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Grandma's Baumkuchen

13Div002I recently rediscovered my grandmother’s recipe for Baumkuchen. English translations for this delicous treat that I have found online are Pyramid cake and layered cake; if you do it properly you prepare it by adding layer after layer of dough on a spit turned regularly. In a less dramatic version, you add the layers in an ordinary loaf pan. That’s what I did last week, and the resulting cake was so delicious that I want to share the recipe with you.

Here are the ingredients:

  • 250 g (9 oz) butter
  • 250 g (9 oz) sugar
  • 5 eggs, not too small
  • some lemon zest (from untreated lemons)
  • 1 tablespoon rum
  • 50 g (2 oz) peeled, finely ground almonds
  • 125 g (4.5 oz) flour
  • 125 g (4.5 oz) starch flour

Beat the butter until it’s fluffy, then slowly add the sugar, egg yolks, and lemon zest. Beat again until it’s fluffy, then add rum and almonds. Whisk the egg whites until they are stiff, then let it glide onto the cake mixture. Mix the flour and starch, sift it onto the other ingredients and carefully fold it in.

Heat the oven to 190-200°C (370 to 390°F). Take a generous tablespoon of the mixture and spread it over the bottom of a greased loaf tin. Close the oven door and bake for 4-5 minutes until the mixture is firm and nicely golden. Open the door, add another layer, close the door, bake for another 4-5 minutes. Repeat this until all the mixture is used up. (I recommend an interesting sports game on TV while you are doing this, or a good book where it doesn’t matter if you interrupt reading after every couple of pages. Last time this took me an hour and 40 minutes.)

When the cake is cold, turn it out and cover it with hot apricot jam mixed with a bit of water and/or dark chocolate. You can either serve the Baumkuchen in very thin slices or big chunks. Enjoy!

– Rike Horstmann

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