The Mad Cake Batter

sweet treats and savory deets


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Gingerbread Macarons

macs1I used my normal recipe for the macaron shells. However, to make the presents, I used instructions from Raspberri Cupcakes. After folding in the meringue into the almond meal mixture, divide ¼ part of the batter into a separate bowl to add the red food coloring. On a silpat baking sheet, pipe small squares onto the baking sheet. Then in separate piping bad draw the red bows onto the squares. Cook per usual instructions.

The buttercream is also from Raspberri Cupcakes…kind of. I followed the instructions and after mixing the ingredients together, it did not resemble buttercream at all. So I started to improvise. I added about 3 cups of confectionary sugar and added spices along to the way until it came out the way I wanted it. One of my friends told me it was “sex in [their] mouth.” So below is an approximation of how much ingredients I added to make the buttercream.

For the gingerbread buttercream:

  • macs21 large egg white
  • 1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • A few drops of pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 of ground cloves
  • 3 cup confectionary sugar

In a double broiler, whisk the egg white and sugar and insert a candy thermometer to the side of the bowl. Whisk until mixture reaches 160F and the sugar has dissolved. In a standard bowl with the whisk attachment, beat the egg mixture on high until it has cooled and thickened. Reduce to a medium speed and add the butter, 1 TBS at a time until incorporated. Add in the vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. At this point, I started adding the confectionary sugar about a ½ cup at a time. Add more ginger and cinnamon if needed.

 


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Blueberry Lemon Macarons

“In everyone’s life, a little rain must fall.”

The words my boyfriend told me after making this version of macarons. The last time I made macs, I used the recipe from Bravetart. It cut baking time significantly, however, my taste testers said they preferred the Pierre Herme recipe because they were “gooeier.”

I decided I was going to conduct some experiments this time around. Instead of 115 grams of Almond flour from the BraveTart recipe, I would use 200g. Pierre’s recipe has 300 grams Almond flour to 300 grams confectionary sugar so I thought 200 grams to 230 g was a good idea. Well, the shells were definitely softer, but almost all them cracked. I could blame this on a few things. Instead, I am just going to chalk it up as a failed attempt.

macs3Obviously, I haven’t found the right ratio. I want to incorporate what I learned from both recipes. I may try next the 1:1 ratio for flour and sugar, but keep the egg white process from Bravetart and see how I fare… To be continued.

My second experiment was using natural food coloring. Since these were going to be a blueberry lemon, I pureed some blueberries in a blender. I started off with a small amount because I didn’t want to overdo it. The puree turned the dough into a soft blue. A complete surprise since it was a dark purple? But hey, good to know for the future.

MACARON SHELLS:

  • 200 g Almond flour
  • 230 g Confectionary sugar
  • 144 g egg whites
  • 72 g sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup blueberry puree

Preheat oven to 300F. Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar into a large bowl. Set aside. In a standard mixer with the whisk attachment, add the egg whites, sugar, and salt. Beat on medium (level 4) for three minutes. Increase speed to a level 6 for another three minutes. Then increase the speed to a level 8 for another 3 minutes. Add the puree and mix at level 8 for another minute.

macs1Fold in the egg whites to the flour mixture to break down the egg whites. Put the batter in a pipping bag and pipe on a prepared baking sheet. Bake for 14-18 minutes. Since my oven gets super hot, I put a wooden spatula between the door of the oven to let moisture escape. It is supposed to prevent the shells from cracking which they still continued to do. Whomp.

BLUEBERRY LEMON FROSTING

  • 1/2 -1 squeezed lemon
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 stick butter
  • 3 cups confectionary sugar

In a standard mixer using the paddle attachment beat the butter on high until it becomes light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides using a spatula and add the blueberry puree and 1 cup of confectionary sugar. Mix until well incorporated. Add confectionary sugar cup one at a time until the buttercream starts to take shape. Pipe frosting into cooled shells and store in freezer in an air-tight container. Allow macarons to sit in the fridge for at least a half hour before serving.


