I sure have done a lot of baking lately for someone who claims to not be a baker.
This cake was made in honor of Mothers Day, and I can honestly say I have never been so nervous to cut into anything as I was to cut into this cake. It was a very time-consuming process, while not difficult, and utilized just about every bowl in my house (although that was probably just due to my own disorderly way of going about it). It’s definitely the type of cake you make when you really want to say “I love you.” After all the time and effort and ingredients and unspoken meaning that was poured into it, I really wanted it to come out perfect.
I wasn’t so much worried about the presentation; I was confident that I had followed the procedure fully and would get a beautiful result. I was more worried about taste. One or two layers got slightly overcooked, and I messed around a little with the ingredients. I wasn’t sure I’d like the combination of almonds and apricot butter. Luckily, both worries were unfounded, and the slightly charred layer had absolutely no impact on the final flavor. The apricot butter didnt either, somewhat unfortunately, it was almost completely unnoticeable even though I slathered it on generously. I almost wish I used a different filling….my grandmother suggested strawberry, but I think chocolate would have been good inside too….although I think that adding any more chocolate to this cake would overpower the light, delicate flavor of the cake itself.
Here’s an attempt to photograph a fork-full and show the layers….the layers that got cooked the brownest are the ones that are most visible in the finished cake, so maybe a bit longer cooking is a good thing.
Traditionally, these cakes are made on a spit–like a kabob. As it rotates, a skilled pastry chef “paints” the batter on layer by layer. The final cake comes out somewhat resembling the rings of a tree, hence being called “Tree Cake.” Our method is much more simple though, it simply requires pouring a thin, crepe-like batter into a springform pan, quickly pushing it under the broiler until its cooked, then spooning another thin layer on top….and so on. And the effect is this. how cool is that?!
What else can I say about this cake?Overall, I’m really glad I gave it a chance. The process was especially interesting as was learning some of the background information on how these cakes are traditionally made. I look forward to one day digging this recipe out, tweaking it, and coming up with an even more delicious result 🙂
Recipe inspired by and process explained by Brian at How-To Baker.Find it here. I made a few changes—taking cues from several other recipes that included marzipan (which frankly, I cant afford to shell out for this week), I added 2t of almond extract. Next time, ground up almonds might be good to add to the flour as well for a little extra almond kick. I also added the aforementioned apricot butter, which was also mentioned in several other recipes I referred to…I brushed some on every two or three layers, and also thoroughly coated the outside surface of the cake with it. Perhaps it lent some extra moisture to the cake, but had I mentioned it, no one would have even known it was there.