I recently embarked on a search for Germany's so-called "king of cakes," or baumkuchen, a hollow, concentric cake that's made by applying layer after layer of batter on a rotating spit. I discovered the hard-to-find pastry at Lutz Bakery and Pastry Shop, an old-school Central European bakery in Chicago's Ravenswood neighborhood.In the baumkuchen research that followed, I learned that the cake is not just a delicacy in its home country; it's also been one of the most popular pastries in Japan since it was first brought over to the country after World War I. Thanks to its ring shape, baumkuchen is also a popular Japanese wedding staple.
Keep reading for more on Japanese-style baumkuchen.
After eating my way through the cupcake craze, I'm ready to put my muffin tins away and dust off the cake pans that have been sitting at the back of my cupboards.
Don't get me wrong: I love a tiny handheld treat. But there's something very satisfying slicing into — and serving — a full-sized cake.
This time of year, I want something that goes well with a cup of tea or a scoop of fresh berries, something that makes me feel like a real hostess when friends drop in. So when I came across a recipe for a glazed lemon buttermilk cake, I knew I had found the perfect match.
The cake is moist and tangy, thanks to the addition of vegetable oil and buttermilk, but it's the lemon glaze that gives it a real lemony kick. It's great as a dessert, but I enjoy it most as a midafternoon excuse to put off doing laundry for just a little bit longer! For the recipe, just keep reading.
I'm not much of a German food aficionado, but a few years ago, I read a New Yorker article about Germany's "king of cakes" that's been forged in my mind ever since. In the story, Mimi Sheraton embarks on a fervid quest for baumkuchen, a ringed, hollow cake that's made on a spit with layer after painstaking layer of batter, then iced with a coating of chocolate or sugar.Photo: Susannah Chen
Her pursuit of the dying art led her to Lutz Café and Pastry Shop, which she proclaimed to be "the closest to Kreutzkamm's famous German bakery that I have found." When I was in Chicago last weekend, I made a trip to Lutz to see what the hype was all about.
Despite the busy street it's on, the Germanic bakery was quiet and unassuming, which allowed all of its baked goods to speak for themselves. Of course, I made a beeline for the baumkuchen. While Lutz makes its cakes on the premises, I wasn't able to see the rare spit machine in action. But I did admire the whole baumkuchen, over a foot tall, in their completed state; the sugar-glazed and chocolate-coated versions were treelike in stature.Source: Flickr User RuckSackKruemel
But it was cutting into a cross-sectioned slice that truly revealed the cake's intricate construction: crepe-thin layer after crepe-thin layer formed delicate concentric circles, not unlike a California redwood. The composition factored into the texture of the baumkuchen, which was both springy and dense. Its flavor — mildly sweet vanilla with a almond aftertaste — called for a cup of coffee. As I left Chicago, I prepared to mourn my new breakfast ritual — that is, until I learned that Lutz ships across America, even overnight.
Have you ever tried baumkuchen?
I like to keep a few well-loved recipes in my repertoire to make time and time again, and birthday cake is something that I find myself happily making several times a year. I typically turn to a very rich chocolate cake from Ina Garten or a simple vanilla cake from the Magnolia Bakery cookbook. I've noticed, however, that yellow cake is a favorite of many, but until now I'd never thought to make it from scratch.
Most recipes for yellow cake use buttermilk, which differentiates it from a standard vanilla cake. I noticed a particularly mouthwatering photo floating around on Pinterest months ago that I couldn't get out of my head. Rather than buttermilk, this specific recipe calls for butter flavoring, which you can find at cake supply stores or online.
This cake comes together easily. I used two seven-inch cake pans and had a little bit of leftover batter for a few cupcakes. The simple vanilla buttercream frosting is delicious and rich, but I'd like to experiment with some more exciting flavors in the future. It tasted rich, buttery, and slightly sinful. The cake itself was moist and dense, which I appreciated, and one piece was more than enough to keep me satisfied.
For the recipe, keep reading!
Show off your cake decorating skills by making a cute, homemade Halloween cake or cupcakes. Spiders, Frankenstein, and creepy ghosts are just a few Halloween themes you can easily translate to your baked goods. Cakes and cupcakes make a fun and exciting centerpiece to any party, so get your mixer and piping bag out and ready. We've broken it down by hardest to easiest, so you can work with your skill and comfort level.
In my childhood I speculated if it weighed a pound, or whether it would cause me to put on a pound or two. But that's actually not where the name comes from. Pound cake, which originated in Europe in the first half of the 18th century, initially weighed four pounds. That's because it called for a pound of each of four ingredients — flour, butter, eggs, and sugar — hence the name.
The recipe produced something far larger than what a modern-day family would consume — an amount over twice the volume of most loaf pans. Traditional recipes, therefore, preserve the simple ratio, but serve a much smaller quantity than the original recipe; in contemporary times, most have modified the recipe for a lighter, richer dessert with a prominent butter flavor. In France, where some argue the pound cake originated, the name of the original cake has stuck as well. There, it's called quatre-quarts, or "four quarts," a quart referring to a pound.
Source: Flickr User asha susan
There's nothing terrible about two! At least not on toddler's second birthday. Your budding eater may not smash his face in his second birthday cake the way he did on his first birthday, but chances are he'll still get that sticky icing everywhere. Regardless of the mess, 730 days on this planet calls for a decadent slice of sugary goodness. If you're planning a second birthday party or just want some mouth-watering inspiration for future festivities, check out these copycat-worthy cakes and trends.
What's the best way to celebrate baby's first 365 days, or 8,766 moments on earth? Why a giant birthday cake, of course! Whether your one year old has tried the sweet stuff before or tastes the confection for the first time on her first birthday, you can expect whatever you serve will be enjoyed and rubbed all over the place. In fact, mini smash cakes, which are made to be smeared and drooled all over a baby face for the sake of a giggle and cheeky photo, have become quite trendy. If you're planning a first-year fete or just want some mouth-watering inspiration for future festivities, savor these copycat-worthy cakes and trends.