I am finally back from my self-imposed hiatus. I enjoyed, over that period of time, many things such as cooking classes, devouring new Cookbooks and of course, cooking for my family and friends. I have also been researching and planning for my trip to the south of France later in the year. Plenty of things to keep an avid cook and writer occupied.
Today I want to share with you my experience at the inaugural cooking class at The Australian Women’s Weekly Test Kitchen. The Weekly has finally opened it’s kitchen door to the public for a variety of classes this year. I was lucky enough to attend the very first one. Classes are run by the affable, talented and extremely knowledgeable Pamela Clark. Pamela has a long association with The Weekly having started work there in 1969 and after a short break, has been back working for The Weekly a total of 32 years! Wow and believe me, she knows her stuff.
“The AWW cooking school aims to teach you new techniques and help you perfect existing ones – I hope yo see you soon in the Test Kitchen” ~ Pamela Clark
Today, Pamela’s Masterclass takes us through the basic techniques for butter cake cupcakes. I have added recipes below. All recipes for cupcakes and ganache are sourced from this Cookbook. The pictorials are a handy, mouth-watering guide to colour combinations so, if you are entertaining and using a certain colourway, grab this book for suggestions. Cupcakes for every occasion can be found within. For best results, both eggs and butter should be at room temperature before commencing. If you forget and melt the butter in the microwave you will end up with a heavy bottomed cake. If you find yourself in this situation, the best thing to do is grate the butter (with a grater that has been heated under hot running water) into a bowl. This is one of Pamela’s invaluable tips. Also, by heating the beaters in hot water before commencing the butter will not stick to them.
Vanilla Butter Cakes
1 cup (150g) self-raising flour
90g softened butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1. Preheat over to 180 degrees C/160 degrees C fan-forced. Line eight holes of 12-hole muffin pan with paper cases.
2. Sift flour into a small bowl, add butter, extract, sugar, eggs and milk; beat with an electric mixer on low speed until ingredients are combined. Increase speed to medium; beat until mixture changes to a paler colour.
3. Drop 1/4 cup of mixture into cases. Bake for about 20 minutes. Stand cakes for 5 minutes before turning top-side up onto a wire rack to cool.
White Chocolate Ganache
1/2 cup (125ml) cream
360g white eating chocolate, chopped coarsely
1. Bring cream to the boil in a small saucepan; remove from heat. When bubbles subside, add chocolate; stir until smooth.
Yields 1 1/2 cups
The Ganache can be used whilst still warm and pourable or beaten with a wooden spoon until spreadable. It may also be coloured to suit your colour scheme. So go ahead, play around and have some fun.