Baumtorte — memory cake

Sadie’s recipe:

I've been busy baking this week. So much to remember.

Whip together a batter made of eggs, the right amount of sugar, sufficient flour, the zest of enough lemons and the perfect quantity of vanilla. Oil a tin and heat up the grill until it is the correct heat, spread a thin layer over the bottom of the pan and grill until it is done. Ladle on layer after layer and grill until the side of the cake looks like the rings of a tree. Bake a layer for everyone you need to remember. Decorate with sugared lemon and orange peel, or in spring, frosted violets.

Sadie’s recipes in ‘Mr R’ are taken from my grandmother’s book:

Brought across from Germany in 1937. Margot's Spellbook.

23 Responses to “Baumtorte — memory cake”

  1. M. says:

    I am stunned by how perfect your baumtorte appears. There is no end to your talents. If it tastes as good as it looks I shall retire and promote you. Blow your writing career and take up baking.

  2. Mason Canyon says:

    This looks delicious, sounds wonderful, and seemingly easy to prepare. What could be better? Sounds like your grandmother was a great cook.

  3. Natasha Solomons says:

    It is delicious. It’s my favourite cake… makes me feel connected with my grandma, even though I never really knew her…

  4. Franco Proctor says:

    I have just finished the ‘Baumtorte’ chapter, and am crying as I type this, my Mother passed away two weeks ago and it so reminded me of her. I’m sure you’re a wonderful cook, but please don’t stop writing! Many thanks Franco

  5. Natasha Solomons says:

    Franco, thank you so much for your message. I’m so sorry to hear about your mother’s passing. I’m really glad that ‘Mr Rosenblum’ touched you, and I wish you all the best during this difficult time.

    When you are ready, you can bake a Baumtorte and think of her.



  6. I think I will have a go at this tomorrow using the recipe from the book and ‘feeling’ my way along. But I won’t be using my feet because there are only three of us so we won’t need that much batter. I have got lots of lemons. If it turns out well I’ll take a picture and prop the book up next to it.

    Wish me luck 🙂

  7. Franziska says:

    I only know this as Baumkuchen, not Baumtorte but it’s the same thing and funnily enough I also got my recipe from my grandmother! She died exactly a year ago tomorrow and I am going to make a Baumkuchen in her honour for the weekend. It’s a pain to make but oh so rewarding, especially when you cut the cake!

  8. Miriam W says:

    Just finished ‘Mr R’ – fabulous writing. Meant to be writing a dissertation, but just had to get to the end! Cooking Baumtorte tomorrow – thanks for posting the photo, I know what I’m aiming for now. My love of cooking also comes from my grandmothers.

  9. Natasha Solomons says:

    Thanks Miriam – good luck with the dissertation. Grandmother’s cooking is always the best isn’t it?

  10. Izzi says:

    I’ve just finished reading Mr Rosenblum’s List and I can honestly say I’ve never been so moved by a book, it was so lovely and well written. I’m definitely going to be trying a Baumtorte soon.

  11. Monique D says:

    Have just read Mr Rosenblum’s list for my Reading Group and found it incredibly warm
    and touching, so very beautifully written. I am going to suggest we put Baumtorte on the menu for our groups Christmas lunch as a reminder.

  12. marg Dixon says:

    This has brought back so many memories. In the late 60’s when my late Husband and I went out with our group of friends before we were married, we would always go to a little cafe in Hawthorn Victoria afterwards for Baumkuchen, with lots of cream. I think the couple who owned it were Austrian and she treated us all like her children. The Baumkuchen was the highlight. I often think of it when I pass the area. I have tried over the years to find the recipe. Thanks for the “MEMORIES”and the recipe.

  13. Hello,

    Yesterday, I read the chapter with the Baumtorte and loved it so much that I decided to cook a Baumtorte tomorrow for a friend’s birthday

    Thanks for the book. It’s wonderful.

  14. Ginger August says:

    I just read the chapter in the book Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English (which I assume is the same book, with a different title) containing Sadie’s making of her Baumtort, and I ran to the computer to see pictures of it, and came upon this website! Yes, I love the chapter better than all others in this book for it’s rich understanding of a woman’s emotional life, and memories which are tied into edible delights! Thanks for the opportunity to add my enthusiam to this lovely writing!

