Few cakes are as delicious as baumkuchen, their dozens of paper-thin layers each a bit caramelized top and bottom so that the wheel-shaped slices resemble a felled tree's rings. Though the batter is a simple buttery-vanilla flavor on its own, it attains an incredible richness from the unusual cooking method - the cake is formed on a horizontal rod that spins in an oven as layer upon layer is slowly added.
At Nenrinya, which is on the first floor of the Matsuzakaya department store in Ginza, you can see models of the cakes spinning endlessly in the shop window, entertaining the long lines of people patiently waiting to buy. There are also videos playing to show the real cakes being made, but they don't give away any secrets. I can't imagine how anyone came up with this idea, or even quite understand how it works - why doesn't the inside get inedibly dried out by the time the outer layers are on? I'm also not sure why the final product ends up looking like a vacuum hose or an accordian. But question not miracles. This cake is amazing, and who needs to know how it's done behind the green curtain?