Sanpouroku by Ryugetsu

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Baumkuchen, trans­lat­ing lit­er­ally to ‘tree cake’ in German, is a German kind of spit cake so named for the char­ac­ter­ist­ic rings that resemble the tree rings of a cross­cut tree when sliced. Since its intro­duc­tion to Japan by a German baker dur­ing World War I, it’s become one of the most pop­u­lar pastries in Japan (called baumukūhen), par­tic­u­larly as favours for wed­ding guests due to its ring shape. At vari­ous shops, includ­ing in Nishiki Market in Kyoto, you can see baumukūhen being made through glass windows.

Ryugetsu is a pop­u­lar con­fec­tion­ary maker in Hokkaido and said to be the pion­eer of moist baumkuchens in Japan. Their long fam­ous sig­na­ture baumukūhen is the Sanpouroku.

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Sanpouroku is named after the style of cut­ting fire­wood dur­ing Hokkaido’s devel­op­ment peri­od. While straight trees were used for con­struc­tion, fire­wood was split into three sec­tions each six inches long.

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Sanpouroku draws on the appear­ance of the fire­wood being about six inches long with the tree rings with­in that form the baumukūhen covered in white and milk chocol­ate to mim­ic the appear­ance of birch bark.

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The impec­cable Japanese atten­tion to detail sees the cake pre-sliced straight from the pack­aging, so you can get straight to enjoy­ing it with your friends and family.

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The almost thirty lay­ers mak­ing up the baumukūhen is impress­ive and the cake deliv­ers on the prom­ise of a moist tex­ture. It’s also a some­what dense cake as you’d expect from a spit cake, which are made by evenly brush­ing on thin lay­ers of bat­ter, then rotat­ing the spit over a heat source, allow­ing each lay­er to dry before pour­ing anoth­er lay­er of bat­ter over the pre­vi­ous. Although dense, the moist­ness cre­ates a soft­ness in the cake. The cake is lightly sweetened, allow­ing for the white and milk chocol­ate to deliv­er most of the sweetness.

The box of Sanpouroku by Ryugetsu con­tained 10 slices. It was pro­duced in Japan and gif­ted by fam­ily vis­it­ing Tokyo, Japan in 2016.