Schichtorte: Trying my hand at a Great British Bake Off ‘Technical Challenge’…

Anyone who follows my Facebook page will have guessed that I’m somewhat of a Great British Bake Off fanatic! This week was the Quarter Final and I’m pretty sure that Richard the builder will win.  Richard’s the guy with the perpetual pencil behind his ear, which has become a bit of a trademark, -but hey! I bet he’s never stuck for a pencil when he’s on the phone, eh? My favourites were Chetna and Martha, but now they’re gone, he’s definitely proving his talent..

Last week saw the contestants bake something which caught my eye, a ‘Schichttorte’- nope, I’m not being crude, it really is a thing! Schicht, meaning ‘Layer’ in German, is exactly what it says on the tin, it’s a cake made out of dozens of layers of a meringue based, sort of lemony American Pancake style batter and, instead of being baked like a conventional cake, it’s grilled (broiled)! You tediously stand there and do alternate layers of light, dark, light, dark, light golden colours.
I have to admit, it caught my attention, being a flat version of a German ‘Baumkuchen’ , meaning ‘Treecake’ , baked on a sort of spit on a tubular tin, layer by layer in front of a fire and then coated in Chocolate Glaze, sliced in rings and served… I’ve always been intrigued, after seeing it several times on Food Network shows but when it came up in the Bake Off, I was thrilled.

Neither my Husband or I have a sweet tooth for cakes, I’d rather have Bruschetta’s, some chocolate or wine and visiting my in-law’s this weekend, saw a perfect opportunity to make one and thankfully, Paul Hollywood (Bake off Judge) has his recipe on the BBC website.….

There are so many eggs in this recipe that one slice is a full meal, it’s so heavy, it’s not dry at all, it’s just seriously heavy!! But if you’re a good stout and broad German man, you can wash it down with a Bier 😉

What also occurred to me, making this is that you need 4 or 5 mixing bowls and it’s quite messy, one for your egg white, your butter and sugar, another to beat your egg yolks and two more for your glazes. With the new water charges in this country I was breaking out in a light sweat thinking of all the washing up, but I got through it! I used my Kenwood Chef for the egg white beating and the rest by hand.

Beating the yolks until creamy
Layer by layer, don’t be afraid to let your batter go right out to the edge, or you could end up with a cone shaped cake 😉

When you see that traditional 20 layers, it’s a little exhausting to look at but surprisingly, it goes quite fast, I made the mistake of busying myself between layers, washing dishes…and then I’d try to remember if it was a dark or light layer or if I ticked off the layer number on my list…. hence it was sort of dark in the middle, so it needs your full attention, watch it closely. I used a disc of parchment under my first layer too, to prevent over baking, adhered down with a teeny bit of the beaten egg white mix.

When it comes to the glaze, Instead of boiling the butter and golden syrup in a saucepan according the the recipe, I melted the ingredients in a bain marie, allowed it to cool a little, and then using an offset spatula, covered the cake after coating it in the Apricot jam. The recipe for the vanilla glaze makes way way too much to I’d just cut that in half so you don’t waste so much icing sugar, 9oz is a lot!

My glaze is a little rough because my husband decided to pop his head into the kitchen and tell me we had to leave in twenty minutes ( I wasn’t dressed and the cake wasn’t glazed) because he had to meet his brother at a certain time-men, don’t you love them?! So I didn’t spend a lot of time on detail 🙁

The good news is that it went down well but my Mother in law made a killer fat-less sponge cake with cream and fresh raspberries which was just the nicest thing ever!

I had almost forgotten to take a photo!


Okay, so for some non traditional ways I’d do this:

  • Make it more lemony by making it a sort of lemon drizzle, layer cake hybrid, when your cake is still warm, before you glaze it prick it a few times with a skewer and pour a lemon drizzle syrup over it, you can do this by heating 100g Caster Sugar in a saucepan with 90g lemon juice and stirring until the sugar has dissolved, then spoon over the cake, slowly, allowing the cake to drink it up, wait a while, then glaze it!
  • I used Amaretto Liqueur instead of Rum, simply because I love a hint of almond flavour in cakes.
  • You could also replace the lemon with orange, making an orange drizzle cake and adding a little orange oil to the chocolate glaze,  it would be divine!

You really don’t need to be a skilled home baker to make this, just have basic knowledge of baking and knowing when not to over beat egg whites. It’s pretty cool seeing peoples faces when you bring this out, especially hearing the “Oooooooh!” when you slice it and you see all the layers, it makes you feel like a pastry chef – when you’re not 😉

I’ve never been to Germany,, but it’s one place I’d love to see, I studied German back in high school and 14 years later, I can barely speak a word 🙁  Maybe someday, after all, it’s only about  90 minute flight away..


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