Somebody alerted me to this thread - I believe what you are looking for is a Baumkuchen. I’ve just made one as a bottom layer for a wedding cake. The recipe I used is from a famous German chef, Johann Lafer, but it’s very very similar to one that’s been in our family for a long time. It is as follows (sorry for all the European measurements):
220 g butter at room temperature
100 g powdered sugar
1 vanilla pod - seeds scraped out
1 tbsp rum - I usually substitute with rose water or orange blossom water
pinch of salt
6 egg yolks
150 g marzipan or almond paste - whichever has more almonds and less sugar
50 ml milk
6 egg whites
120 g sugar
90 g pastry flour
80 g starch
Preheat broiler to 500 F. Put rack in the upper 3rd of the oven. Butter an 8” pan very well, especially the bottom. (I like to stick in in the freezer for a few minutes)
Whip butter, powdered sugar, vanilla seeds, rum, and salt. Add the egg yolks, beating after each addition. Heat the marzipan with the milk slightly, until the marzipan can be smoothened out.
Beat the egg whites with the sugar until they form stiff peaks.
Carefully fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the butter mixture, followed by half the sifted flour / starch mixture, 1/3 of the egg whites, the remainder of the flour and starch and the remainder of the egg whites.
Put a very thin layer of dough on the bottom of the pan. Stick it under the broiler until golden, about 2-3 minutes. Add next layer, again very thin, so that you can almost see the layer before. You should get about 20 layers of dough, about 1.5” high. After the last layer is done, cover with aluminum foil, lower oven temperature to 350 and bake for another 5 minutes.
Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes. Invert onto rack.
I like my cake with a thin layer of apricot jam or - even better - TCB’s apricot puree (put on when warm), and then with a thin layer of chocolate once the cake is cold. It’s taste improves over the next few days.