Day 3 in Vienna: Climb Every Mountain โ›ฐ โ›ฐ

For the penultimate day of our stay in Vienna, we decided to head to the neighbouring city of Salzburg – the location of โ€˜The Sound of Musicโ€™! ๐ŸŽต๐ŸŽถ๐ŸŽถ (Already canโ€™t stop humming the tune! ๐Ÿ˜‚) In order for us to get to Salzburg, we were up early and ready to aim for our train at 9:42. ๐ŸŒ… (But not before I made my own waffle for breakfast first! โค๏ธ)

Waffle for Breakfast! ๐Ÿ˜‹
First time I made my own waffle too, believe it or not! ๐Ÿ˜‚

The return train ticket from Vienna to Salzburg costed just under โ‚ฌ60 – a very reasonable price! And after we grabbed some snacks and drinks from the shop, it was all aboard and off we go! ๐Ÿšˆ The train journey to Salzburg lasted around 2 hours and 20 minutes – which gives me more than enough time to play games on my phone ๐Ÿ“ฑ and nap ๐Ÿ˜ด in between haha! ๐Ÿ˜‚

Catching the train
Glimpses of the Alps as we are approaching Salzburg

Upon arrival in Salzburg, we went immediately to the information centre to get a Salzburg card (costed โ‚ฌ26) which allowed entry to all the major attractions here and also covering costs of buses – honestly if you want to spend a day sightseeing here you should definitely get one! ๐Ÿ‘ ๐Ÿ‘

The Salzburg Card

Our first stop of the day was the Untersberg cable car that travels to the top of the Alps. ๐Ÿš  Despite the rainy weather, the mountain views were still breathtaking to behold! โค๏ธโค๏ธ (Rather than let me waffle in words, I will let the pictures and videos do the talking haha! ๐Ÿ˜‰)

The Alps
Breathtaking! โค๏ธ
Starting the cable car… ๐Ÿš 
View from above
Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow! โ„๏ธโ„๏ธ
Complete whiteness at the top! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

The poor weather today meant that the top of the Alps was covered by a raging blizzard. ๐ŸŒจ๐ŸŒจ (Such bad luck! ๐Ÿ˜ซ I only noticed on Instagram after that, on a normal day, the view is really spectacular. Such a shame…๐Ÿ˜•) The lady in the information office informed us that one can spend up to three hours there, but we didnโ€™t even last more than 3 minutes outside! ๐Ÿ˜‚

Blizzard attack! โ„๏ธโ„๏ธ
Letโ€™s hurry back! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธ

After briefly trying to brave the storm, we went back inside and sat down in the restaurant to warm ourselves back up.๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ I thought the cold weather was perfect for a bowl of hot soup ๐Ÿฅฃ, and ordered Leberknรถdelsuppe – a beef broth served with a liver dumpling (which reminded me a bit of haggis!)

Leberknรถdelsuppe – doesnโ€™t look that appetising, but it actually tasted great! ๐Ÿ˜‹

After coming back down from the mountains, the awful weather continued ๐ŸŒง๐ŸŒง. However, we made the most of our day in Salzburg, visiting the Hohensalzburg Fortress, Salzburg Cathedral, Mozartโ€™s Birthplace and Mirabell Gardens.

Hohensalzburg Fortress
View of Salzburg from the fortress โค๏ธโค๏ธ (Yes, it looks brighter than it should because I edited it! ๐Ÿ˜‚)
Itโ€™s snowing! โ›„๏ธโ„๏ธ
Exploring the inside of the fortress ๐Ÿ”
The outside of Salzburg Cathedral
Inside Salzburg Cathedral ๐Ÿคซ๐Ÿคซ
The beautiful ceiling in cathedral
Mozartโ€™s Birthplace (no photography or videoing allowed inside unfortunately)
The entrance of Mirabell Gardens
Mirabell Gardens
The beautiful view by the river ๐ŸŒŠ๐ŸŒŠ

The teatime treat though was the thing I was looking forward to the most today. We visited Sacher Hotels (not the original one in Vienna but its branch) and tasted their world-famous Sachertorte. ๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜‹ The 34-steps recipe of the Sachertorte is apparently a top guarded secret and kept in a safe for security! ๐Ÿ˜ฌ And the cake certainly did not disappoint as it was perfectly moist with a rich chocolate taste balanced with a slight tartness from the apricot jam. โค๏ธโค๏ธ We also ordered two other desserts, including the classic Viennese apple strudel which was wonderfully flaky, which paired well with the light custard sauce. But the highlight for me was the pear mousse ๐Ÿ. It was light and slightly tangy with the sharpness of the pear coming through. Plus, I love the beautiful pear crisp it was served with on top. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ’š

The signature Sachertorte
Viennese apple strudel served with cream sauce
Pear Mousse Cup with a beautiful pear crisp! ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š

After a rather long train journey back to Vienna, we headed straight back to the hotel for a quick break before finally going out for our last dinner in Vienna to conclude a jam-packed day… but the journey is not over! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Beef roulade with polenta and Brussels sprouts

A Singletonโ€™s Valentine

Happy Valentineโ€™s Day! โค๏ธโค๏ธ I donโ€™t think there is any other festival that I can feel anymore disconnected from, so here is a shout out to all the singletons like me out there! ๐Ÿ˜‚ Plus, I am finally getting my week off work next week, so plenty of fun to be coming around!

