German Tree Cake | Baumtorte / BaumkuchenThis is my favorite cake. All 20 layers of it. It has been since my mitten-wearing years. My mom used this intricately layered almond and chocolate cake as an activity for us kids – something to keep us busy on rainy mornings, when crayons had lost their interest. It is single-handedly responsible for my obsession with almond paste (and it’s sweeter counterpart, marzipan). NOTE: You need two days to make this cake because the cake needs to chill in the fridge overnight.
Servings Prep Time
12people 45minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
1hour 2days
Servings Prep Time
12people 45minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
1hour 2days
For the cake:
For the chocolate glaze:
Day 1
  1. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the almond paste with half and half, one tablespoon at a time. It will resemble mashed potatoes when you’re done. Next, beat in softened butter until fluffy, scraping the bowl to make sure its all mixed in.
  2. Next, beat in the sugar. Scrape down the sides and add yolks, one at a time, and vanilla extract.
  3. Next, sift in the flour and cornstarch in thirds. Beat until well incorporated, scraping the bowl as needed.
  4. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until they make stiff peaks, but aren’t dry. This is where it’s nice to own a hand mixer, since the standing mixer has your other ingredients in it.
  5. Fold the egg whites into the batter until it looks and tastes like an almond paste cloud.
How to bake the cake:
  1. Turn on the broiler and let it warm up for a few minutes. Meanwhile, grease and line a 9″ springform pan with parchment paper.
  2. Next, spread 1/4 cup of batter in the bottom of the pan. Broil this layer until deep golden brown. Then, add another 1/4 cup batter. Spread it out with a brush and broil, as before. NOTE: Get your layers browner than pictured below or the layers won’t be distinct. If you look at my final cake pictures, you’ll see I eventually went darker with the layers. The highest ones show up much better than the ones at the very bottom of the cake.
  3. After repeating this step a few times, spread a layer with a bit of apricot jam. Continue making a few layers of cake to every layer of jam, until half the jam is used up.
  4. Be sure to push the batter evenly around so the cake remains flat. Doming cakes are forbidden. You can correct as you go. Refrigerate overnight.
Day 2
  1. Spread the top and sides of cake with the remaining half of apricot jam. Set in refrigerator while making chocolate glaze.
  2. Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add corn syrup, vanilla extract, and rum. Simmer a few minutes. Remove from heat and toss in the chocolate chips. Be sure to replace any casualties that get lost in your mouth along the way. Cover five minutes, or until the chocolate is completely softened.
  3. Stir the glaze until glossy and pour evenly over top and sides of cake. The sides can be ugly – they’ll get covered with almonds.
  4. Press crushed almonds over the sides and outer edge of cake. Refrigerate to set the glaze. Slice… and serve with a giant smile. You did it!
Recipe Notes

All ingredients should be room temperature.


Recipe Copyright Sasha Martin, Global Table Adventure. For personal or educational use only. This recipe and hundreds more from around the world may be found at