Sunday, April 17, 2011

A little get away & Almond Marble Bundt Cake

A week back, my hubby and I had to make an urgent trip back to California. As urgent as the matter was, it however only took us a morning to settle and the rest of the trip was free and easy. We caught up with a couple of good friends, renewed stuff, dine at our favorite restaurants and settle more stuff. It was a nice get away but I just wish that it wasn't so short. But I can't leave my kiddies with the family too long, had to get back to them ASAP. It all seems like getting back to reality. :P

If you ask me, it ain't easy leading two lives...one in States and one in Singapore. But the truth is, it is even harder to give it all up. So I guess you can say we are taking all possible chances to keep things going the way it is now....so eventually if we do have to make a move again, it won't be so tough.

Anyway, I would like to share with you folks my little journey back to California ...again. It also serve as a "record" for me, so I can reminiscence about it when I see this post next time, lol! I will post mostly photos and write less. Please be warn of a super long post ahead. :P

Is it just me, or the sky overseas is just a wee bit more beautiful to look at? Call me dreamy if you want, but I love staring at the skies, the mountains and the plain fields there...kind of relaxing if you ask me.
I have to say Spring is my favorite season. You literally get to stop and smell the flowers...because it is everywhere. This flower bed is from our friend's front porch. Lovingly taken care by his parents, heehee. :)

A simple yet delicious breakfast at our favorite bagel joint, Noah's. Nicely toasted with a generous spread of our favorite cream cheese spread. ;)

Although this year's temperature seems a little lower then normal, it was still nice to enjoy the cooler weather there. And would I miss checking out the local farmer's market while I'm there, of course not! :D
Seems a little quiet for a market isn't it? Well, we were there pretty early so the crowd has yet arrived. I actually enjoyed it. :)
Besides the colorful array of Spring vegetables, it was still a little early in the season for fruits there this time. But there was one stall that caught my attention the whole time when I was there...even when I walked away...I wanted to go back to the stall again, lol! What's so captivating? See for yourself!
I wish...just wish I can try every single one of these breads! Lol! Every loaf, baguette and buns were nicely baked to perfection and the smell...oh how do I tell you about the heavenly smell, hahaha!
This particular bread stall is call Bay Bread. So if you ever see the stall itself, don't miss it, try out their delicious bread, you definitely won't regret. My hubby and I tried their cheese baguette and hazelnut chocolate croissant....it was super delicious!
I even bought 4 different varieties of bread back to Singapore and it was still very good (flaky, crunchy and soft inside) after toasting it in the oven. Super yum! Okay okay, moving on....shopping!
Ahhh....Los Gatos downtown. Gotta be one of my favorite places in California, hahaha! Although a quiet little town, it still has it's charms in it. Not only it has my favorite burger joint there (Read about it in my previous trip back), it also has 2 major kitchenware stores and several great boutiques there (yes, Banana Republic). :) Which kitchenware stores? Sur La Table and William Sonoma of course! I think I spent a good 4 hours shopping there. ;)
Showing some of the stuff I manage to scuffle back this time. If you haven't notice, I'm a real sucker for cookware / bakeware and cookbooks...don't we all? Lol! I especially love the Nordic Ware® Quartet Bundt Cake Pan. I bought it mostly because I couldn't decide on the shape I want, so getting this 4-in-1 is perfect. I tried it out immediately with a simple pound cake recipe from one of the cookbook I got.
I baked a simple Almond Marble cake. Unfortunately I didn't do a good job and not doing justice to the cake pan. *sigh* Out of the four small cakes, I think only this shaped turned out most decent. BTW, notice the honeybee plate? It's a set of 4 desert plates. Heehee, that is also one of them "presents" I brought back for myself, hahaha! Oh come on...it's HoneyBee!
The marble cake still turned out very fine and delicious, my family liked it. :) I will attempt it again, but perhaps with some simple changes to it. For those that are still interested, here is the recipe which I got it from my new cookbook 点心烘焙白科。 

Ingredients for Almond Marble Cake: (makes 4.5 cups)

Plain batter:
125g unsalted butter, room temperature
175g caster sugar
1/8 tsp salt
3 large eggs
250g cake flour (I used 100g plain + 150g cake flour)
2 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp fresh milk

Chocolate almond batter:
50g semisweet (65% cocoa) chocolate melted
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
30g almond meal /powder

