Lindt Chocolate Cake

Here is one I prepared earlier. This was baked to take to friends’ going away party. When we arrived at the friends’s house we were surprised to see that there were no cars outside. We walked towards the door, only to see several nappy bags with dirty nappies lying on the doorstep. Before ringing the doorbell, I quickly checked my calendar to find that the party is tomorrow. 
Oh, well. Hopefully the cake will still taste good tomorrow.
It is very easy to prepare, but be warned it is not exactly light. So put away your scales and weightwatchers books for now and just enjoy.
First put the cocoa into a bowl with the milk and blend to a smooth paste.

 

Then put softened butter, flour, sugar, eggs and vanilla essence into a bowl…

 

 

add the chocolate paste and beat with a mixer (or wooden spoon)…

 

 

Grease a baking tin, pour mixture in and bake at 180°C for about 40 mins. I could only find my Guglhupf baking tin (with a hole in the middle) which resulted in a rather uneven and cracked cake. Note to self – buy new tin.

 

 

Sliced in the middle and turned around so that the base forms the top of the cake, and it looked better. I put a layer of raspberry jam in the middle of the cake, you can use apricot to make it similar to a Sachertorte.

 

 

Gently warm water and add sugar and golden syrup, stir until the sugar has dissolved, take off heat then add chocolate, using whisk to make glaze glossy. I use Lindt chocolate (of course) as I find that it tastes better than the blocks of cooking chocolate.

 

 

Pour onto cake, and decorate with sprinkles. Done.

 

 

Lindt Chocolate Cake

250g Pack of butter
170g Self-raising Flour (6 oz – 1 1/3 cup)
225 Caster sugar (8oz – 1 cup)
6 tbsp cocoa
4 eggs
1/4 l milk (1/2 pint -1 cup)
1 tsp vanilla essence

Glaze
6 tbsp water
2 tbsp golden syrup
125g caster sugar (1/2 cup)
175g dark choc (6oz)

 

 

 

Availability of Baking Ingredients in Switzerland

If you found this blog because you googled, “where to buy baking powder in Geneva” or “where to buy self-raising flour in Switzerland” – read on.

Baking Powder – I buy in Manor in little tubs. Don’t be fooled by the sachets by Dr Oetker – they are German style Backpulver which is, I have been informed a one rise agent. You need a two rise agent to get really fluffy British or American style cakes. I used to buy it in France, again don’t be fooled by Dr Oetker, you need the stuff called Levure Chimique.

Baking Soda – Also in Manor. In our store, it is next to the cake decorating stuff.

Self-Raising Flour – This is tricky, but you can buy it in France if you are near the French border. It is called Farine de Gateaux. There is a way to make it yourself, but I have never needed to. I have never seen it in Germany or in Switzerland, even in Suisse Romand.

Creme of Tartar – Even more tricky – go to a chemist  and ask for Creme de Tartre and in the German speaking part of the country ask for Weinstein. They will look puzzled at this but will put it down to you being an eccentric foreigner.

Happy Baking!

You just can’t get orange cheese…

An American friend was chatting to one of his countrymen, who said that they liked living in Geneva, but ‘You just can’t get orange cheese!’

Cheese capital of the world Switzerland does not sell orange cheese in a spray can.

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For expats this is one of the biggest gripes – that some favourite food stuffs are just not available in the host country. Which is why the American/British food stores thrive in Switzerland and elsewhere in Europe. It is the taste of home, the comfort food that we crave, no matter how good the food here is.

I have been an expat for 18 years – it was my expat Anniversary on 3rd September.  When I first moved to Germany I would spend time, money and effort sourcing British food. I was delighted when Marks & Spencer opened stores in Cologne and later in Frankfurt. We would drive to Frankfurt several times a year and stock up on baked beans, tea bags, Chicken Korma with Naan bread, “real” bread and all the goodies that we could not buy in Germany.

When M&S pulled out of Germany a couple of years later, I was devastated and resorted to filling every nook and cranny of the car when we went to Scotland on holiday. I recall having tins of beans around the spare wheel.

Slowly but surely though, I began to find decent alternatives. Heinz Baked Beans were available in the German supermarkets – expensive compared to UK but not worth weighing the car down with them. I could live without white loaves and bacon, and was happy to wait until we visited Scotland, eat all the food that we miss here but not want to import it.

I found that by using German or French recipes that it is much easier to source the ingredients, and that I do not crave the food from home so much. Aside from Tunnock Caramel Wafers, of course.

When we moved to Geneva, I found that I could buy Self-Raising Flour in France (Farine de Gateaux, if you are looking for it) and baking powder that actually makes cakes rise. The Dr Oetker baking powder sold in Germany and Switzerland is a one-rise baking agent. The British baking powder is similar to American baking powder and is a two-rise baking agent. This is why the German and Swiss cakes are denser than the British. It is all but impossible to make a decent Victoria Sponge without the right baking powder.

Being able to bake  meant that I could make the specialty breads and cakes that are not available here, such as Soda Bread, Scones, Hot Cross Buns. With the French Levure Chimique. my scones rise in the oven, cakes are light and fluffy and all is well in the world. Nothing like good cake to make one feel better when homesickness strikes.

I do understand the wailing of the Americans not able to buy orange cheese in a spray can. Being the inquisitive person I am, I asked my husband to bring me back a can when was in America this summer.

And how did it taste? Not as bad as I thought it would. It does contain real cheese, after all. It was a bit bland (perhaps we should have tried the Sharp Cheddar) and not particularly cheesey. The fact that refrigeration is not required did put me off a bit, as it shows how processed and full of preservatives the cheese must be.

Would I miss it if I could not buy it? Absolutely not, in fact it is languishing in the fridge right now.

Can I understand why Americans miss it? Yes, I can. Americans would probably shake their heads in bemusement a the Scots abroad with their Irn Bru and Sliced Sausage, not to mention Haggis and White Pudding. A taste of home is cheaper than a flight home and staves off the homesickness for a little while.

PS. Any Americans in Geneva area who would like a can of Orange Cheese?