Week before last was all about enjoying the start of spring in Herr Scherrer's home country, Switzerland. White snow had given way to a beautiful mix of green, brown and red all around lake Zurich and nearby towns and cities. The skies were clear blue for the entire time we were there. It was lovely to enjoy the abundant nature and country side (something we don't get much of in Hong Kong). We've been making regular trips to Switzerland for a number of years now, and its always something I look forward to very much. Who knows maybe one day we'll decide to make it home? When there are kids to think of perhaps?
We went to our usual favorite food haunts, e.g. Brasserie Lipp, Schlüssel poulet, just to name a few. There were of course the must-do visits to Sprüngli and Ladurée and Läderach. Yum yum!
We also spent a few days in Zermatt, where there were still plenty of snow for skiing on the slopes from the Klein Matterhorn and Gornegrat. As you can see in the picture below, there was not a single cloud in the sky!
We took lazy drives out to catch sights of the Rhine river, stopping for relaxing bites along the way and just simply enjoying the fresh air and good weather.
And there were lazy strolls through old streets of Schaffhausen, admiring the intricate artwork on the external walls of buildings.
Upon returning to Hong Kong I made a citrus and coffee flavored checkered loaf cake using fatless whisked sponge. There is no butter or oil in the sponge recipe. I paired it with coffee flavored chantilly cream, topped with dried rose petals and crushed pistachios. The resulting presentation makes it so suitable for Spring, don't you think?
Recipe below makes 2 mini checkered loaf measuring approximately 7" by 3.5" each
Fatless whisked sponge cake:
140g all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 tbls instant coffee powder
grated rind of 1 orange
Coffee flavoured creme chantilly:
320g whipping cream
75g granulated sugar
1 tsp instant coffee powder
dried rose petals
1. For the coffee flavored whisked sponge cake: Dissolve instant coffee powder in 1 tbls boiling water and set aside to cool slightly. Whisk 2 eggs, 80g sugar and coffee mixture in heatproof bowl to mix in the ingredients. Placing bowl over a pan of hot water and continue to whisk egg mixture till its turns pale and holds a clear trail of ribbon batter on surface. Remove bowl from pan and continue to whisk till mixture cools. Fold in 70g flour in 3 batches. Pour into lined / greased pan (I used a 8" by 8" size square pan) and bake for 15 to 17 minutes in 170C preheated oven until sponge is firm but springy. Transfer cooked sponge to cool on wire rack.
2. For the citrus flavored whisked sponge cake: Follow the same procedure above with remaining 2 eggs and 80g sugar, except replacing coffee mixture with grated orange rind.
3. For the creme chantilly: Put all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Whisk on medium speed till cream is thick enough to spread (slightly more than soft peak).
4. Assembly: cut and trim each of the coffee and citrus sponge into 9 pieces of 1.5cm tall strips, i.e. 9 strips of coffee sponge and 9 strips of citrus sponge. Arrange strips to form 2 checkered loaf, using 9 strips per loaf (strips are placed 3 by 3 with longer edge on the horizontal plane - see photos). Ensure the coffee and citrus strips alternate to create checkered effect and fill with creme chantilly between the strips to hold them together. Using a spatula, frost top and sides of checkered loaf with remaining creme chantilly. Finish with back of a spoon to create textured surface. Top with dried rose petals & crushed pistachios (or any other decorative items u desire).