Tuesday, 28 December 2010

OH CRUMBS!




No, this isn't a UFO! It's a chocolate cake in a bundt pan!

Today I had the good fortune of having Jenny, Sally and Serena over for lunch.  Even though they didn't stay very long (since Serena had to return to work) and lunch was only a humble affair of plain porridge with four simple dishes, I think it is safe to say that everyone had a great time. It is, afterall, not everyday that we have so many GPs sit around the lunch table all at once.

For dessert, I made a cake 

Chocolate-Sour Cream Pound Cake with Cheesecake Swirl
Adapted from Baking for All Occasions: A Treasury of Recipes for Everyday Celebrations by Flo Braker

Makes one 9-inch Bundt

Cheesecake Swirl
225 grams cream cheese at room temperature
50 grams caster sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
15 grams ground hazelnut
2 tablespoons dried sour cherries (I used orange-flavoured dried cranberries)

Chocolate-Sour Cream Pound Cake
65 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
180 ml warm water
260 grams cake flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
170 grams unsalted butter at room temperature
300 grams caster sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
170 grams sour cream

Place a rack in the centre of your oven and preheat the oven at 180 degrees C (or 165 degrees C if the pan has a dark finish). Lightly butter and flour a 10-cup capacity Bundt pan.

For the cake batter, whisk together cocoa powder and warm water in a medium bowl until well blended. Set aside to cool. Have all of the remaining ingredients at room temperature.

To make the Cheesecake Swirl:  In a medium bowl, the cheese with a rubber spatula just until the cheese is smooth and creamy. Beat in the sugar until blended. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined and creamy. Stir in the nuts and cranberries until evenly distributed. Set aside.

To make the Chocolate-Sour Cream Pound Cake: Sieve flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat butter until creamy and smooth then add sugar, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Continue to beat until the mixture is very light in colour and texture.

Add eggs very slowly, about 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until mixture is fluffy and pale ivory in colour. Add the vanilla and sour cream to the cooled cocoa mixture and stir to combine. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with the cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing after each addition only until incorporated.

Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan and spread it with the rubber spatula, working from the centre outward to create a slightly raised ridge around the rim. Carefully spoon the cream cheese filling over the batter, trying to contain it within the rim. The idea is to keep the filling from touching the pan so it will remain concealed when the cake is finished baking. Spoon the remaining batter over the filling and smooth the top.

Bake the cake until the top springs back when pressed lightly and a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out free of batter, 60 – 70 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 10 – 15 minutes before turning the cake out of the pan.


The cake would've been perfect if not for the crumbs.  I've no idea what went wrong!  As we ate, we left crumbs on the plate and crumbs all over the table - and on the floor even!  Did I over baked it? Was it too dry?  The GPs, being people who focus on the big picture, didn't fuss about the small stuff like crumbs.  Instead, they made very nice comments about how wonderful the cake tasted and how great everything was.  Surely, I cannot ask for better friends.


Saturday, 25 December 2010

MARYMOUNT GET-TOGETHER

I cannot believe that I haven't posted anything since I return from Sydney. After the vacation, I dived right back into work.  One major event was the office move, when I packed 18 cartons single-handedly.

On Sunday right after the move (Nov 28th), Suit Mooi hosted a get-together for ex-Marymount girls at her home in Pebble Bay.  It was all rather exciting because I haven't met some of the girls in 30 years! 

Each person brought something edible. 


Is it my camera, or is everything brown and green?


Some of my best friends during those good 'ol school days.

There's no use denying it - even after 30 years, we're still gorgeous.

A momento from our gracious hostess.  Thanks, Suit Mooi!

Merry Christmas, everyone!