I was on my way back to the office after lunch the other day when I spotted a new shop on the third floor of Makati’s Paseo Center – and it was selling something I’ve only been able to see in Japanese food magazines or pop culture blogs: baumkuchen.
Baumkuchen are actually German by origin (the name itself is a dead giveaway). The name is translated as “tree cake”, a description that has something to do with the way the sliced cake looks: like a cross-section of a wooden log showing off the rings that tell you how old the tree was when it got chopped down. The effect is made through the unique way by which these cakes are baked:
Traditionally, Baumkuchen is made on a spit by brushing on even layers of batter and then rotating the spit around a heat source. Each layer is allowed to brown before a new layer of batter is poured. However, the layering process for making Baumkuchen can continue until the cakes are quite large. Skilled pastry chefs have been known to create cakes with 25 layers and weighing over 100 pounds. When cooked on a spit, it is not uncommon for a finished Baumkuchen to be 3 to 4 feet tall. – Wikipedia
Sweet Baum Cafe has brought these fluffy, spongy cakes to the heart of Makati’s Central Business District and you can actually watch the patissiers bake these unique treats through the glass walls that give you a clear look at the kitchen. The cakes are currently available in plain (a rather buttery vanilla), chocolate, green tea, strawberry, and – my personal favorite – cream cheese. The cream cheese is a touch moister than the other variants and has a rather lovely tang to it. The green tea one looks interesting, so I’ll probably grab that the next time I go. Slices go for P 65.00 each, by the way; and these slices are the perfect thing to go with one’s afternoon tea or morning coffee. (Try them with a dirty chai latte, even!)
Sweet Baum also does nama-style cheesecakes (P 45.00 a piece), but – after getting cheesecaked out over the past couple of weeks – I think I’ll stay with the tree cakes for now.