This is the sort of exquisite treat you expect to find in a European pastry shop (which, incidentally, is where one of our food editors discovered it in 1975). The name (pronounced bowm-KYOO-kin) roughly translates as tree cake, because when sliced, the layers resemble rings on a crosscut tree.

Photo: Kritsada Panichgul
Prep Time:
1 hrs
Stand Time:
30 mins
Cool Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
1 hrs


  • 10 egg yolks

  • 10 egg whites

  • ¾ cup butter

  • ¾ cup sugar

  • 2 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • ½ cup cornstarch

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ cup sugar

  • 1 recipe Vanilla Glaze

  • 1 recipe Caramel Glaze

Caramel Glaze

  • 20 vanilla caramels, unwrapped

  • ¼ cup whipping cream

  • Whipping cream (optional)

Vanilla Glaze

  • 2 cup powdered sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 2 tablespoon milk


  1. Allow egg yolks, egg whites, and butter to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease an 8-inch springform pan; set aside.

  2. Preheat broiler. In a medium mixing bowl beat egg yolks with an electric mixer on high speed about 5 minutes or until thick and lemon color; set aside. In an extra-large mixing bowl beat butter on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add 3/4 cup sugar, lemon peel, and vanilla. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Add beaten egg yolks, beating until combined. In a small bowl stir together flour, cornstarch, and salt. Stir flour mixture into egg yolk mixture just until combined.

  3. Thoroughly wash beaters. In a large mixing bowl beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar, beating on high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Fold beaten egg whites into egg yolk mixture.

  4. Pour 1/3 cup of the batter into the bottom of the prepared pan, spreading evenly. Broil about 5 inches from the heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until light brown.* (If necessary, give pan a half-turn for even browning.) Do not overbrown. Remove from broiler. Pour another 1/3 cup of the batter over top of first layer, spreading evenly. Broil as directed, turning pan if necessary. Repeat with the remaining batter, making 15 to 17 layers total. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Loosen cake from sides of pan. Remove sides of pan; cool cake completely on wire rack.

  5. Cut cake into 12 wedges. Place wedges on a wire rack set over waxed paper. Spread Vanilla Glaze over tops of wedges, letting some of the glaze drip down the sides. Drizzle wedges with Caramel Glaze. Let stand until set.

Caramel Glaze

  1. In a small saucepan combine caramels and 1/4 cup whipping cream. Cook and stir over low heat until caramels are melted. Remove from heat. If necessary, stir in enough additional whipping cream to reach drizzling consistency.

Vanilla Glaze

  1. In a small bowl combine powdered sugar and vanilla. Stir in enough milk to reach spreading consistency.

*Test Kitchen Tip:

The first layers of batter will take longer to broil than the last layers, as the cake grows in height and gets closer to the heat source.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

437 Calories
18g Fat
62g Carbs
7g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 437
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 10g 50%
Cholesterol 186mg 62%
Sodium 245mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 62g 23%
Total Sugars 44g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 0.6mg 3%
Calcium 90.9mg 7%
Iron 0.9mg 5%
Potassium 82mg 2%
Folate, total 40.3mcg
Vitamin B-12 0.4mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.1mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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