Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Recipe for Baumkuchen

Harvest Moon players were introduced to Baumkuchen in Tree of Tranquility. The Baumkuchen were the special magical Rainbow Cakes that restored the power of the Harvest Goddess and ultimately brought a new Goddess Tree into being.

In Sunshine Islands, you can make your own Baumkuchen as well. In real life, Baumkuchen are extremely difficult to make, having been called the 'King of Cakes'.

Here is a recipe for any one who has the courage and determination to try:


2 sticks of butter
3/4 cup sugar
8 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons of rum
grated lemon peel
a pinch of salt
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour mixed with 1 cup + 2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 cup apricot jam, almond paste, powdered sugar or chocolate icing

Mix the butter and sugar together until light and creamy. Gradually add egg yolks and remaining ingredients until a light, foamy batter is created. Beat egg whites untiil very stiff and stir them gently into the batter. Pour about 2 tablespoons of batter into an 8 1/2 inch springform pan greased with butter to create a thin layer. Bake this on the top rack of a preheated oven at 450 degrees for two minutes or until it is golden brown. You must watch it like a hawk for it will bake quickly! Remove from oven, let it stand until cool, glaze it with jam, almond paste or powdered sugar, then add another thin layer of batter and bake. Repeat this process until you have baked ALL the batter. You should have 14 to 16 very thin layers of cake, each of which has a coating of apricot jam, almond paste or whatever you wish.

When the cake is finished, you can ice it with anything you like. Many people make chocolate icing for the Baumkuchen.

Baumkuchen translated means 'Tree Cake' because all of the layers represent the rings of a Tree. Bakers have been known to create Baumkuchen with 25 layers, weighing over 100 pounds, measuring more than 3 feet!

It is appropriate that a Baumkuchen should have been the key to the restoration of the Goddess Tree in Tree of Tranquility. In Sunshine Islands, it is nothing more than a lovely sweet. I shall have to see if the Harvest Sprites respond to it in any special way!

Sunshine Islands Recipe for Baumkuchen:

Baumkuchen: 1166G
Ingredients: Wheat Flour, Egg, Milk, Butter
Obtain with 9th Wheat Flour from Haila at Cafe
Energy Value: +42 SR +16 FL
Optional Ingredients: Wine
N.B. You can use the more expensive varieties of Silkie Egg, Jersey Milk and Superb Butter if you wish. As you can see, the ingredients are deceptively simple and Haila, who gives the Recipe, does not explain the labour-intensive process needed to create the Cake!

What is really interesting is that the Baumkuchen is extremely popular in Japan. This possibly accounts for its appearance in Harvest Moon. Originally made in Japan by German expatriates, it has become a distinctive treat for the Japanese. I have included a photograph of a commercial Japanese Baumkuchen as well as the Baumkuchen from a famous bakery named Cafe Kruse in the German town of Salzwedel, which claims the honour of being the 'birthplace of the Baumkuchen'.

Doughnuts or Fastnachts in Harvest Moon

Doughnuts in Harvest Moon probably are not Fastnachts. Fastnachts are NOT ordinary doughnuts and no one should mistake 'fast' for 'fast food'. They are made by hand and contain potatoes as well as flour. It is the addition of the potatoes that makes them unique. They are a Shrove Tuesday tradition among the Pennsylvania Dutch. The actual name of the Feast Day in German is Fasnachttag, or 'Eve of the Day of Fasting'. It is said that the origin of the tradition of making doughnuts on Shrove Tuesday was to use all the lard before Lent with its rather stringent dietary restrictions.

Here is a very traditional recipe for Fastnachts, using yeast:

2 cups scalded milk
1/2 cup lard
1 cup mashed potatoes
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten well
1 packet of yeast
7 cups flour

Scald milk, adding mashed potatoes, sugar, salt and lard. (If you do not like lard, you can substitute melted butter but lard would be the MOST traditional ingredient.) Cool mixture until it is lukewarm. Add beaten eggs, then add yeast and sufficient flour to make a soft dough. Knead well and place in a greased bowl. Cover with a clean cloth and allow dough to rise for about 1 1/2 hours. Roll dough to 1/4 thickness, then place it on a cloth. Allow the dough to rise again until it has doubled in size. Use a cutter or knife to shape into round doughnuts or triangles. Fry in hot fat.

For those who do not have the patience to wait for bread to rise as well as those who are not very keen on lard as an ingredient, here is a fairly traditional contemporary Fastnacht Recipe:

2 1/2 cups hot mashed potatoes
1 cup Milk
3 beaten eggs
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
5 cups flour.

Combine all ingredients except for the flour thoroughly, then add the flour slowly. When thoroughly mixed, divide the dough into two parts. Roll to 1/2 inch thickness and cut with a doughnut cutter, a biscuit cutter or a glass. You can use a knife to cut the dough into triangles as well. Deep fry in oil or hot fat.

Serve with sugar or molasses.

Note from Freyashawk: When I have had Fastnachts, I have made my own mixture of confectioner's sugar, cinnamon, clove and cardamon to dust the surface of the Fastnacht. I usually heat the Fastnacht slightly before dusting the surface with the spiced sugar. The first time I had a Fastnacht, I was not impressed, as I thought of it as a rather heavy doughnut somewhat lacking in sweetness. It was when I had my second Fastnacht that I began to appreciate the unique flavour and texture.
As they were created originally by an ethnic group that specialised in farming according to traditional methods, I feel they are very appropriate to Harvest Moon.

As this is a Harvest Moon Cooking Site, I should include a Harvest Moon Recipe for Doughnuts or Donuts.

In Sunshine Islands, you obtain the Recipe for Donuts by giving Milk to Nick. Actually, it is the 6th Recipe you will obtain in return for Milk. For those who are unfamiliar with Island of Happiness or Sunshine Islands, the only method by which to obtain a new Recipe is by giving a specific ingredient to one of the professional cooks on the Island. In Sunshine Islands, Nick runs the Diner and Haila runs the Cafe.

Having a Recipe in Sunshine Islands is not a guarantee for being able to cook the dish successfully. Your own success will depend on your Cooking Skill Level. You therefore need to cook many simple dishes before you will succeed in making a more complicated Dish.

Doughnut/Donut: 2230G
Ingredients: Egg, Milk, Butter, Oil, Wheat Flour
Obtain with 6th Milk from Nick at Diner
Energy Value: +42 SR +16 FL
Optional Ingredients: Chocolate, any Jam

Note that you can substitute the more valuable Silkie Egg, Jersey Milk and Superb Butter for the ordinary variety in each case.

In Island of Happiness, the predecessor of Sunshine Islands, the Recipe for 'Donuts' is identical.


Donut: 520G (Obtain from Diner with Milk)
Basic Donut: Egg, Milk, Wheat Flour, Butter, Oil
+30 SR +10 SL

One of the major differences between the two games is the fact that you will be able to obtain Wheat Flour from the start in Sunshine Islands as it is sold by Chen at his Market. In fact, I was delighted when I first visited Chen's Market and saw all the grains for sale there in my first Spring Seadon.