Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

 I didn't intend to do anything baking this week since I was very busy with attending workshop remotely after returning from Germany.  I supposed to work on Europe hour  but since I had been back in Singapore and there were other conference calls,  I tended to start work in the morning and then continued on Europe hour till the workshop ended which normally  past midnight (1am).   It's indeed a long long day, luckily, only 3 days,  else ...:(

I baked this sour cream chocolate cake just because I wanted to clear the stock I bought prior to my Germany trip.   If I don't clear it today, I will have no chance to bake since I'm leaving tonight to Japan for a short break.  This is a simple cake, it only took me 30 mins for preparation and the rest is to leave it to the oven. It's surprising that it turns out very tasty.  Not a bad choice!

Recipe, her you go..

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake Recipe:
- 200g butter
- 210g sugar
- 1/4 vanilla essence
- 4 eggs
- 250g sour cream
- 1/2 tbsp instan coffee powder   }
- 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder             } premix together
- 2 tbsp boiling water                  }
- 150g dark chocolate  (melted)              
- some chopped almond or hazel nuts
- 300g flour                                 }
- 1/4 tsp baking powder         } sift together
- 1/4 tsp baking soda              }

1.  Cream butter and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy (about 8 mins). 
2.  Add vanilla essence and mix well.
3.  Add eggs one at a time and cream till smooth.  
4.  Add in sour cream, premix coffee mixture, chocolate and nuts, mix till well blended.
5.  Lastly add in sifted dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and soda), mix at low speed till well incorporated.  (don't over mix)
6.  Pour batter into 8" cake pan (or two 6").  Sprinkle some flaked almonds on top.
7.  Bake at 170*C for about 50-60 mins.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Place of Wonders - Germany

Back from Germany few days ago but brought back a lot of marvelous memories ...   
Sep 7 morning -  I took a midnight flight from Singapore and connected from Frankfurt airport to Stuttgart. I was pleased with the airport as it's big with a lot of retailing shops.  What I like most is the Lufthansa boarding hall, it's neat, they provide free newspaper and beverage.  It makes me feel like at home! How nice if our Singapore Changi Airport  can provide such service ... 

Sep 7 (Tue) Afternoon - Finally I arrived in Stuttgart after 15 hours of flight including the stop over.  From airport to the hotel in Herrenberg, it's another 30 mins car ride.  By then I arrived in the hotel, it was the afternoon.  Since the sky was still bright, I followed the instruction given by the hotel staff to the nearby Supermart to pick up some stuffs.  The weather was great, it's cool.  I discovered a little old town next to the Supermart after my shopping, its walled medieval building structure had immediately captivated my heart.   What a beautiful and lovely little old town !  

 It's my 1st visit to Germany, I was glad that I could take the opportunity of the company business trip to visit this place.   Since the hotel that I stayed was near to this old town, together with my colleagues, I spent most of the evening dinning in the nearby restaurants.  We tried many of their local dishes and overall, we were quite satisfied.  No complaint!  There is an old church situated on the hill top, we enjoyed the view of the city and the German landscape from there.  

Sep 8 (Wed) EveningIt's time for a Get Together!  I joined  the get together dinner with my colleagues at a brewery in Boelingen.  The place is about 20 mins away from Herrenberg.  We had a great time and enjoyed the laughters and cheers together.  The feeling of having a bunch of fantastic colleagues around you is always  fun and joyous!

Sep 11 (Sat) - Work hard, play hard !  Weekend is the time to let loose.  My colleague's (Czhang) friend brought us to Heidelberg.  From Herrenberg to there was an hr train ride.  Heidelberg is widely regarded as one of the best business locations in Germany.  One of the most popular site in this town is its Heidelberg Castle .  It sits on a hill top which allows us to overlook the entire town and distant hillsides.  It's very romantic to stroll along the walk with the picturesque castle ruins overlooking everything.  What a breath-taking scenery!

Beside the castlesthere are many other things to see in Heidelberg.  The city, the great terrace , the shopping streets with outdoor cafes, the river and the gardens, etc are equally attractive and charming.

Sep 12 (Sun) -  Continued my journey to explore Germany.  It was a long trip (about 4 hours) to Rothenburg from Herrenberg and we had to take 3 trains before arriving the place.  Some hiccups along the way, the train station display was so misleading, as a result, we missed the earlier train.  Fortunately, we took an alternate route and managed to catch the next train to reach the destination in time.  Phew!