Method:

  • In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together till it's creamy. Add one egg at a time till well combined before adding another. Then add milk and combine.
  • Add in flour and baking powder to the mixture and mix well.
  • Divide the batter equally into 2 portions. Set one aside while the for other portion, add in all of the ingredients for the chocolate batter. Stir well till just combined.
  • Using a bundt pan of your choice, alternating the plain and chocolate batter, scoop into the pan till it is 3/4 filled. Then use a chop stick, swirl it around a couple times to create the marble effect.
  • Bake in the oven for 25 mins for mini pan or 35 for bigger ones or till the tester comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven, cool in pan for five minutes before unmoulding. Slice and serve when cooled completely.
Hey all, thank you for dropping by to read my post today. Oh yes, before I forget, just wanna show you all that 10 chiffon I baked up last week...well in case you wonder did I pulled it off. Yes I did! *phew*
10 chiffons in less then 11 hours, sounds a little crazy but it's doable. :) The trick was to bake 2 chiffons at one time. I just double up the recipe for a 20cm tube pan and repeat it 5 times. 3 different flavors, Orange, Strawberry and Oreo. Kindly refer to my past posts for recipes. ;)

Okay all, hope you all have a good week ahead! Cheerio!

29 comments:

hanushi said...

Looking at your photos, I believe it is a great trip back! :)

Your chiffon cakes looks like those sold outside, but I am sure it taste much much better.

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

They have Chinese cookbook at W&S / Sur la Table?? Bundt pans are so nice! I also bought the Pullman brad tin during my last trip:) ... Though I have never made a single lief of bread ever... Yet!

CaThY said...

Wow, your honey bee plate is so cute! I love the mould you bought & the cake pan! Looking forward to more of your bakes :)

ICook4Fun said...

I just love going to the farmer's market in CA every Saturday morning. Miss that a lot. Is hard to find one here in PA. For me outlet shopping means buying more baking wares and handbags ha ha... do you sell you chiffon cake?

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said...

Look like you had a nice trip and good shopping. Thanks for sharing the surrounding, love the beautiful flowers and wonderful breads there. Ya, you did it , good for you.

The Sweetylicious said...

is such a fruitful trip! nice and lovely pan! psst, your bake is so nice too (:
GREAT JOB! those chiffon look awesome (:

Shaz (feedingmykidsbetter) said...

Great photos from your trip. Love the multi-colored cauliflowers. Good job with the chiffons! Been itching to do a chiffon for awhile.. Must get down to it soon!

Jean said...

man i miss my days in California... quite nostalgic now. and love the bundt cake, looks delicious :)

Janine said...

I look at the pictures of bread and I go o.0 wowwww reminds me of the European farmer markets that I so loved! And the bundt pan looks awesome - I'm the type who can't decide what shape I want to, so pans like this are fantastic!

And great job with the chiffons! you must have started early in the morning and ended in the evening!

茄子 said...

那个椰菜花,竟然还有紫色和橙色哦,我真的第一次看到。呵呵。。失礼了:P

我也是很喜欢Nordic Ware 的模具,可是都是只能在网上看看而已,上网买来大马的话邮费太贵了。还有还有,那个wilton checkerboard PAN SET,好羡慕哦。。:))

ReeseKitchen said...

Hey, yeah..we do think alike..haha! Nice bundt pans ha....wish I can go shop with you there...;p Then we'll be back with extra extra extra luggages..haha!
And yes! You are really a super woman..10 chiffons in 11 hours..I can't do it! Salute!!

lena said...

it must been so uplifting talking a walk at the farmers market and oooh, those breads especially those country breads are so tempting looking..i just feel like making one now...ha!

Anncoo said...

BeeBee, Those are lovely pictures in Farmer's market and I love that 4 in 1 Bundt cake pan...very pretty!
Your Almond Marble Bundt cake looks good too.

Esther said...

I haven't been to a farmer's market in such a long time! Now I want to go again. My favorite part was the corn on the cob, a whole one, slathered with butter. Yum! All the breads there look delicious. I have (or used to have) the flower that your friend has, except someone dug it out because she said that the roots of the flower would get under the foundation of the house or something. :( Anyway, I'm glad everything worked out and you had a nice vacation even though you had to deal with something urgent! The bundt cake looks beautiful and I like Williams sonoma too. :) Have a good week! Btw, is the almond meal just almonds processed with a food processor into powder? with the skin still on? thank you

j3ss kitch3n said...

