Ginger ale is one of those drinks that is a joy and a pain to consume (one might liken this to drinking warm vodka). Although it's a refreshing beverage because it is so carbonated, and contains the delicious flavour of ginger, I hate that weird cough you get if you inhale too close to sipping. And for that sole reason I haven't drunk much ginger ale over the years (oh and because diet coke is so good).
However, and there is always a however, a rather trendy looking cordial company that makes interesting flavour combos, such as elderflower and ginger and lemongrass, caught my eye. Even though I have never really had much interest in cordial, the deep green bottle and enticing aroma made me take one home.
Alas, I am now a ginger ale convert, because this cordial is awesome. The old flavours of traditional ginger ale are lifted up by a hint of lemongrass, giving it even more bite and personality. Even though it's nice enough mixed with soda water and ice, I decided that since it is a little bit left of centre itself, I wanted to do something different and cook with it. I thought of using this cordial in place of a simple sugar syrup, because after all that's all cordial is - sugar dissolved in water with some flavourings added. Sugar syrups are used in everything, from cocktails to deserts to lollies so I decided to make little syrup cakes. Add on some crunchy macadamias, and the result is a simple cupcake that's just a little bit more interesting to have with tea (or ginger ale...maybe...) for your next afternoontea party... if you happen to do those sorts of things (in which case, I really like you).
Lemongrass and Ginger Syrup Cakes with Macadamia Toffee
For the cakes:
1 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup self-raising flour
1/4 cup plain flour
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/3 cup natural yoghurt
For the macadamia toffee:
1/3 cup whole macadamias
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup water
For the syrup:
1/2 cup 'Bottle Green Cordial' Ginger and Lemongrass Cordial (for more info on this product click here)
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup caster sugar
Beat butter, sugar and vanilla extract until pale and creamy. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating to fully incoporate each egg. Spoon in the yoghurt and coconut and mix through with a wooden spoon. Sift in flours and fold to incoporate. Spoon mixture into greased muffin tins (this mixture makes about 12). Bake in a pre-heated oven set to 180 degress celsius for 15-20 minutes.
To make the macadamia toffe, roughly chop the macadamias and spread out on a piece of baking paper on a tray (you want a very rough chop so there are still sizeable pieces of macadamias). Put the sugar and water in a pan and warm over a low heat on the stovetop. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and turn the heat up to medium high until the sugar water turns a medium to dark brown and is starting to bubble. Pour the toffee mixture over the macadamias and put aside in a cool place to set. Once set, break up the toffee into smaller shards, ready to place ontop of the cakes.
Now onto the syrup. Put 1/3 cup water and 1/3 cup caster sugar in a pan and heat over a low heat until sugar is dissolved. Add the cordial and remove from heat. Set aside.
Once the cakes are cooled, remove from pan and pour over the lemongrass and ginger syrup(about 2 tablespoons per cake). Top with crumbled macadamia toffee and enjoy.