Chocolate Baumkuchen #SundaySupper

by Anne Papina on February 10, 2013

Chocolate Baumkuchen

It’s that time of year again. You know, Valentine’s Day–when couples go full-on mushy, exchanging cards, candies, and flowers. Here on the interwebs, we like to exchange recipes, so the #SundaySupper crew has compiled dozens of romantically inspired recipes for you to share with that someone special. I figured why not go showy, so my contribution today is this stunning Chocolate Baumkuchen.

While it seems that Valentine’s Day would be a Hallmark creation, it’s not. In fact, Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day way back in the 5th century, although it was much later when the love connection was made. There are several legends detailing the holiday’s origins, and there’s probably a hint of truth in them all. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. By the 1800s, paper valentines were all the rage, and today, the U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates a staggering 1 billion valentines will be exchanged.

Now, I’m not much of a greeting card person, but put me in a kitchen, and I’ll whip up something sexy for my man. What better way to show my love? If you ever read Like Water for Chocolate, you know exactly what I mean. Now I probably will pass on recreating the famous Quail in Rose Petal Sauce, especially since I’ve discovered that I really don’t like flowers in my food. Just, yuck. I’ll stick with a tried and true aphrodisiac–chocolate. And this cake is a show stopper.

Baumkuchen is a delicate layered cake, distinctive for its resemblance to tree rings. In German, Baumkuchen literally translates to “tree cake” or “log cake.” Traditionally a Baumkuchen is made on a spit by brushing on layers of batter and rotating it over the heat. Don’t worry, this version doesn’t involve a spit or open flames but rather a springform pan and a broiler. Technically this should be called a Schichttorte.

Are you ready to dirty every bowl in the kitchen? Super, let’s do it!

separated eggs

Since the egg whites will whip better if at room temperature, let’s dirty these two bowls first and separate the eggs.

melted chocolate

Melt the chocolate chips in a small bowl in the microwave–this takes about 45 seconds or less depending on your microwave. Set this aside to cool.

In a mixer bowl, beat the butter, 1/2 cup of the sugar and vanilla until fluffy. Then add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then stir in the flour and cornstarch.

baumkuchen batter

Break out two more bowls and divide the batter in half. Stir the melted chocolate into half the batter.

egg whites

Beat the egg whites in a fresh mixer bowl until soft peaks form. Then gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and beat until stiff peaks form.

baumkuchen batter

Fold half of the egg whites into each bowl of batter. The batter will look a little curdled.

Chocolate Baumkuchen

Spread scant 1/2 cup of the chocolate batter on the bottom of a greased 9-inch springform pan. Broil for 1 to 2 minutes or until done. Spread scant 1/2 cup of the plain batter evenly over the top of the chocolate layer, and broil 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat this process alternating the chocolate and plain batter, making 10 layers.

sour cream layer

Spread the sour cream layer over the top, and broil about 1 minute. Cool the cake for about 15 minutes, then remove the sides of the pan, and cool completely.


While the cake is cooling, wash up a few of those bowls so you can use them again. Melt the chocolate chips and butter in the microwave for about a minute, stirring until smooth.


Transfer the chocolate to a mixing bowl, and stir in the sour cream and vanilla. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating until the frosting is smooth and spreadable. Frost the sides of the cake with 2/3 of the frosting.


Wash and halve the strawberries and arrange on top of the cake.

frosting test

If you’re a little rusty on the piping, do a dry run on a plate first. Note to self: plastic pastry baggie trick requires coupler.

Chocolate Baumkuchen

Yah, check out those mad piping skills (ha!)

