Friday, November 6, 2009

The race that stops a nation........

I love the Melbourne Cup, in fact, I love the Spring Racing Carnival. Not for the horses mind you but the beautiful fashion that parades around the track (and some of the not so beautiful but we wont go there!). Some women and men have just got style.

What I also love and am a bit bemused by is the way Melbourne Cup Day trully does stop a nation (and half of the free world). Many, many kms from the centre of Melbourne and a couple of States away, downtown Alice Springs (and many other towns and cities around the country) went into full race mode. There was a luncheon or two, workplaces closed from lunchtime, girls paraded around the centre of this outback, dusty town all frocked up. The betting centre was full, the talk was all about racing. I have witnessed this in other states of Australia too and am convinced that while us Melbournians get a public holiday for it there are many other Australian's who get an unofficial public holiday.

I was commissioned to provide some cup cakes for a Cup Day Function. I chose to do a new recipe, something befitting the elegance that can be race day luncheons, chicken and champagne, cucumber sandwiches, strawberries and cream, cavier etc and did Orange flourless cup cakes. They were easy and a huge success. They were a bit high maintenence to start as you have to boil the oranges for an hour and then whiz them when cool, so I guess it is not something you start at 9pm as I am want to do.

Once you get the boiling out of the way, the rest is pretty much standard. They turned out very moist and delectable.

I iced half with white chocolate ganache and, due to a bit of a disaster, the other half with orange flavoured buttercream. It was my first attempt at white chocolate ganache and I must say it was very easy. My only problem was when it had chilled and thickened enough to go into the piping bag, half way through piping I came across a lump that I could not shake and blocked the tube.

With only an hour to go (because I like my recipents to get them very fresh), I ditched the ganache and iced the other half with buttercream. No one was any wiser and someone was heard to comment "they are like little drops of heaven".

I have had a busy week and a few more baking attempts to post. I say, attempts, because this has been my biggest week of some flops. I am being a grown up and trying to learn from them and I think they are happening as I am taking a leaf out of a Seattle blogger I admire who tries new things all the time. I am breaking away slightly from the tried and true cup cakes - although I will never really abandon them. I have tried sponge cake and American biscuits (snickerdoodles) this week, so they will appear soon.

Anyway, I hope you backed a winner.

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