 Wow! Rothenburg is another incredibly pretty medieval and old town, its half-timbered builds and narrow, winding cobblestone streets was so alluring, it's like a disneyland attraction and  made me feel so wonderful and pleasure.  A walk around this small old town was like a journey down the centuries, I was so enjoyed and relaxed strolling and exploring the surrounding.  The weather was perfectly good, it's cool and sunny, temperature was around 15*C.   I can't believe that is such a heaven here! Wish I could stay longer and forever!!

Sep 14 (Monday) morning - It's time for me to bid farewell as I had to rush back for another business working meeting.  However, since my flight was scheduled in the evening, I had the luxury to spend a morning to explore another place  with my colleague, Wyang.   

Tübingen is just 30 mins train ride from Herrenberg, after yesterday, we were better off with the train system and able to move around ourselves without much problem.  Tubingen is another old town but there were more youngsters around . Understand that there are many famous colleges and institutions crowed there. 
It's so relaxing to traverse the winding alleys from one end to another within this old town, the historical monuments, the castle, the Roman churches and the beautiful half-timbered building make this place so picturesque.  The centuries-old high plane trees together with the medieval town houses that ran alongside the river made the scene so quintessential idyllic sight. I feel so at ease, I want to sit back and hang loose there.  Oh!! It's another heaven!

Time's up! I needed to go.  It has been a very excellent stay and exciting experience in Germany.   Good-bye and definitely will see you again!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Happy Birthday !!

Another year wiser,  hope so! 
Birthday has no longer an exciting thing I look forward to since as years pass, what it means to me is I'm getting older and older :(  Being someone who is not very expressive and feel uncomfortable in the crowd,  I prefer a simple and quiet celebration approach - just with someone I love and close with.  The only year that I had a big celebration was my 21st birthday.  During our time, disco function seemed to be something couldn't avoid.   I had a close friend helped me to organize everything for me,  I dressed up so formally and spent so much time and money on that night.    Was it worth ?  The answer is yes but one is enough!  It's a good experience as I will never have another 21st!

Being able to bake birthday cake for people, I supposed I could bake my own cake.  However, I find it meaningless and therefore, I refuse to do it.  It'll be nice if my daughters could bake for me but I guess this may only come true in the dream ..  I had heard a lot of good recommendation about the dessert in Bakerzin and therefore, asked my hubby to get my cake from there.  I picked the Chocolate Amer cake which is one of their best seller.    From my view, this is more a mousse-like cake, it's soft and rich and for people who is chocolate lover, certainly they will love it.  As for me, I think it's good but not to the best yet.  Anyway, it's a good choice since both my daughters are chocolate lovers.

For the birthday meal, I hesitated for a long while to decide where I should go.  Finally, I picked Earle Swensens since I prefer a light meal with some dessert to go with but I was a bit disappointed as  the beef and salmon in Earle were over cooked and dried.  Only the bake rice was fine.  We ended the meal with some ice-cream dessert.   

That's all about my birthday this year .. A simple birthday cake plus a birthday lunch :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Peach Pastry Cake

Peach is never my choice of fruit for cake baking as it's not something I adore, I will rather use berry, banana, mango or durian, however, I noticed this cake is so popular among many of the home bakers and since this is well-received and highly regarded by them, I think I should give it a go.  

The original name of this cake called "Fruit Pastry Cake" as it's supposed to bake with various types of fruit but since I only used peach,  I think naming it as "Peach Pastry Cake" is more appropriate.   

I like the shot posted by the baker of Happy Home Baking, it's very well taken and so alluring.  I remembered a couple months back when I chanced upon her blog, I was drawn into it immediately.  This is a very easy cake, straight forward.   I believe any new baker can do it,  the preparation time is very short (ie. only 30 mins) and the rest is to leave it in the oven.  The baking will take as long as 70 mins.  As mentioned by other bakers,  to prevent the surface of the cake from being charred,  it's recommended to cover it with a layer of foil during the last 15 mins.

Since I don't fancy peach cake, I didn't have very high expectation on its turn out.  From my view, this cake is acceptable.  It's moist, soft  and not so buttery, however, it's at the sweeter side. If I'll to bake again, I will cut down 10-20g of sugar or add a pinch of salt.  Else, I will omit the peach chunks. 

It's surprising that my younger daughter likes this cake and she thinks most children will welcome it because it's light and sweet.   Everyone has their own preferences, therefore, my judgment doesn't represent others. If you will ask me to choose between this and the Pineapple cake in my previous bake,  I'll prefer the latter.

Thinking of baking this Peach Pastry Cake?  Pls refer to Happy Home Baking blog for recipe.


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