Baumkuchen by Dr. JJ Levenstein
Dr. JJ is making a traditional European pastry that is also known as a "tree cake," to help make your holidays more memorable. The cake serves 16-20.


  • Broiler
  • 9-10” spring form pan
  • parchment paper
  • ladle
  • pastry brush
  • whisk
  • small saucepan
  • Stand or hand-held mixer
  • sheet pan, rack
  • time, patience, and dedication!


  • 10 ounces Marzipan
  • 2 ounces half and half
  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter (reserve wrappers to grease the pan)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 ¼ cup sugar
  • 10 large eggs – separated, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • ½ cup + 2 TB self rising flour (I used White Lily)
  • ¼ cup + 3 TB cornstarch
  • 10 ounces orange marmalade (look for a smooth variety)
  • 2 ounces spiced or dark rum (I used Sailor Jerry) plus a splash for the ganache
  • 7 ounces dark chocolate (70% cacao)
  • ½ cup thinly sliced, toasted almonds
  • Sea Salt

Baumkuchen - Home & Family

Now To Put It Together

1) Preheat your broiler, grease your spring form pan (with the butter left on its wrapper) and line with a circle of parchment. Butter that too.

2) Put the marmalade and 2 ounces of the rum in a saucepan with a splash of water, stir, and heat over low until the marmalade is melted. Keep this warm.

3) Whisk the egg whites until firm peaks form and set aside in a clean bowl.

4) Chop the marzipan and Into the bowl of your mixer, cream together the marzipan, 2 ounces of half and half and 1 ounce of the heavy cream until pale and incorporated.

5) Next, add the butter, then the sugar until the batter is pale and creamy

6) Add the yolks slowly, then the vanilla and orange zest.

7) In a separate bowl, sift together the self-rising flour and cornstarch and fold into the batter using a spatula.

8) Now gently fold in the egg whites.

9) Using a ladle, spoon in enough batter to cover the base of the pan and with your pastry brush bring the batter to the edges. Run under the broiler until the batter is set and golden brown.

10) Continue to add batter in this manner and broil each layer.

11) Every second or third layer, paint on the rum/marmalade mixture after broiling.

12) Continue to add layers until the top of the pan is reached. Then paint on one last layer of the rum/marmalade mixture, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

To Finish

1) Roughly chop your chocolate and place in a heat-proof bowl.

2) Warm the remaining 7 ounces of cream until steaming, and pour over the chocolate. Wait a minute or so, and then whisk the mixture until glossy and smooth.

3) Add a splash of rum, a pinch of sea salt and mix until incorporated.

4) Run a small sharp knife around the edge of your cake, and release the collar.

5) Place your cake on a rack set in a sheet pan (line with foil to reduce the mess)

6) Pour ganache over the cake and smooth with an offset spatula

7) Garnish with toasted almonds, and refrigerate until ganache is set.

8) Place cake on a platter, and listen for oohs and aahs! Bon Appétit!

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