Baumkuchen (Tree Cake)

Susan, AKA Kiwicook

Author: Susan, AKA Kiwicook

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Baumkuchen tree cake

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).

Wow, this was a fun challenge! And a fairly labor-intensive one! You need to have a good measure of patience, given you need to cook each layer separately, but the result is definitely worth it! Being a continental-style cake, the taste is quietly sophisticated and not overly sweet. Everyone loved it. I do recommend making your own almond paste if your only other option is the sweet processed stuff you get in the supermarket – it’s a breeze to make and you feel really righteous when you tell everyone that not only did you make this super cool looking cake, but you made your own almond paste as well! They’ll think you’re God’s gift!

Baumkuchen tree cake
Baumkuchen tree cake

Baumkuchen (Tree Cake)

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Cool time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 8 people



  • 6 large eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • 4-1/4 oz granulated sugar
  • 5-1/3 oz marzipan or almond paste
  • 7 oz softened unsalted butter
  • 3-1/2 oz confectioner’s (icing) sugar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 3-1/2 all-purpose (plain) flour (sifted)


  • oz apricot jam
  • 2 tbsp orange liqueur (optional)
  • 7 oz dark chocolate (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp pure coconut oil


  • Preheat your oven to hot 450°F/230°C or use your broil/grill option (which is the traditional method and which ensures the bottom of the cake doesn’t dry out and burn).
  • Line your cake tin (approx. 25cm round spring form pan or 20-22cm square) with parchment paper, grease both paper and tin.
  • Divide the eggs. Beat the egg whites with the salt until nearly stiff, gradually add the sugar and beat until stiff and glossy.
  • Finely crumble the marzipan or almond paste (my paste was soft and pliable so didn’t need crumbling). Beat it with the softened butter, confectioner’s (icing) sugar and sugar until soft and creamy. Add the egg yolks one by one and beat well between each addition. Add the stiff egg whites and flour and gently fold it into the batter, trying not to lose too much air.
  • Smear a good half cup or so of the batter on the bottom of the pan and broil (grill) for about 4 minutes in the oven, until it is cooked and brown (you need to ensure it’s brown, as this is what defines the layers, but be careful it doesn’t burn). Take the pan out of the oven, leave it for about a minute and smear about a quarter to a third cup portion of batter carefully over the first (you’ll find that the batter you smear on will quickly melt, given the hot cake beneath it, but this is fine and in fact makes it easier to smear and for the batter to self-level), and bake for another 4 minutes or until cooked and brown. Repeat until all batter is used. If you wish, you can smear on some warmed apricot jam every few layers between batter layers to increase the flavour, but that’s entirely optional.
  • Let the cake cool down for a few minutes, take it out of the pan, remove the parchment paper and let the cake cool completely on a wired rack. Trim the edges.
  • Heat the jam a little, pass it through a sieve, and add the orange liqueur (optional). Cover the cake with the jam and let it cool.
  • Melt the chocolate with the coconut oil in a bowl above warm water. Pour it over the cake to cover completely, move the cake to a cool place and wait until the glaze is dry.
  • You can leave it as is, or decorate with sliced almondsor coconut.


Freezing and storage : The tree cake tastes better when you wait one day before eating it. Eat within a week. Store in an airtight container, but not in the fridge. Freezing is possible: cut into portions, wrap tightly in cling film and freeze up to two months.
Keyword Baumkuchen, tree cake
Tried this recipe?Let us know how if you liked it in the comments below!
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Susan, AKA Kiwicook
About The Author
Susan, also known as the Kiwi Cook, hails from Levin, New Zealand, and has a unique Kiwi-Dutch-British heritage that influenced her culinary upbringing. As an artist, tutor, writer, and editor, Susan dedicates her weekends to creating delectable dishes. Her food philosophy embraces moderation and listening to her body's needs.


  1. This cake is just gorgeous! I’m sure it would impress any dinner guests. Pinning!

  2. I WAS gonna make it…. But the grill on my oven is seriously dodgy, could I just bake it on the top shelf of my oven?????

    • Hi Laura. A lot of members just baked it normally – see the temps I’ve included… you’ll just get a rather more cooked base is all…

  3. Avatar

    Those layer are a work of art. Great job!

  4. Avatar

    Should I put the oven setting on high or low broil when baking?

    • Hiya. Hmm.. my old oven doesn’t have high or low settings. However, if it were me, I’d start with low broil. See if it cooks the layer in roughly four minutes – if so, it’s a good one to use. If it’s taking much longer than that to cook the batter, try it at high broil, but just make sure you keep a constant check to ensure the batter doesn’t burn. Hope that helps!

  5. OMG your layers are perfect!! SO pretty

  6. This is gorgeous ~ Would love to see this submitted to so I can share with all my foodie friends 🙂

  7. Not everyone likes peppermint chocolate. Give me their slice then!

  8. I just have to tell you how much I LOVE this recipe. I impress everyone when I make it by its looks and delicious taste, even my Grandma who has been baking for 80 years. It makes me happy to be able to make something for her that shows my love for her since she’s been doing that for me my entire life.

    • Brandy, how wonderful to hear that you’re spreading love through food in this way – it’s something you can always be really proud of. Glad the recipe has impressed!! Susan. x


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