“This cake may take a little time to make, but it’s not especially difficult, and has a real wow-factor. It’s the number of cake layers that give it its distinctive pattern – in Germany they cook them on a spit, but we’ve gone for the easier option of a grill. The name means tree or log cake in German, because the inside looks like the grain of wood. ”
Preheat the grill to medium-high, and grease and line the base of a 23cm springform cake tin.
Roughly chop and place the marzipan and a little of the cream in the bowl of a standing mixer and beat using the paddle attachment until you have a thick paste. Gradually add the rest of the cream and continue to beat until you have a pale paste.
Add 170g of the butter and beat until completely incorporated. Next add the sugar and beat again until the mixture is pale and creamy.
Finally, separate and beat in the egg yolks one at a time (save the whites), then the vanilla extract. Finely grate in the orange zest.
Sift the self-raising flour and cornflour into a bowl, mix together, then, using a large metal spoon, gradually fold into the cake batter.
Whisk the egg whites to firm peaks, then fold into the batter with the large metal spoon, being careful not to knock out too much of the air.
Spoon the marmalade into a small pan and melt over a low heat, add a splash of water if needed to loosen, and keep warm.
Now to assemble the cake: using a ladle as your measure, spoon just enough batter into the cake tin to cover the base – you’ll probably need to fill the ladle to about two-thirds.
Use a pastry brush to spread the mixture evenly over the base of the tin, so it just covers the surface, then cook under the grill for 4 minutes, or until set and golden all over.
Ladle another thin layer of batter on top, and return to the grill. Once golden, brush a thin layer of the softened marmalade over the cake – you want just enough for a thin glaze.
Continue layering and grilling, glazing with marmalade every second or third layer, until the batter is used up – you should get 15 to 18 layers.
Brush the top of the cake with a good layer of marmalade, then run a knife around the outside of the cake. Leave to cool, then cover with clingfilm and chill for a few hours, or overnight, to set.
A couple of hours before you’re ready to serve, break the chocolate into pieces and melt with the remaining 50g butter in a heatproof bowl set over a small saucepan of simmering water. Once completely melted and glossy, stir through the rum, then set it aside for 10 minutes to cool.
Remove the cake from the tin and set it on a serving plate. Pour on the chocolate sauce and use a spatula to spread it evenly over the top, letting it drizzle down the sides.
Leave it to set slightly, then garnish with the toasted flaked almonds, before leaving it to cool completely. Serve with a big mug of tea or a festive sherry. This cake keeps really well in a tin for up to 2 days (not that it’ll be around that long!).
You’ll need a pastry brush to create the layers, and the exact time each layer needs to cook depends on the strength of your grill, but you’re aiming for a deep all-over golden colour.