  15. […] bookon to an eager recipient. Never fear! Natasha Solomon herself has come to my rescue with her blog and a recipe in The Times. My pancake […]

  16. It was a success.


  17. Julie of Norwich says:

    I am still reading the book and got to the bit about the baumtorte, and had to rush to look up[ how to make it. I forgot my mother’s tenth yarzheit in May, due to it being a busy and difficult time for me, and still feel guilty! So this weekend I will make a baumtorte in honour of her, as now things, are more settled, and think of her, and maybe next make a Stuffed Monkey, as she was Dutch, so that was one of her dutch jewish specialities.

    The book also made me think of her in general in terms of fitting in, and not standing out, and as a teenager I hated it, but now as a parent and grandparent myself Ican see why she did what we did, I just wish we could have talked about it more.

  18. Natascha Rutherford says:

    I just want to say I was Born in Germany and my mum made Baumtorte or Kuchen
    she made heaps of cakes. So did her mum and her mum and her mum and so it goes I too have an old cook book most Germans had the same. I never liked my
    mums cooking cause she THREW things in but the whole street loved it. I guess too always being on a diet didn’t help me either. I lived in a whole street of new australians that came out in the boats many years ago. I do have many fond memories and used to always go into their places having a cuppa and trying all the different culneries. I guess I was rather spoilt. The best was the biscuits cooked in the saucepan with fat. Like a doughnut concept and dusted with icing
    sugar. I know that in school the australians loved them the most and it was good to lure biscuits so they could be my friends. The Russian and hungarian quisine were all lovely DEPENDING!………..but I could only eat a little even to this day I only cook when I have a multitude visiting and its only a little……. of pleasure.

    My father was Ukrainian what a combination they made. As they say they were the days my friend I thought they’d never end……….. But they did!(Sniffle! Snort..) Love to hear you bring back those memories in a changing world. (My mother committed suicide and my dad had a bad car accident) I can say one thing though we never had much but Christmas was a Real Christmas with them!

  19. Lilian says:

    I just saw something about this on tv. It discussed the
    same things you wrote about.
    I go to school in Canada and we just now are learning about this in class.
    Thanks for helping me with the final part of my report.

    Thanks for the outline of tv stuff.
    I definitely think that cable television is going
    to go away. Or at a minimum have to change with the times.

    Online tv is definitely the wave of the future. As internet speeds get quicker, everyone will
    be watching their tv shows on sites like this.
    What do you know about this? I don’t think there’s a lot more to the subject
    I was just watching this on PBS this week. They spoke the same things you wrote about.

    Stop by my blog post :: free tv links (Lilian)

  20. Imelda Steenkamp says:

    I am busy reading MR Rosenblum’s List, and almost at the end. Cannot wait to find out the outcome.
    A delightful read, with many Jewish expressions, which I love. The Baumtorte cake really appealed to me, especially the way Sadie enjoyed making it. “She” had me convinced to try it myself. So I took a chance that I would find the recipe the recipe on google….. viola. thank you.!

  21. Agnes says:

    Dear Natsha,

    I just finished the book, in hungarian, it was so touching, I bought it for my granny who just recently passed away. When I finished your book (Within a day) I decided that I will do this for the memories of my family members, who died n the Soah, and also for my Nani, who was the last from that generation. Thanks for this reading experience, and for the recipe too! Hope it will turn out nice as I make it on my mother’s birthday.
    Ofcourse I will buy your other books too!
    Best regards from Budapest!
    Ágnes Vonnak

  22. tz says:

    Dear Nathasha,

    Thank you for a wonderful book. I loved to poetic notion of baking memories into a cake, so I was looking forward to baking Baumkuchen every day of the week after finishing your novel on Monday evening. I liked your grandmother’s recipe with lemon zest (instead of marzipan or rum as you often find it). Now the finished cake sits on the windowsill, cooling. I look at it and think of the memories it contains.

    Best, tz from Germany

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