This may be one of the best cakes I've ever made. It's pretty, elegant and most of all, really delicious. And I made it within 3 hours, which was a mad rush to bake the cake layers, make the macarons, whip up the frosting, assemble the cake and frost the whole thing before my friends came over. I know, I should have planned it earlier and started a day ahead because my macarons didn't turn out right. I was devastated to see the poor, cracked with no crinkly feet macarons looking like mini whoopie pies when I took them out of the oven. But in the end I still used them, because they just tasted so good. I didn't let them set long enough to dry as I didn't have enough time. Lesson learned.
The macarons are the star on this cake even though they weren't as perfect as I had hoped. I recently bought the "Macarons Chic & Delicious French Treats" book by Annie Rigg from the bookstore, and it is an beautiful little book full of stunning pictures and ideas for making various flavours of macarons. I adapted one of the ideas to flick some red liquid food colouring on the unbaked macarons (a genius idea!), which gave it a Jackson Pollock effect. It gave it a pretty colour on an otherwise plain macaron. I was also going to make heart shaped macarons but I ended up piping the regular round shapes, so I'd love to try it the next time I make another batch.
White cake recipe adapted from Joy of Baking.
Makes one-3 layer 8 inch cake.
3 large eggs, separated
262 grams cake flour (about 2 and 3/4 cups) or use plain flour and replace 4 tablespoons of the flour with cornflour
3 teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon of salt
170 grams of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 and 1/2 cups (300 grams) of sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3/4 cup of milk
1/8 plus half of 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
Makes about 20 filled macarons
200 g (1 and 1/2 cups) icing/ confectioners'/ powdered sugar
100 g (2/3 cup) ground almonds
120-125 g egg whites (about 3 eggs)
a pinch of salt
3 tablespoons of sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 177 degrees C (350 degrees F). Grease and line three 8 inch round cake tins with baking paper.
9. Gently fold a little of the egg whites in the cake batter with a rubber spatula and then add the rest, mixing until combined. Be careful not to overmix the batter otherwise it will deflate.
To assemble the cake,
1. Fill the cake with about 1/2 cup of frosting on each layer (I used my favourite buttercream frosting here), stacking them layer by layer and frosting the outside of the cake. Put it in the fridge to set for at least an hour. Top the cake with macarons just before serving and serve at room temperature.