Coffee and Rosewater Baumtorte

I have a love-hate relationship with my local Spar store. Whilst the quality of the fresh fruit and veg leaves something to be desired, I do love the eclectic and ever-changing selection of random ingredients on the shelves.

Their latest venture seems to be a large fitment of Indian spices. You know, the sort in big plastic packets which are so much more economical and fragrant than their dimunitive jarred counterparts. So it was whilst stocking up on spices the other day that I noticed they were also selling rosewater. And I remembered a couple of months back that I had been searching far and wide for rosewater for some long-forgotten recipe to no avail. So, because Spar don’t do things by halves, that is how I came to be the owner of a litre of rosewater which will probably be enough to last me a lifetime.

Asking around on Twitter for rosewater inspired recipes led me to Hannah and her stunning Corner Cottage Bakery blog and in particular, this recipe for a Chocolate and Rose Baumtorte. For those of you (like me) who are rubbish at German, baumtorte apparently means ‘tree cake’ and is so called because all the little layers in the cake are said to resemble tree rings. It was only when I saw Hannah’s photos that I realised that I had eaten one of these before on a recent trip to Namibia. I remember marvelling then at how on earth they managed to bake a cake in so many delicate layers. The secret is that the torte isn’t actually baked at all. Instead each thin layer of cake batter is cooked under the grill until set before topping with the next one.

If my memory serves me correctly, the Namibian baumtorte I enjoyed contained coffee so I decided to adapt Hannah’s cake and make a coffee and rosewater version which I topped with a rosewater icing and some candied almonds and pistachios. I think this is one of those cakes that anyone who loves baking should try making at least once. It’s really not as difficult as it looks and there is a lot of satisfaction to be had in cutting into the cake and seeing all those intricate layers.

To make my coffee and rosewater baumtorte I followed Hannah’s recipe but made the following alterations:

  • Substituted the 2 tbsp of cocoa powder for 2 tbsp of very strong coffee.
  • Made a rosewater icing by mixing 175g of icing sugar with 1 tbsp rosewater, 1 tsp of vanilla paste, 1tbsp of honey (warmed lightly until runny), 1-2 tbsp milk and a drop of pink food colouring.
  • Made some candied nuts by dissolving 75g caster sugar, 2tbsp of water and 1tbsp rosewater in a saucepan before adding 50g flaked almonds and 50g shelled, skinned and chopped pistachios. I poured the nuts on to a silicone mat and spread them in a thin layer before baking at 180C/160C fan for about 10 minutes until golden. Once cool I broke the candied nuts into pieces and scattered them on top of the cake.

To celebrate the first birthday of the Tea Time Treats Challenge (co-hosted by Lavender and Lovage and What Kate Baked) this month’s theme is ‘Celebration Cakes.’ I reckon anyone would be happy to receive a baumtorte on their birthday so this is my entry.


  1. Your baumtorte looks so beautiful, perfect layers and love the addition of the candied nuts. I live near a very small Indian supermarket that sells giant bags of spices like your Spar. Its so much cheaper than the supermarkets and so much better quality. Its great for bulk buying cumin seeds and if I ever need 5kg of cinnamon sticks, I know where to go!

  2. Hannah does have some amazing cakes and bakes on her blog and this one is no exception, but, your version of it is just stunning! I love the flavour combinations and your layers are very WELL ordered! This is a beautiful celebratory cake for our first year Tea Time Treats birthday! Thanks so much, Karen

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