Mise-en-Place or Baking Baumkuchen
“Fourty days and fourty nights.” Pomi was standing by the window looking out at the rain that had been pouring for days. I don’t think it is going to stop any time soon so let’s build an ark!”
” An ark?”
” Yes, like Noah. If the rain continues to fall like this we will be needing an ark. The first passenger already arrived by the way. A snail. Slid in last night. Then your cats. But we can only take two. Two of every kind of animal, remember? ” A content Pomi smiled at me.
” You know what? Let’s bake that Baumkuchen you liked so much instead. It will distract you and you won’t come up with weird ideas.”
” Baumkuchen? Oh you mean spit cake.”
” Yes I do, but spit cake sounds bad. And we do not have a spit to bake it on so let us refer to the cake as Baumkuchen from now on.”
” You said you were going to bake the cake for me. Now I have to help you? What kind of promise is that? But ok, let me find a recipe.” Pomi sat down at my laptop and started to browse.
” Look what a nice cake they baked. ” He said pointing at a perfect ‘tree cake’ that was suddlenly adorning the screen of my laptop.
Let me write down the recipe.”
“No need for that. I think I remember. I took cooking lessons when I was young and we learned how to bake Baumkuchen.”
” When you were young? And you think you remember? I bet you remember nothing! ” Pomi knelt down on a sheet of paper and started to write down the list of ingredients.
“Just in case .” He chuckled looking at me with cheeky anticipation.
“You are such a kind little thing. When you are done with that put on your hat and apron.”
A couple of minutes later Pomi had finished copying the recipe. He rolled up the sheet of paper and after having put on apron and hat he tucked the paper roll under his arm and ran down the stairs, through the hall towards the kitchen.
There he climbed on the table and started to read:
” We need…” And he listed all the ingredients which I measured and placed in separate dishes.
” Mise-en-place!” Pomi said meaningfully and looking at the chocolate he added: “Can I have some of that?”
” No! Not now. Let’s get started. We seperate the eggs,
add butter, sugar and marzipan. Then the spices.
Lemon rind. Vanilla. A pinch of salt.
We add the flour.
Now we beat the egg whites very stiff and fold them into the mixture.
We pour some of the batter into a pan, just enough to cover the bottom, grill it for a few minutes then add the next layer and so on.”
After a little more than an hour the last layer of the tree cake was grilled.
“That was a lot of work.” Said Pomi with his mouth full.
” What are you munching on? ”
” Chocolate!” Pomi smiled a chocolaty smile. ” Why isn’t there any milk chocolate?”
” Because I did not want you to eat it all up. But here is our cake now. We will just have to let it cool down and then we can melt what is left of the chocolate and pour it over the cake.”
“I will watch the cake so your cats won’t eat it.” Pomi took a glass, turned it over and sat on it.
“Why did you bake the cake in layers? It took so long. You could have simply poured the batter into the pan and baked it all at once.” My little friend contemplated.
“The layers are what is special about Baumkuchen, the layers the cake reveals when you cut it and that look like tree rings. Sort of.”
” We shall see.” Pomi said looking at the cake thoughtfully.
Our Baumkuchen cooled down and I glazed it.
Why didn’t you let me help you with that?”
” You would have ended up all covered in chocolate? But the cake is finally ready and you can have some. Use the fork though, the chocolate is still soft.”
For a few moments Pomi looked at the cake pieces on the plate in front of him and then he said: “Tree rings, eh?”
Outside it was still raining.