However, one canโ€™t deny that the best thing about this festival is the chocolate, and lots and lots of them at that! ๐Ÿซ๐Ÿซ๐Ÿซ While today may be a celebration for some, I am saying goodbye to a dear work colleague who is moving away from London and I definitely use the opportunity to make a chocolate cake that satisfied everyone during lunchtime! (It just so happened that her favourite cake is also chocolate lol.)

โ€˜Youโ€™re always welcome homeโ€™ – and I am as โ€˜exasperatedโ€™ (as pointed out by somebody) as this bird on my cake ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

For those of you interested, I used the same chocolate sponge recipe that I posted a while back last year. (See link here ๐Ÿ‘‰ https://tangosbaking.home.blog/2019/05/27/life-is-like-a-box-of-chocolates/) But instead of making chocolate ganache, I did a โ€˜freestyleโ€™ chocolate frosting that I whipped up using some melted butter, cocoa powder, milk and plenty of icing sugar! (Didnโ€™t even bother with measurements! ๐Ÿ˜‚ I was entirely going by eye for consistency.) I then topped the cake with a chocolate nest filled with mini eggs and a white fondant bird. ๐Ÿฆ Nothing can beat a well-baked chocolate cake really! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‹

After spending some time drinking in the pub, I also took myself out for a dinner for one at my favourite Italian comfort food spot. (The mixed fish grill was so delicious! ๐Ÿคค Crispy exterior with the perfectly cooked centre ๐ŸŸ๐Ÿฆ) Who said that single life isnโ€™t fun? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Mixed fish grill (salmon, lemon sole, sea bass and king prawn) served with a mixed salad

And also clearly I havenโ€™t had enough cake earlier…๐Ÿ˜…

Apple cake served with a warm mango cream sauce and vanilla ice cream

And with a full stomach, itโ€™s time to go home and lie back in my bed! ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿ›

(P.S. Big trip next week, so watch this space! ๐Ÿ˜‰)

The Night Before Christmas

Happy Christmas Eve, everyone! ๐ŸŽ„โ„๏ธ๐Ÿ’ซโค๏ธโค๏ธ Itโ€™s so nice to be back home in the holiday, isnโ€™t it? (I certainly am, since I am posting this whilst setting up a bath lol! ๐Ÿ›€)

Hope you all are enjoying your holiday, and I am sorry if this post dampens the festive mood for you but I have thought long and hard before writing this… My break didnโ€™t start off well when I found out three days ago that my family home was broken into. Losing valuables was one thing but I am just glad that no-one was hurt. However, I am upset by the fact that someone feels they have the rights to violate the place that holds so much happy memories to me. Here I am, a few days later, taking a picture of this cake at the exact same spot where it was broken into… I still feel a little uneasy around the house, but hopefully over time it will heal. โค๏ธ Though I am not going to let this stops me celebrating Christmas with a smile on my face! ๐Ÿ˜Š

So happy with how this cake turns out โ€˜cause Iโ€™ve never done something like this before! The cake is just a simple vanilla sponge covered with a smooth whipped cream, and topped with flakes of chocolate. However, the iced biscuits are actually shortbreads as my family and I are not particularly fond of gingerbread, so I made a break away from the tradition lol. ๐Ÿ˜› (A tip: Make sure to always rest the shaped biscuits in the fridge or freezer before baking. This is to prevent the butter from melting too fast during baking so that the biscuits donโ€™t lose the shapes you probably spent some time painstakingly trying to cut out! ๐Ÿ˜‚)

Canโ€™t wait to be binge-watching Christmas TV all day tomorrow! Merry Christmas and best wishes to you all! ๐ŸŽ…๐ŸŽ„โ„๏ธ๐Ÿ’ซ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽŠ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

Last Christmas ๐ŸฆŒโ„๏ธ๐ŸŽ„

Christmas baking truly marks for me the beginning of the seasonal festival. There are so many things I love about Christmas, from the beautiful lights in the streets of London to a crazy time in the Winter Wonderland whilst listening to the best Christmas tunes. Itโ€™s truly the best time of the year! โค๏ธ๐Ÿ’šโค๏ธ๐Ÿ’š What are your favourite things about Christmas? ๐Ÿ˜Š

Last year, I decided to make a Yule Log after seeing it done in the Great Christmas Bake Off the year before, and I was so happy with how it turned out in the end! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘ Swiss roll was the first ever bake I learnt to make so it does bring back a sense of nostalgia to be making that back at my family home. โค๏ธ

(P.S. A couple of days after that, I also made a Christmas croquembouche! ๐Ÿ˜†)

Now, what should I make this Christmas? ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ˜—

Happy Birthday to Me!

