Sometimes store-bought trumps homemade. Mozzarella is definitely one. Peking duck is another. XLB, totally. You can make it all at home from scratch, which I've done, but it's all readily available (especially in NYC), so why do I bother spending an entire day creating it? XLB at decent Chinese restaurants are not that expensive.
The process, in some ways is interesting and eye-opening to see what goes into it, but that's about it. But sometimes it's fun to recreate something that's hard to get, such as aloe yogurt, and it's cost effective to create your own Pinkberry.
This time though, I completely failed and trust me, there will be no second time. Though it's not widely available in this country, there is no need for me to try making this cake at home ever again.
By the way, sorry for not being an active blogger. This fall has been pretty busy, and I haven't created much blog-worthy food recently, or simply, I forget to take pictures.
According to Wiki, the Baumkuchen is:
Known as the "King of Cakes," the Baumkuchen is a kind of layered cake, known in many countries throughout Europe. When cut, the cake reveals the characteristic golden rings that give it its German name, Baumkuchen, which literally translates to "tree cake". To get the ring effect, a thin layer of batter is brushed evenly onto a spit and allowed to bake until golden, after which the process is repeated.
It's similar to layered crepe cake, which I make all the time (and trust me, it doesn't cost anywhere near the $75 that Lady M charges to make it), but doing it at home had many obstacles. "A thin layer of batter is brushed evenly onto a spit and allowed to bake until golden," WTF! I have a spit in my oven, but that'll require heavy heat proof gloves to "brush" batter, and a complete mess.
To solve this, someone came up with a nifty idea of using a "tamago-yaki" pan. These are special pans to make tamago (egg) that can be found at sushi restaurants, and the layering method is just like making tamago-yaki, or so the recipe said. "Easy but authentic baumkuchen." Bullshit.
First, you make a spit by rolling aluminum foil. Be sure to make a perfect width with the pan. Oil it up so that batter won't stick to the spit.
This is a tamago-yaki pan. There are two types you can get, one is rectangular, and the other is square. Almost every household has at least one of those.
- 1 stick of butter
- 30g sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp honey
- 50g cake flour
- 50g corn starch
Make merienge with 4 egg whites and 60g sugar to soft peak.
Mix all of them together. As is the case with egg whites, be gentle when folding meringue.
Now the stressful part starts. Just like making tamago-yaki, recipe said to spread a thin layer of batter into the pan. What I didn't know was the batter is way too thick to spread evenly/easily. By the time you somewhat spread the batter, the center starts burning, yet the sides are not cooked through. To avoid complete burning, I started rolling. Next layer, the same thing happens. Just like many of my failed attempts, this cake was totally cursed out.
After 6 layers or so, I gave up. This was a joke. As you can see, it's basically raw on the edge, and completely burned in the center. Not edible.
Center cuts look ok, but tasted like burned flour. I don't know if there's a German bakery in the city where one can buy them, but there's a store at the Narita airport, or throughout Japan at any department store where you can get about a pound of a beautiful round cake for about $20. Yeah, I will buy them from now on.
I am thinking about perfecting the choux next.
*Yamahomo enjoys cooking and baking. He prefers staying in kitchen all weekend long rather than being outside.