easy desserts & recipes: cherry blossom baumkuchen

easy desserts & recipes: cherry blossom baumkuchen {Lightroom 4 Graduated Filter Warm White Balance} If I were to describe Baumkuchen, it’s like layer upon layer of cake batter which results in a multitude of layers that adds to its unique texture and flavor. Baumkuchen, known as baumukūhen in Japan, has become so popular it’s pretty hard to ignore. The cake is ring-shaped and is cooked by layers on a spit like machine. Many Japanese couples use it as a present for their guests during weddings. Baumkuchen in German means “tree rings” because the cake resembles tree rings when sliced. It was first introduced to Hiroshima, Japan in 1919 by a German named Karl Joseph Wilhelm Juchheim. Years after WWII, Mrs. Juchheim returned to help a Japanese company open several chains of bakeries that specialize in Baumkuchen. The Japanese at the time were inclined to love anything Western and to add to the allure of the cake, it incorporated an element of nature into the presentation of the delicious dessert. The rest as people say… is history! Baumkuchen unfortunately has no particular relevance to my life, no sweet wordy platitudes to relate it to my existence, nor do I have any witty anecdotes to share about this unique dessert. I can very well invent one if it would make my story more of interest to readers, like let’s say… I am the great, great, granddaughter of Karl Juchheim and that I remember making these layered cakes on an ancient spit like contraption in our kitchen, or perhaps I tried to actually use a stick and smear layer upon layer of batter and cook it over a fire (I am not that crazy! Well, maybe I am… but I really love my modern kitchen gadgets and prefer to do my experimenting using them). Probably the only relevant detail I can share about Baumkuchen is that we used a cherry blossom extract icing on it and in the process, the only thing that happened to me is that I pulled a muscle in my lower back. I'm now using these cold/hot pads to relieve the ache. And that didn’t even happen while I was making the frosting. These cold/hot pads are just as amazing as Baumkuchen cakes. I mean, they’re pads, and you can pile them on top of one another and they would be layers like the famous cake. {Adorable Bunny Bowl Bought in Japan as well as here.} Bunny Bowl JapanSakura Baumkuchen (Adapted from Rita at Food.com) Ingredients 1 cup butter, room temperature 3/4 cup sugar 8 eggs ( separated) 2 tablespoons dark rum 1 lemon zest 1/8 teaspoon salt 1/3 cup minced almonds 1 cup flour, mixed with 2 tablespoons flour, mixed with 1 cup cornstarch 2 tablespoons cornstarch 1/2 cup apricot jam, melted almond paste (optional) powdered sugar (optional) Sakura icing (optional) Directions Whip butter and sugar well until creamy. Gradually add egg yolks and the rum, zest, salt, almonds, flour and cornstarch to the butter-sugar mixture until a light, foamy batter forms. Beat egg whites until very stiff and fold gently into the batter. Pour about 2 tablespoons batter (a thin covering) into a 8-1/2" springform pan greased with butter. On the uppermost oven rack, or broil in a preheated for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Watch carefully, this browning can take place very quickly. Directions Repeat until all the batter is gone -- you should have about 14 to 16 layers. When the cake is done, let it stand a few minutes before running a sharp knife along the sides of the pan. Remove the cake from the pan and glaze with melted apricot jam. Once the jam is set, you can add an additional glaze of thinned almond paste or immediately finish the cake with a thin icing made from powered sugar or the highest quality chocolate available (use your favorite chocolate). {Video} Photography Data: Featured Photographer Marie Cinq-Mars Camera Nikon 7000 Exposure 0.013 sec (1/80) ISO 200 Focal Length 98mm Aperture 5.7
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  • March 29, 2012 at 9:03 pm //

    This looks amazing – the perfect treat for a nice spring day! Hope your back is feeling better =)

    • March 30, 2012 at 6:35 am //

      Thank you Peggy = )

  • March 29, 2012 at 11:01 pm //

    These are beautiful!! I have no doubt they are equally as delicious. I love the cherry blossoms in Japan, I have been there and it is such a wonderful country. And those bunny bowls are precious.

    • March 30, 2012 at 6:36 am //

      Thank you so much Megan = ) Cherry Blossom Season will be arriving here next month.

  • March 29, 2012 at 11:21 pm //

    Being German, Baumkuchen is dear to my heart. I mean – my wedding cake was Marzipan Baumkuchen Torte! Cherry blossom sounds like such an interesting twist, delightful!

    • March 30, 2012 at 6:37 am //

      Oooh, Marzipan Baumkuchen, drool! I’ve never had it with Marzipan, my favorite so far, is a thin lawyer of sugar coating, divine!

  • March 30, 2012 at 5:55 am //

    Baumkuchen is new to me…. looks delish! Thanks for the intro:)

    • March 30, 2012 at 6:37 am //

      You’re welcome Erin = )

  • March 30, 2012 at 7:49 pm //

    Wohh, I might try this recipe even without the cherry blossom flavoring! This picture is so nice (and thanks for putting the exif on)
    Like earlier on a sakura flavored post, I’ll be baking my own in few weeks now. So much to do : find the recipes, shopping, shooting. re-shoot if necessery and have a test (we never know if it’s good or not). I really have to improve my shooting skills, your blog inspire me.

    • March 30, 2012 at 10:13 pm //

      Making Baumkuchen, without a spit fire is truly a labor of love, one I don’t want to revisit anytime soon “wink”. We are so happy you are finding the Exif data helpful, we’ll try to include more tutorials = )

      We had a peek at your adorable heart shaped macaron’s…bliss = )

  • March 30, 2012 at 9:22 pm //

    I grew up in Japan and this was one of my childhood favorite! I can buy it anywhere now because I live in NYC, but if I couldn’t I would miss it so much! I always thought it was something people just didn’t make at home. like… your own Nori, or something. this is super cool! thank you!

    • March 30, 2012 at 10:07 pm //

      You did? We are both from the New York area as well, I’m back home in Japan. I love the varieties in Nippon. I think if I left Japan I would have severe culture shock. Making Baumkuchen is truly a labor of love, we are in no need to do it again anytime soon though! “wink”. Thank you for commenting.

  • March 30, 2012 at 9:39 pm //

    Very interesting and I hope your back feels better. How you’re enjoying this treat while you’re recuperating.

  • March 31, 2012 at 2:05 am //

    I will be in Japan in two weeks and will be looking for this stuff. It looks so pretty and delicious.

    • March 31, 2012 at 10:14 am //

      From all the places we visited, Japan by far as the most tastes and varieties of Baumkunchen, Enjoy your trip! Thank you for commenting.

  • April 1, 2012 at 7:36 am //

    Baumkunchen is new to me! It was of interest to read about it’s history and baking technique. Making Baumkunchen is reminiscent of canning tomatoes; unless you’ve invested in the process you wouldn’t know the time spent to achieve the finished product.