I had lunch the other day at what must surely now be the exact hipster epicentre of this city. I don’t think it had an epicentre before; it was just a nebulous region with a slightly higher concentration of hipsters than other areas. But this little café must surely have become like hipster Mecca since it has opened. Everything is just. so. ironic. From the astroturf flooring with kitschy lawn ornaments, to the creepy foot-shaped salt and pepper shakers originally souvenired from some obscure Western Australian mining town then brought to the table via the box in your crazy aunt’s attic, to the big, brightly coloured plastic cups that make you feel like you’re not old enough to be allowed to use fancy glassware just yet.
Oh and it was full of hipsters. One was wearing a dress with a cartoon dinosaur on it and a very serious expression on her face (the hipster, not the dinosaur, the dinosaur looked quite happy). The hipster couple seated in front of me wearing socks with sandals and expensive-looking architectural quiffs ordered massive soft-serve ice cream sundaes as their entrée (studded with sprinkles and cheap wafers), followed by hotdogs with potato chips out of a packet as their main. So. ironic.
For the record, I really have nothing against hipsters, except maybe when they take themselves too seriously. But then I wonder if taking yourself too seriously is an essential criterion for being a true hipster. They’re a fascinating bunch of people to look at and wonder about (“Why did she decide to use a bulldog clip to hold her skirt up? Was it for practical or aesthetic reasons?”) and hey, at least they’re expressing themselves creatively through their appearance… I think…
The point of all this is that at this hipster café, one of the things I ordered was a malted chocolate milkshake. Of course it was served festooned in multi-coloured sugar sprinkles, which even my 6-year-old niece would have possibly found lacking in sophistication (she of the “I want a cake made out of a mountain of doughnuts” fame), but it was such a good milkshake. I had forgotten how much I like malt. So there and then I resolved to make multiple (OR MALTIPLE! HA! HA!) recipes to showcase its fantasticness.
And given my history of forcing red velvet cake into strange new formats and unfamiliar territory, it was at the top of the list for a malt-based transformation. Transformation is probably a bit of an overstatement — this is just a normal red velvet cake plus about a dozen tablespoons of malt. But the flavours work so well together. I would consider not making a normal red velvet cake ever again; I think I might prefer it with the addition of malt.