Baumkuchen

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So, you have people coming over for dinner, and you want to knock their socks off? This (easier than it looks) beauty of a cake takes a lot of time, and a lot of patience, but not as much skill as you might think. Simply, it looks SUPER impressive, but it’s deceptively easy – basically it’s wins for everyone.

What you need:

  • 220 g unsalted butter (at room temperature) , plus extra for greasing
  • 300 g golden marzipan
  • 100 ml single cream
  • 225 g sugar
  • 10 large eggs
  • ½ tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 orange
  • 150 g selfraising flour
  • 100 g cornflour
  • 300 g marmalade
  • 200 g dark chocolate
  • 50 ml spiced rum or whisky
  • 25 g toasted flaked almonds
  • 10g crushed pistachios

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It takes a long time, but it’s easy:

  • Preheat the grill to medium-high, and grease and line the base of a 23cm silicone cake tin. (The biggest tin I had was too small, so I had to make two cakes. Which made me popular at work.)
  • Roughly chop the marzipan and put it, along with a little of the cream, in the bowl of a standing mixer and beat using the paddle attachment until you have a thick paste. Gradually add the rest of the cream and continue to beat until you have a pale paste.
  • Add 170g of the butter and beat until completely mixed in.
  • Add the sugar and beat again until the mixture is pale and creamy.
  • Finally, separate and beat in the egg yolks one at a time (save the whites), then the vanilla extract. Finely grate in the orange zest.
  • Sift the self-raising flour and cornflour into a bowl, mix together, then, using a large spoon, gradually fold into the cake batter.
  • Whisk the egg whites to firm peaks, then fold into the batter with the large metal spoon, being careful not to knock out too much of the air.
  • Spoon the marmalade into a small pan and melt over a low heat, add a splash of water if needed to loosen, and keep warm.
  • Now to assemble the cake: using a ladle as your measure, spoon just enough batter into the cake tin to cover the base – you’ll probably need to fill the ladle to about two-thirds.
  • Use a pastry brush to spread the mixture evenly over the base of the tin, so it just covers the surface, then cook under the grill for 4 minutes, or until set and golden all over.
  • Ladle another thin layer of batter on top, and return to the grill. Once golden, brush a thin layer of the softened marmalade over the cake – you want just enough for a thin glaze.
  • Continue layering and grilling, glazing with marmalade every second or third layer, until the batter is used up – you should get 15 to 18 layers.
  • Brush the top of the cake with a good layer of marmalade, then run a knife around the outside of the cake. Leave to cool, then cover with clingfilm and chill for a few hours, or overnight, to set.
  • A couple of hours before you’re ready to serve, break the chocolate into pieces and melt with the remaining 50g butter in a heatproof bowl set over a small saucepan of simmering water. Once completely melted and glossy, stir through the rum, then set it aside for 10 minutes to cool.
  • Remove the cake from the tin and set it on a serving plate. Pour on the chocolate sauce and use a spatula to spread it evenly over the top, letting it drizzle down the sides.
  • Leave it to set slightly, then garnish with the toasted flaked almonds, before leaving it to cool completely.

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