Another year, another chapter of my life begins. They said that โ€˜the older you get, the wiser you are.โ€™ Though I donโ€™t think this phrase applies entirely to me, life can only go upwards and onwards! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘ It was so much fun celebrating with some of my closest friends. And for the other special people in my life that werenโ€™t able to make it today, I am always grateful for your constant presence around me. Sometimes, I do feel like I am not thankfully enough for what I have right now and just constantly want more. But, truly simplicity is the best, and what I have right now is really enough for me.

As for the birthday cake, I was very inspired to make a Devilโ€™s food cake after stumbling across a video by Nigella Lawson one night. (You can see the link here๐Ÿ‘‰ https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tcZSTF4L0bw) Gooey, moist and rich. It is definitely one for any chocolate lovers. (And even better when served with a glass of Sangria! ๐Ÿท You must excuse me as I was still quite tipsy whilst typing this post… ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚)

I added some wafer paper feathers, desiccated coconut and white chocolate stars to play along the light and dark theme of the cake, but you can have it just as simple as Nigella would and it would taste just as โ€˜heavenlyโ€™ as she described. โค๏ธโค๏ธ

Here is to another year! ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ’ช

My Life is a Box of Sweetness

As the weather turns chilly this week and my works continue to pile on, baking really allows me to take a step back and relax from the stress. Having said that, despite working through the weekends in the past weeks, I felt like I am starting to enjoy my job again. Perhaps is a turning point for me? (But we shall wait and see about that lol.)

Yesterday, I baked some traybakes for Free Cakes for Kids Hackney (whilst also sneaked our for a nice Indian supper in between haha). Itโ€™s a charity Iโ€™ve been working with for a couple of months now, and honestly whatโ€™s better than sharing the joy of your bakes than with someone else? ๐Ÿ™‚ (And to be fair, it just gives me an excuse to temporarily drop my work and do something else lol.)

For the traybakes, I decided to go with some rainbow rocky roads and white chocolate & raspberry blondies topped with crushed bananas crisps. I shared my rocky road recipe in a post before (Link here๐Ÿ‘‰ https://tangosbaking.home.blog/2019/06/03/monday-blues-rocky-roads/), but this time I switched it up with some tri-coloured marshmallows. For the blondies, I used the recipe from this website๐Ÿ‘‰ https://www.janespatisserie.com/2016/11/10/white-chocolate-raspberry-blondies/, but added 50g less caster sugar as I felt it was sweet enough with the white chocolate.

Why donโ€™t you also give it a try this weekend? ๐Ÿ˜‰ What would you like in your box of sweets? โค๏ธ

Roughing Out in the Night

Fancy a sweet treat to prepare yourself for a busy week? These wacky triple chocolate muffins have a melted chocolate centre and topped with a wafer feather. Sometimes itโ€™s just fun to not follow any rules and let your imagination run wild. (Too be honest, I am still not sure about the way they look lol ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚)

For me, there is nothing more fun and relaxing than some late night baking on a Friday/Saturday night (when there is obviously no work the next day!) Itโ€™s only during these times I can forget about my anxieties over my insomnia and actually enjoy it. The freedom to do anything as the rest of the world is sound asleep… there is something strangely satisfying about that to me. Anyone else feel the same? Would love to hear from all the all-nighters out there! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿฆ‰๐Ÿฆ‰

Triple Chocolate Muffins

Quantity: 4 muffins

Ingredients:

105g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

25g unsalted butter, softened

20g cocoa powder

50g caster sugar

1 medium egg

63g milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

4 pieces of dark chocolate

White chocolate, chopped

Wafer paper

Method:

1. Mix the sifted flour and baking powder together in a mixing bowl.

2. Rub butter into the flour mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

3. Sieve in the cocoa powder and add in the sugar. Stir to mix.

4. In a separate bowl, mix the egg, milk and vanilla extract together. Add the wet mixture to the dry flour mixture and stir until well-combined to achieve a lumpy and slightly wet mixture.

5. Preheat oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

6. Line a muffin tin with paper cases and spoon the batter evenly between them. Fill the cases up half way, and place the piece of dark chocolate into the centre. Cover up with more cake batter and place the white chocolate on the top.

