Monday, January 27, 2014
January 2014 Daring Bakers Challenge: Baumkuchen
This month's Daring Bakers challenge was to make a baumkuchen (aka "tree cake"). The basic premise is the cake is comprised of teeny-tiny layers that are quickly made on top of each other. Traditionally, a baumkuchen is made (for lack of better terms) on a pole over a spit. The pole is dipped in a trough of batter and then slowly spun over the spit. The pole is re-dipped in the batter and then returned to the spit. (Repeat until lots of layers make up the finished cake)
Unfortunately, most people don't have spits in their kitchen (Conor spits in the kitchen from time to time, but that isn't quite the same, and often results in him sitting in time out for a little bit.... but I digress...)
I found a non-spit baumkuchen recipe that called for a springform pan and a broiler instead of a pole and a spit, so I gave it a try. I should have seen the writing on the wall when I realized how convoluted the recipe was and how poorly it was written. BIG RED FLAGS there.
The key to this month's challenge was the baking method, which I quickly discovered was not one to do while the kids were in the bath and nearing bedtime. The layered baking method required me to stand by the oven constantly, because I had to watch the cake to make sure each layer didn't burn under the broiler. Mind you, each layer only cooked about 1 1/2 minutes. It definitely wasn't a "mix the batter, put it in the oven, come back in 30 minutes after getting the kids' bathed and put into PJs" kind of experience.
After finishing the cake, I let it cook, drenched it in melted apricot preserves (side note: YUM), and then poured melted chocolate over the whole kit and caboodle.
The next day, we went to my brother's house to watch the Seahawks game (GO HAWKS) and I thought the cake would be a nice addition to the day. I was wrong. It was horrible. I mean "Eric took a bite and spit it into the sink" horrible. I choked down my bite, as did my brother, but I think that was it. The cake and all of the time put into it was a huge waste. Glad I tried a new baking method, not so glad on the recipe I used.
Public service announcement: NEVER USE THIS RECIPE!! http://www.food.com/recipe/baumkuchen-the-king-of-cakes-214171
At least I got my many, many layers!! They were just not exactly tasty layers... oh well. Live and learn!
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).