I first saw this cake back in December 2012 in a department store here in Hong Kong, and boy was I completely fascinated by the unique way this cake was being baked. It was almost like pit roasting a cake!
I was super satisfied with what I was able to produce for this challenge. The flavor of the cake itself was very much reliant on just marzipan and vanilla sugar. The simplicity of the flavors of this cake made it extra special. Sometimes, less really is more. It was very timely that I met some of my girl-friends for a dinner date tonight, so I got to share the cake with them. It was a little nerve wrecking though because my friend, F, is from Germany, so she knew what a good Baumkuchen should be... Thankfully enough, she liked it; the only thing she said was that I should change the chocolate glaze, because the glaze of a Baumkuchen should be pure chocolate, which was what the challenge recipe called for anyway, but I decided to make a ganache instead... oops, my bad! Oh, and I have give her credit for this cake as well since she got me the marzipan and vanilla sugar when she went back to Germany.
Just for a little "did you know?", Baumkuchen is made by first baking a thin layer of the cake batter then smearing another thin layer on top of the baked cake. By doing this process around ten times or more, you'll end up creating the tree trunk like layers inside the cake. Then you coat the baked cake with apricot jam and glaze it with either chocolate or sugar icing.
A traditional Baumkuchen would have cylindrical layers on the cake because of the way it has been baked in the "roast pit". So technically, this cake we were challenged to bake this month can be called Schichttorte (layered cake) since the layers we created were horizontal layers, just to mimic the concept of making Baumkuchen using a standard baking pan and oven.
I feel like I have a new found knowledge and technique from this challenge, and this is really what Daring Bakers' all about. I can't wait for what's in store for us on February!