Bits and pieces: Macadamia butterscotch tea cake

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So for the food part of the bits and pieces theme I thought I would include a recipe for a cake that I have been meaning to make, but for some or other reason have just never got round to. A couple of years ago I had the most delicious slice of cake at the Oratia farmers market in Auckland. It was a dense, rich cake with a toffee macadamia crust. The cake was moist and rich, and the macadamia toffee crust chewy and crunchy at the same time. I went back every single Saturday for a few weeks to have another piece, and I never saw it again. You can just imagine the disappointment… I hunted for a recipe to make this cake and it just wasn’t to be found. So I thought this weekend it was high time to give it a go.

I think this cake captures a lot of what I loved in that first cake. The sponge is not too sweet, but it’s moist and perfectly accompanies the butterscotch macadamia topping (or at least I think so!) Note this cake has coffee essence in it, but really the flavour is so subtle that I think it would be suitable for those that don’t love coffee.

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Butterscotch Sauce

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup boiling water

50g unsalted butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

100ml of cream

Cake

2 tablespoons instant coffee granules

450g unsalted butter – at room temperature

450g caster sugar

8 eggs

450g plain flour

2 tablespoons of baking powder

150g macadamia nuts – crushed

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How to:

1. Make the butterscotch sauce by dissolving the sugar in a saucepan over a gentle heat until a deep gold. Carefully pour the boiling water onto the melted sugar and stir until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and brown sugar.

2. Return the sauce to the heat and stir until the mixture is smooth and the brown sugar has dissolved. Stir in the cream. Take off the heat and set aside to cool.

3. Make coffee essence for the cake by adding the instant coffee granules to 150ml of water. Boil over a medium heat until reduced by half. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.

4. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius. Grease a 25cm ring mould (I made my own by wrapping two ramekins stacked on top of each other in foil, and placed them in the centre of my normal spring form tin)

5. Put the butter, sugar and cold coffee essence in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment fitted (or use a handheld electric mixer) and beat until the ingredients are well incorporated.

6. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping any unmixed ingredients form the side of the bowl. Beat in the flour and baking powder and mix well until combined and the mixture is light and fluffy.

7. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin and smooth over with a palette knife. Drizzle a third of the butterscotch sauce over the surface of the batter and scatter over a third of the macadamia nuts. This creates a lovely chewy topping to the cake.

8. Bake the cake for about an hour, or until a skewer come out clean. I think my oven my be slighlty slow off the mark – so I’d start checking the cake at about 40 minutes to be sure you don’t overcook it.

9. Leave the cake to cool, then drizzle the butterscotch sauce over the cake and scatter the macadmia nuts over the sauce (if the sauce is to thick when cool you can gently heat it on the stove).

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