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chocolate Baumkuchen
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Paper thin cake layers make the Chocolate Baumkuchen a visually stunning grand finale.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: German
Serves: 16
  • ⅓ cup semi-sweeet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 7 eggs, separated
  • ⅔ cup flour
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
Sour Cream Layer
  • ⅔ cup sour cream
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
  • ⅔ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • Fresh strawberries, halved
  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Melt chocolate chips in microwave and cool.
  3. In mixer bowl, beat together butter, ½ cup of the sugar, and vanilla until fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir flour and cornstarch into butter mixture.
  4. Divide batter equally into two bowls. Stir the melted chocolate into one of the bowls.
  5. In a clean mixer bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining ¼ cup sugar, and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Fold half the beaten whites into each half of the batter (batter may appear curdled).
  6. Spread scant ½ cup chocolate batter on the bottom of a greased 9-inch springform pan. Place pan about 5 inches under broiler and broil 1 to 2 minutes or until baked. Spread scant ½ cup plain batter over the chocolate layer and broil 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat, alternating the chocolate and plain, making 10 layers in all.
  7. Spread Sour Cream Layer over the top and broil about 1 minute.
  8. Cool for about 15 minutes, then remove sides of pan and cool completely.
  9. Frost sides of the cake with ⅔ of the frosting.
  10. Arrange strawberries on top and pipe the remaining frosting around the strawberries.
  11. Chill before serving.
Sour Cream Layer
  1. In a small bowl, combine sour cream, sugar and lemon juice.
Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
  1. In a medium sized bowl, melt the chocolate chips and butter in microwave, stirring until smooth, and cool.
  2. Stir in the sour cream and vanilla.
  3. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating until frosting is smooth and can spread easily.


Note: This recipe was adapted from the 1984 Nestle recipe book Sweet Celebrations.  Also note, I earn a modest commission on any purchases made via the links in this article.

Be sure you check out the other #SundaySupper participants to see what they’ve made for our Valentine’s Day #SundaySupper!

#SundaySupper Valentine’s Day Breakfasts, Apps & Main Dishes:

#SundaySupper Valentine’s Day Sweet Eats:

#SundaySupper Valentine’s Day Drinks:

#SundaySupper Valentine’s Day Tablescape:  A Romantic Table For Two Please from An Appealing Plan

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter today to talk all about Valentine’s eats and treats!  We’ll tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world.  Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET and you do not want to miss out on the fun.  Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat.  Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos!


{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura | Small Wallet, Big Appetite February 10, 2013 at 3:32 am

My husband and I aren’t big greeting card people. When we first got married we gave each other the obligatory cards for holidays like birthdays and Valentine’s day because I think we felt we were meant to. But being people who hate clutter cards are just thrown away the next day so last year we decided to ditch this idea and just stick to showing each other our love throw methods of our choosing. Mine tends to be through cooking and baking. I know something as amazing as this would definitely convey they message I want to share.


Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb February 10, 2013 at 5:36 am

I have never seen valentine cards being sold here. lol
You made me crave for your cake, the strawberries look pretty neat and the cake itself is a Meisterstück. =)


Jen @JuanitasCocina February 10, 2013 at 6:03 am

This is SO gorgeous! I cannot wait to see if I can make this myself!


sunithi February 10, 2013 at 6:20 am

This looks fancy & beautiful. Feel like am peeking into a bakery 🙂 Great job !! Love the strawberry chocolate filling !!


Renee February 10, 2013 at 7:09 am

Reminds me of the tortes and cakes in the German konditoreis. They are all so beautiful. You did a fabulous job with this one. I want a slice right now.


Shannon @VillageGirlBlog February 10, 2013 at 7:35 am

I am not an awesome baker… but I have to try this. It is just so pretty and I love the flavors you use. Yum!!


Brianne @ Cupcakes & Kale Chips February 10, 2013 at 7:37 am

This is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen!


mika February 10, 2013 at 9:08 am

Una idea fantastica para el dia de San Valentin! Felicidades por tu gran trabajo!
Un abrazo!


Amanda @ Marocmama February 10, 2013 at 9:34 am

See this picture pop up reminded me of when I lived in Germany and would spend (too much) time in bakeries buying sweet treats in hopes of reducing my homesickness. I wish I would have paid more attention because I can never find anything similar now. I can’t wait to make this cake and bring back those memories!


Paula @ Vintage Kitchen February 10, 2013 at 10:08 am

This is a stunning cake! I saw it being made on tv, it was a huge cilinder. Wonderful recipe and a bit of history too!


