Our contributor, Miso of Miso Bakes, is here with a new DIY for you today …
I am extremely excited to share this first cake tutorial of 2013 with all of you! It is a cake inspired not only by my love for the confection, but also by the question I am asked the most: How do you make macarons?
Macarons are a light, sweet and subtly chewy cookie sandwich filled with ganache, buttercream, or jam. Though the ingredients are fairy simple and are composed of egg whites, almond flour and confectioner’s sugar, the cookies can be quite finicky and stressful to make. Therefore, to save a headache or two for you, I decided to take an easier approach in helping you create the perfect macaron– I turned it into cake form!
a DIY by Miso Bakes
- 6 layers of cake (3 sizes; 2 of each)
- 3 flavors of buttercream
- 3 colors* of fondant
- 3 colors* of royal icing
- 3 cake boards
- Straws or dowels
STEP 1: Bake cakes. If your cakes bake slightly domed (most recipes do), perfect! If not, you may carve them so they look like macaron shells.
STEP 2: You will be sandwiching the two same-sized layers together and then stacking the sandwiched cakes. Therefore, you want to trim a bit of the dome on all the cakes (the ‘shells’) with the exception of the top most shell of the whole cake. By trimming a bit of the dome, you will be providing a flat surface for the sandwiches to sit on. Make sense?
STEP 3: Ice the cakes with a thin layer of buttercream.
STEP 4: Cover with fondant.
STEP 5: Flip the bottom most shell over onto a cake plate or board.
STEP 6: Fill with buttercream.
STEP 7: Make sandwich with other shell.
STEP 8: Measure (or eyeball) the width of the macaron that will be sitting on top. Add dowels or straws for support.
STEP 9: Adhere, with buttercream, the next macaron onto a cake board cut slightly smaller than the cake. Simply put, you will be doweling and adding boards to each ‘tier’ like you would a wedding cake.
STEP 10: Once your macarons are all built and stacked, if desired (and is recommended for those traveling with the cake), insert a long center dowel starting at the top center of the cake all the way to the bottom of the cake board.
STEP 11: Pipe a thick line using royal icing on the edges of the macaron shells. The royal icing should be firm enough to hold itself but not firm enough to pipe roses.
STEP 12: Using a toothpick, swirl the royal icing around.
STEP 13: To get the ‘shiny’ effect, rub the smallest amount of shortening all over the shells.
STEP 14: Do the happy dance! You’ve created a perfect stack of macarons! Congratulations!
Note: Whenever you are coloring fondant or royal icing with food coloring gel, you have to keep in mind that the colors will develop and darken as it sits. It is okay if your royal icing colors turn out a bit darker than your fondant. Sometimes, the feet of the macaron, depending on how it rises and spreads, bake darker than the shell.
For those of you still wanting to master macarons, try using a recipe using the Italian meringue method rather than the French meringue. Though the Italian meringue takes an extra step to make, it is sturdier and is more forgiving than the French meringue. Another important step is to make sure there are no traces of fat (yolk) in the egg whites. Fat will keep the meringue from forming properly and will break the structure down. Make sure your bowls are CLEAN and DRY. This, in my opinion, is more important than aging your egg whites. When working at a restaurant, I successfully made macarons all the time using egg whites I had just pulled from the fridge.