Thursday, October 11, 2007

Butterscotch Cupcakes

Never before has a cupcake seemed so decadent. So much butter, cream and sugar couldn't be anything else right? It was recently Foges' birthday and workplace tradition stipulates you bring cake for eveyone else to enjoy. Our workplace is getting so big now that 2 cakes are needed. As Foges had her sister visiting she didn't have time to cook, so I volunteered to make cupcakes to supplement a bought cake. Now call me noble (go on...) but really I just wanted an excuse to make cupcakes again. It's been a while.

Butterscotch cupcakes are simply a burst of cream and caramel in your mouth. As directed by a 2006 Donna Hay magazine I whipped butterscotch flavoured liqueur into cream and drizzled messily with caramel sauce. Incase you're wondering, yes that bottle of cheap butterscotch schnapps you bought to have CS Cowboys will do. That's what I used, it was left over from a cocktail party, honest.

These cakes have surprisingly few ingredients. As they emerge from the oven and you snatch a warm one for eating then and there, you will be worried that they're not cooked enough. Give them a little time (overnight) and they seem to bind together. My greediness and impatience led to a self destructing sticky mess of cake, cream and caramel. This got me a little worried however the next day at work they were near perfect texture. Phew. I had visions of caramel stickiness forever on the office floor, people eyeing me darkly whenever they got stuck.

Give them a go, I think you will be amazed at the delicateness of flavour in a seemingly rich cake.

Butterscotch Cupcakes (Donna Hay, May/June 2006)

250 g butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
2 1/4 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk

For the Caramel:
25 g butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup single or pouring cream

Butterscotch Cream:
2 cups double (thick) cream
3 Tbsp butterscotch flavoured liqueur

To make the caramel, place the butter and sugar in a saucepan over high heat and stir until dissolved. Add the cream and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 min or until slightly thickened. Set aside and cool completely

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until light and creamy. Gradually add the eggs and beat well. Sift over the flour and baking powder and beat until combined. Fold through the milk and spoon the mixture into 2 12 hole, 1/2 cup capacity muffin tins (lined with pretty paper cases of course). Bake for 15-20 min or until cooked through. Cool on wire racks.

Beat cream and liqueur together until soft peaks form. Spread the cream over the cupcakes and drizzle with caramel.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Eating Write & Pub lunch at Hotel Warnambool

For the last 2 Tuesdays I have been attending a course entitled "Eating Write". It's essentially a food writer's course and it was a birthday present from my workmates. I'm learning all sorts of great things. Like yes, you should obtain a menu instead of relying on your memory. Yes, it's ok to take notes as long as you can disguise it and yes, it's ok to tell the restaurant you are a reviewer after you have eaten & paid. In addition to learnings, there are also some challenges. No point taking a course if you're not going to be challenged. This week our homework was to write a review of no more than 110 words. For a professional writer this might seem like a piece of cake. For me as a blogger this indicates I must cut out my blog-ramblings. You know those ramblings...they allow you to type as you think so the words on the page have little structure. I like to think they are endearing but in reality they're probably ill-thought out.

I'm not to keen to change the way I write on my blog, as I see it as much more of a personal expression. But I'm enjoying learning new styles that I might be able to use elsewhere. Lets face it, we could all do with a little structure in our lives.

So without further ado, here is my short review on Hotel Warnambool. It's very raw, I would work a little more on it before going public but since it's a simple writing exercise I will share it with you.

Hotel Warnambool

Eat with the locals as exposed timber beams and a log fire encourage patrons to settle in. The menu predicts standard counter meals, however the kitchen is shared with the restaurant at rear so diners will be pleasantly surprised. Fetta, bocconcini, pesto and parmesan pizza bread will adequately fill until mains arrive to distinguish offerings from standard pub-grub. A specials board might offer beef satay that falls apart at the touch of a fork whilst chicken schnitzel is actually house-crumbed fillets topped with a tangy herb yoghurt. One thing that does stick to pub tradition is the hefty serve of chips and salad on the side. A large selection of beers on tap will ensure you don't go thirsty.