The RSPCA cupcake day was held on 20th August, but my work decided to hold our event the day after (I think management prefer a Tuesday morning tea since many aren’t around on a Monday…) The concept is simple…bake cupcakes to raise money for the RSPCA, in turn helping animals in need around the country. Most people (those with a soul anyway) love both animals and cupcakes, so I saw this as a chance to not only get some good karma points, but to also spread the word of good craft beer by baking Hefeweizen cupcakes, featuring the Burleigh Breweries ‘Hef’.
I got this recipe from the cupcake project. I recommend giving it a go, and I’ll also be attempting some of their other beer based cupcakes.
Hunting and Gathering
I had most of the ingredients already. The only things I needed to find were lemons (easy) the beer (also easy, even my local BWS carries a good range of Burleigh brews) and the malted milk powder (slightly harder, but only because I have a bad tendency to not look at the bottom shelf of an aisle – a Woollies employee had to point it out for me). There was nothing fancy and nothing overly expensive…your local supermarket should have everything.
Creating the feast
I was surprised by how easy baking my scones turned out to be – I was even more surprised that these cupcakes (which I’d assumed would be much more complex) were even easier. The most manually difficult part was whipping the egg whites; once that was done the other ingredients were stirred in, then into the baking tray and into the oven. 15 minutes later the kitchen smelled 50% like a bakery, 50% like a brewery, and 100% awesome.
Then there was the beer glaze to top them, which involved the use of a ‘double boiler’. I had to google double boiler to see what I needed, and found it’s the way they melt chocolate on Masterchef (my TV habits help me out once again!) Making the glaze was easy, putting it on the cupcakes turned out to be more difficult, but I struggled through and got there in the end.
Finally, I had to decide on decorations. I’d made a test batch of these cupcakes for my team last week, and we joked about what kind of decorations could go on a beer cupcake. One of the girls suggested pretzels and kabana, at which we all had a good chuckle – but that planted a seed in my head. I bought a bag of pretzels, and together with girlfriend dipped them in some leftover glaze. We were both happy that the salty snack added something great to the sweetness, so it was decided then that my German beer cupcakes would be appropriately topped by pretzels.
How’d it taste?
In a word – fantastic. The cupcakes are really moist, and have almost a mud cake consistency. The flavours are light though; all the good flavours you expect from German wheat beer are there (most people thought there was banana in the recipe too) and the lemon zest gives it a burst of freshness. They were universally liked by all who were brave enough to try them (the pretzels scared a few people away), and they ended winning the prize for ‘Most Creative Cupcake’. It even generated talk about craft beer – turns out there are a number of closet beer nerds around my office already. Oh yeah, and we raised a heap of money for the RSPCA.
…and the beer?
All the beer was used in the cupcakes!!! So I didn’t get to drink any…however Burleigh Hef is actually a beer from the epic list that I tried a while ago, so I’ll need to revisit it at some stage – perhaps matched with some awesome cupcakes?