Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Liquorice Cakes with Salted Butterscotch Icing

Liquorice seems to be as divisive as it is distinctive and I concede that I’m not a huge fan of it myself. However I was recently tasked with coming up with a recipe using the tricky devil and ever the gentleman, I always try to oblige.

I would have liked to have used powdered liquorice for these sponge cakes, but alas I was unable to source it locally. Instead I gave traditional soft eating liquorice a go, which despite requiring a small amount of palaver, still ultimately did the trick. I’ve topped each with a butterscotch icing and a sprinkling of sea salt and even if the prospect of salt on sweet things doesn’t float your boat, I’d still recommend you do the same. The slight tickle of salt on the tongue proves most welcome with such a saccharine treat.

Prep time: 25 Mins
Baking time: 20-25 Mins
200g Soft Liquorice (Chopped)
Around 2tbsp Water
75g Unsalted Butter (Softened)
125g Light Muscovado Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1tsp Baking Powder
200g Plain Flour

For the Butterscotch Icing
60g Unsalted Butter
120g Light Muscovado Sugar
3tbsp Milk
200g Icing Sugar (Sifted)
A sprinkling of Sea Salt

Cake time! Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and line a 12 hole muffin tin with cupcake cases. Add the liquorice and water to a saucepan, place on a low heat and leave to melt, giving it a vigorous stir every now and again to help break up the liquorice. Whilst the liquorice is melting cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then sift in the baking powder and flour and mix to a consistent batter.

When the liquorice has melted to the consistency of sticky toffee remove from the heat and beat into your cake mixture. It should mix in evenly with a little elbow grease! Spoon the mixture into your prepared cases and bake in the centre of the oven for around 20-25 minutes, until lightly risen, golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into one of the cakes. When you are happy the cakes are baked remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack until cool.

When the cakes are cool you can start on the icing. Add the butter and sugar to a small saucepan and bring to the boil on a medium heat. Leave to bubble for two minutes, then remove from the heat, stir in 2tbsp of milk and return to the heat for a further 1 minute. When golden and glossy remove from the heat and leave to cool for about 20 minutes. Add the icing sugar to a large bowl, then pour in the butterscotch mixture along with 1tbsp of milk. Mix until smooth, then spread a light layer over each of your cooled cakes. I am rather sparing when it comes to the icing as it’s sooooo sweet. Sprinkle each cake with sea salt and your work is done. Hooray!

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