7. Bake the muffins for 20-25 minutes, or until well-risen and firm. Test if the muffins are fully baked by inserting a skewer just slightly off the centre, and it should come out completely clean. Once they are ready, place them on a wire rack to cool.

8. Cut out the wafer paper into feather shapes using scissors and insert into the muffins to finish.

Rolling in the Deep Fryer

Do you enjoy doughnuts? ๐Ÿฉ๐Ÿฉ๐Ÿฉ I always love a good doughnut, especially ones topped with chocolates! ๐Ÿ˜‹ It has been one of the bakes that I gave myself a goal to make, though I kept putting it off to avoid the messiness that could come with deep frying in my small apartment. (The nightmare scenario of hot oil spluttering all over my bed! ๐Ÿ˜ฐ๐Ÿ˜ฐ) Therefore, this time while I am staying at my familyโ€™s home, I decided to make full use of the kitchen here to make some doughnuts.๐Ÿ˜‰ (Though my mum wasnโ€™t particularly happy with the mess I created afterwards…๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜…)

For my first time making them, I felt I did a decent job.๐Ÿ˜ I adapted a recipe from the allrecipes UK website (Link: http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/4920/crispy-and-creamy-doughnuts.aspx), though I omitted the egg as I ran out of them in the kitchen and added a bit more water in place of it.๐Ÿ˜› I made two kinds of doughnuts, one with chocolate and the other was lemon and blueberry. I did have a bit of issue with the dough being too wet and sticky, so was struggling with the shaping until I added more flour. When it came to the frying, I did a few doughnuts as testers to gauge how I should fry them and they seemed to come out better when fried with a lower heat. (No, I didn’t have a thermomter…) And I underestimated how big these doughnuts would expand as they cook, so they came out quite big. At least we were hungry lol! ๐Ÿ˜‚

Have you made doughnuts before? Feel free to leave any thoughts or advices in the comments below! ๐Ÿ˜Š

Ordinary Oreos

I would not be surprised if you tell me that Oreo played an important role in your childhood. I used to wake up to adverts of Oreos in the morning, and like a typical child begged my mum to get some for me. ๐Ÿ˜‚ There is more to this beloved treat than dunking it in the milk though as it is quite a widely used ingredient in baking and desserts.

This week, I received a request to bake an Oreo cake for one of my local charities. I also got to use the silver food colouring spray I bought from L’atelier des Chefs in Paris a few days ago, and created this metallic Oreo cake.๐Ÿ˜‰ This cake was composed of Oreo-incorporated vanilla sponges covered with an Oreo buttercream and a chocolate ganache. Hope you enjoy! ๐Ÿ˜Š

Metallic Oreo Cake

Quantity: 1 cake

Ingredients:

For the sponge:

4 eggs, separated into whites and yolks

64g caster sugar

48g flavourless oil

56g warm water

1 tsp vanilla extract

80g self-raising flour

20g corn starch

154g (1 packet) Oreos , crushed coarsely

For the buttercream:

295g unsalted butter, softened

520g icing sugar

52g double cream

1 tsp salt

154g (1 packet) Oreos, crushed finely

For the chocolate ganache:

125g dark chocolate

70g double cream

For decorations:

Oreos, whole

Silver food colouring spray

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/356F/gas 4.

2. To prepare the sponge, start by whisking the egg whites in a large bowl using an electric whisk with half of the caster sugar until soft peaks are formed. Be careful not to overwhip the egg whites.

3. In a large bowl, mix the yolks with the oil, water, vanilla extract and the remaining sugar together until smooth. Sieve in the flours until mix until well-combined.

4. Fold half of the whisked egg whites into the yolk mixture. Then, pour the mixture into the remaining egg whites and fold until they are evenly combined.

5. Fold in the coarsely crushed Oreos into the sponge batter until well-combined.

6. Pour the cake mixture into a greased cake tin. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

7. Cool the cake briefly in the tin before demoulding to cool on a wire rack.

8. To make the buttercream, use an electric whisk to beat the softened butter until smooth. Add in the icing sugar, double cream and salt, and whisk until well-combined. Save a small portion of the plain buttercream for decorations before folding in the finely crushed Oreos.

9. Assemble the cake by carefully slicing the sponges into two even layers. Cover and sandwich the sponge with the buttercream. Chill the cake in the fridge for the buttercream to firm up slightly.

10. To make the chocolate ganache, heat the double cream in a saucepan. Break down the chocolates and place them in a bowl. Add the hot cream onto the chocolates and whisk until smooth.

11. Pour the chocolate ganache over the cake. Let it set before spraying the silver food colouring on top.

12. On some parchment, spray the silver food colouring onto the whole Oreos. Pipe the plain buttercream on top of the cake, and place the coloured Oreos over it.