Such a wonderful trip Bee! lovely goodies you had gotten yourself!

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Thanks hanushi. :) yes, a good but kinds rush trip. : P as for the chiffons, I sure hope it taste good, I didn't get to eat it at all, all sent to my customer, heehee.

@Shirley: oh no, the Chinese cookbook was bought at Page One in HK international airport. Oh, I have confidence that you are going to churn out a pretty bread loaf soon...especially since the loaf pan is a trusty and good one, heehee!

Thanks Cathy, I looovvveeee the plates too, heehee!

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Gert, I cannot tell you how much I miss going to the farmers market too! *sigh* sometimes we just have to suck it up about certain things. : P oh the chiffon cakes are done for my niece's school fund raising event.

Thanks for the encouragement Sonia. :) if you and your family ever want to go CA, let me know, I'll let you know where to check put yah?

Thanks Jasmine! Actually my chiffons were quite poorly unmould leh...quite upset about it, lol! But in such a rush that day, couldn't bother too much about it, else cannot hand in in time. : P

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Thanks Shaz, I'm sure you'll have lots of fun baking the chiffon, happy baking!

Jean, you were in CA? Which city were you in? Were you studying there? Anyway, you should go visit again, it's way less crowded nowadays, very relaxing and nice. :) well, I can't wait wait for my next trip!

Thanks Janine! You are so right, I went wowooowooo when I saw those breads too, lol! I kept blaming myself for not bringing more back after I finished those 4 pcs, lol! Thanks, I actually thought I should do better with the chiffon, heehee!

Honey Bee Sweets said...

茄子, you know there is also rainbow carrots too! It's just that I didn't post it up, heehee! Yeah, I don't know how did those farmers grow such colorful veg, very interesting to see them. ;) hope you can get these lovely moulds too!

Reese, that is a super idea leh! We ladies go there for shopping! You want? Let's planning planning lah, it'll be super fun! Thanks, no super woman lah, you should see me in the kitchen, more like crazy woman, lol!

Lena, that was exactly how I felt too when I saw those lovely loafs! I kept thinking why I didn't attempt this, why I didn't bake that, heehee!

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Thanks Ann. I wish I can buy more thoug, heehee! Too bad this trip was a short one, no time to shop to my heart's content!

Thanks Esther. ;) oh you should go to the farmers mRket when you can, it's such previliage, can't find it here in Asia. Actually the almond meal is blended blanched almonds, so no skin. ;)

Thanks J3ss!

Sweeter side of life said...

Wow :) The weather and the bread does seem awesome over there!! the cake is beautiful too ^^

Blessed Homemaker said...

Oh... I just love the colours of the cauliflower!

edith said...

Thanks so much for sharing a glimpse of your get away. I always enjoyed looking at what other countries had to offer. Spoilt for choices don't they?

Love all your goodies as well.

Queenie said...

Bravo to your ten chiffon cake challenge... and I really like your Bundt Quartet Pan.

neyeeloh said...

10 chiffons in less then 11 hours? Pei fu pei fu ^_^

DG said...

You made us envy of you! Thanks for sharing photos of your trip, enjoy all, especially with the cute colourful cauliflower, very interesting! I also eyeing the 4in1 bundt pan you bought, very good choice!

Carolina said...

Hola!!

Me ha sorprendido la foto donde salen las coliflores de colores, yo solo conocia la blanca y la verde.

Que lindas fotos!

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Oh wow yan Ee, how have you been? You've MiA for quite some time yah? Hope all is well on ypursidde. :) thanks for dropping by, good to know that you are still blog hopping during your free time. Have a good one!

@blessed homemaker: me too me too! I should have posted the rainbow carrots too, heehee!

Thanks Edith! I love your Macow photos too! Thanks for sharing as well and also for dropping a supporting comment!

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Hi Queenie, thanks for dropping by my blog with a compliment! I hopped over to your blog and saw your full range of tubberwares, amazing and very nice!

Neyeeloh, heehee, thank you! I guess good time planning is key. :)

Thanks DG, heehee, I hope you get to go CA also next time! Actually you can buy some of these items online too through the links I posted.