Move over Dresden, Salzwedel now hold a very special place in my heart and stomach. While in Hamburg we stopped into Paulsen to get something to nosh and there they were, huge stacked rings covered in chocolate or vanilla-glaze. Baumkuchen. Tree cakes. I thought they were unique to Dresden, but these were from Salzwedel, a town in between Hamburg and Berlin, and, oy, they were so good! Where the Dresdener Baumkuchen is crumbly and dense, the Salzwedeler Baumkuchen was just the right amount of dry and sweet.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture. I was too busy stuffing myself with free samples. The Baumkuchen is a Christmas tradition and the shop had just gotten its first batch of the season. The name comes from the rings inside the cake – its cooked on a rotating spit and as new batter is poured on, a new ring forms. It looks a lot like the rings inside a tree. The taller, chocolate cakes also look a lot like tree trunks.
Here’s a super kitschy (it is German afterall) video showing how the cake is made. Skip to around two minutes in if you want to see how the cake is actually baked.
Since we didn’t trust ourselves with an entire cake, we just bought a bag of chocolate-covered baumkuchenspitzen, the little points and scraps that are cut off to make the pretty round shape. The spitzen also happen to be the perfect size for little toddler hands turning a grouchy morning into a very pleasant afternoon.