Conni @FoodieArmyWife February 10, 2013 at 11:16 am

This is simply beautiful!


Megan - I Run For Wine February 10, 2013 at 12:46 pm

WOW! This is stunning!!


Katy February 10, 2013 at 2:08 pm

What a beautiful cake! Perfect for Valentine’s Day.


Shelby | Diabetic Foodie February 10, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Berries and chocolate are the perfect Valentine’s Day decadence. Gorgeous cake!


Katie February 10, 2013 at 4:37 pm

I have always wanted to make one of these! The thin layers are so pretty and look so tasty.


Liz February 10, 2013 at 6:50 pm

This is just plain stunning! LOVE this cake and hope to make it myself one day!!


Sarah February 10, 2013 at 7:18 pm

For some reason I always thought of this as pancakes. I’m so glad to be proven otherwise!


Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom February 10, 2013 at 10:50 pm

oh my goodness!! I have never heard of a Baumkuchen but this is absolutely gorgeous!!! So beautifully made, love it!


Jennie @themessybakerblog February 11, 2013 at 5:24 am

This is one beautiful cake. Love it!


Courtney @ Neighborfood February 11, 2013 at 6:57 am

Holy Moley! This is a stunner! I’ve never heard of baumkuchen before, but it is definitely on my baking bucket list now.


Angie @ Big Bear's Wife February 11, 2013 at 1:28 pm

WOW! That looks like perfection!


Medeja February 11, 2013 at 3:54 pm

This layered cake looks so interesting! I like that decoration with strawberries.. nice 🙂


Sarah | Curious Cuisiniere February 11, 2013 at 5:57 pm

This is such a beautiful cake! Thanks for the great instructions; I’m excited to try it out!


Nancy @ gottagetbaked February 11, 2013 at 6:11 pm

OMG this is so gorgeous! I would be so impressed and honoured if someone went to all the trouble to make this for me. Surprisingly, the first time I’d ever heard of or eaten baumkuchen was in Hong Kong. There’s a bakery there that specializes in these and yes, it was made on a rotating spit. It’s so fascinating watching them being made. And they taste absolutely divine.


Heather @girlichef February 14, 2013 at 4:14 pm

I am rendered absolutely speechless by this – it is a stunner. And I want a slice!


Dina February 14, 2013 at 4:56 pm

thanks for the education on baumkuchen. yours is lovely!


Tara February 15, 2013 at 2:51 pm

That is simply stupendous. Fantastic photos too!!


Bea February 16, 2013 at 9:42 am

Wow!!! Just amazing!


Hezzi-D February 16, 2013 at 1:33 pm

This is so pretty! I love the layers. I’m going to have to try to make this.


Lorilee Sutor June 11, 2014 at 7:16 pm

I’ve made this cake several times and I love it! I used to have the Nestle “sweet celebrations” cookbook, but managed to lose it….searched high and low for this recipe and of course, couldn’t remember the name of the cookbook. Here it is and I’m so excited! I can’t wait to make it again!


Anne Papina June 13, 2014 at 6:32 am

So glad you found your way back to the baumkuchen! It really does make an awesome finale for any dinner! Have fun making it again!


S May 29, 2016 at 6:18 pm

Looks good!


Jasper October 22, 2020 at 1:43 pm

This looks fantastic! I haven’t made a torte or kuchen in a very long time.
But… My broiler doesn’t work, and isn’t nearly 5 inches below the flame if it were working. (I wanted to use it last spring and the flame was right on the meat.) Additionally, the new range I’ve selected doesn’t have a broiler – it has a split oven instead.
All that to ask, can this be baked layer by layer? If so, do you have an idea of how much longer each layer might take vs broiling it?
~ BTW, I LOVE your photos illustrating the steps, with additional instruction and tips.


Anne Papina November 26, 2020 at 8:47 am

Apologies for not seeing your post sooner! The layers are pretty thin—I don’t think they’ll work if baked separately then assembled. You’re probably better off just using this technique with the oven on whatever your highest setting is


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