Thursday, December 29, 2011


A year or two ago, a friend of mine lent me the food issue of the New Yorker, which had an article about "Spit Cake," or "Baumkuchen." (Clarification: "Spit" refers to being baked while turning on a spit, not spit as in saliva.) This is how the article described the cake:

"The finished cake is iced with a thin sugar glaze or heavy slatherings of chocolate. Not only does the form resemble a tree trunk; when sliced horizontally, the fine, curved shavings reveal rings of age" (Read more )

I was intrigued, but very few bakeries in Germany still do this. Luckily, I heard of one in Berlin. So Jessica and I biked off in search of Baumkuchen. And we biked really far. In the cold. So we really deserved it when we got there. :) 

It's called Café Buchwald, and it's one of the old-school Konditoreien, like I posted about here. The café is just behind Schloss Bellevue, on the Spree, north of the Tiergarten. It was pretty busy when we got there. All the tables were occupied or reserved. But in Germany, you can also join a table if there are seats open, and sit with strangers. It's a nice compromise for these small, yet popular locations. We joined a couple at a table for 5, and they were leaving anyways. A bit later, two older men came and sat down next to us. It's an interesting cultural phenomenon. Usually they say, "tschüß" to you or something friendly when you leave, but otherwise you just ignore them and pretend like they're not there.

Jessica's Baumkuchentorte
 The cake was a lot lighter than I thought it would be. Also, I have to say the rings were not as well-defined as I think they should be. You should be able to see the layers. But it had a really nice subtle almond flavor, and was really good with coffee. The perfect Kaffeepause after biking! Jessica had the Baumkuchentorte, which has the tree-like layers like Baumkuchen, but isn't baked on a spit. Also beautiful and delicious!

Café Buchwald

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