Words to make me swoon: Instant. Cake. Gratification.
After a hard morning of scrubbing clean the oven followed by grocery shopping, I found myself still peckish even after eating lunch. I wanted something sweet. Specifically, I wanted cake.
You know those times when you’re craving not only a particular taste or flavour, but also a particular texture? Well this was one of those times when neither chocolate nor biscuits would do. I wanted cake but didn’t feel like baking, after having spent enough “quality” time with the oven already.
Lucky for me, there was cake in my kitchen!
And even luckier for me, it was a belated Christmas gift which had arrived via international post from Hong Kong. It’s one thing to receive food souvenirs from friends’ travels but it’s an entirely different experience to receive cake in the post and, to top things off, this was no ordinary cake – this was a baumkuchen which had been made in Japan. I have friends who really do know how to look after me.
A cake which I’d never seen, heard of, or tasted before which just made it all the more exciting. Monsieur Poisson and I quickly enlisted the services of Mr Google which led us to that all-knowing source by the name of Wikipedia, which in turn told us:
“Baumkuchen is a kind of layered cake. It is a traditional dessert in many countries throughout Europe and is also a popular snack and dessert in Japan. The characteristic golden rings that appear when sliced give the cake its German name… which literally translates to “tree cake” or “log cake”. It is also known as the “King of Cakes”.
Baumkuchen is made on a spit by brushing on even layers of batter and then rotating the spit around a heat source. Each layer is allowed to brown before a new layer of batter is poured. When the cake is removed and sliced, each layer is divided from the next by a golden line, resembling the growth rings on a crosscut tree. A typical Baumkuchen is made up of 15 to 20 layers of batter.”
Sitting in a custom plastic mould and sealed in plastic packaging before being nestled in a shiny red and pink box, the cake was completely intact when received at my end. It helps that the cake is dense, although to eat it is not at all stodgy. It smells and tastes like an eggy buttercake but is neither rich nor crumbly. And although the one I received was from Japan, it is reported to be true to the original recipe by the German fellow credited to introducing baumkuchen to Japan and is the brand’s namesake. I counted 18 layers of batter on our cake which has a thin layer of white glaze around the outside.
Can you imagine being able to sit and watch this cake being made on a spit? *Cake spins round, and round, and round, and round, and...*
Excuse me while I go and have another piece of my tree cake now!