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Strawberry Champagne Macaron Hearts

I was really hesitant to write this post. When I was making these, I thought that this was the end I will no longer an excuse not to make macarons. I was always under the impression that macarons are time consuming, little delights that need the upmost care and attention. Then I came across BraveTart.

hearts1She completely changed my view of the macaron world. I also love her spunk and candor. She makes macarons on the reg and has multiple posts on macarons like the Ten Commandments and Macarons Mythbusters. After reading through all her posts, I was ready to try out her recipe. It cuts down the entire process to just a couple of hours. Insane right? I have everything in grams below since that is what I use on my scale, but she does have the ounces if that’s what you prefer.

MACARON SHELLS:

  • 115g almond flour
  • 230g powdered sugar
  • 144g egg whites
  •  72g sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

heart4STRAWBERRY CHAMPAGNE FROSTING:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temp
  • 3-4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/4 cup champagne

So for this recipe, forget about preparing the egg whites a week before in order to loose elasticity. Bravetart suggests that it is irrelevant, and they don’t even need to sit out until they are room temperature!

Preheat oven to 300F. Measure the almond flour and powdered sugar. Sift together into a large bowl and set aside. In a standard mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, add the egg whites, sugar, salt and scrappings of a vanilla bean. Beat on medium (level 4) for three minutes. Increase speed to a level 6 for another three minutes. Then increase the speed to a level 8 for another 3 minutes.

heart5I was always afraid of over working egg whites. I was always under the impression there was a thin line between good egg whites and just a liquidy mess. These egg whites came out perfectly. They were a completely stiff meringue. Since i was adding color, this is the point to add it, and then beat the meringue for another minute at a level 8 to mix in the color.

Fold in the egg whites to the flour mixture to break down the egg whites. Put the batter in a pipping bag and pipe on a prepared baking sheet. I decided for Valentine’s Day to try making heart shaped shells. I normally free hand my shells and I came to realize its much harder to match shells. Either way, the shells do not need to sit out. However, Bravetart does say to pick up the sheet and hit it hard against the counter. Turn 90 degrees and rap it two more times. This will break up any air bubbles in the shells.

Bake for about 18 minutes. I never used my own oven to make shells because it is usually hotter. I haven’t had the time to calibrate it yet, but I guess I should do that soon. I had to lower the temp and the shells cooked in about 14-16 minutes. You have to know your oven and keep an eye on the shells.

heartsOnce out of the oven. Allow the shells to cool on the pan before putting them on the cooling racks. To make the buttercream, start by using the food processor to break down the frozen strawberries to dust. In a standard mixer using the paddle attachment beat the butter on high until it becomes light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides using a spatula and add the strawberries, champagne and 1 cup of powdered sugar. Mix until well incorporated. Add each cup one at a time until the buttercream starts to take shape. The strawberries and champagne will make the frosting pretty liquidy so you may need to use more powdered sugar. Fill the pipping bag once more with frosting and pipe the frosting onto the shells. Place macarons in an air tight container in the fridge. If you can, wait to consume at least a day. The frosting will soften the shells a bit and they taste so much better.


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Cannoli & Eggnog Macarons

This christmas holiday, I was making rather merry and decided to make macarons once more this year. My original plan was to have the shells red, eggnog, and green, cannoli cream macarons. Unfortunately, the eggnog macs turned out more pink and red despite the amount of red dye I put in the shell mixture. However, regardless of the color, the macarons and their fillings turned out quite well.

macsYou can find the recipe for the shells from my Vanilla Macarons post. Add the food coloring to the almond flour/confectionary sugar mix before adding the egg white/sugar mixture. As for the fillings, I wanted to have a second go with the cannoli cream, and to be honest this one was much better than the first.  The recipe I followed, from Lisa Gianotti’s blog.  She goes into two types of cannoli cream and I went with the mascarpone filling. However, it was a bit too liquidy once again. By adding a 1/4 of an 8 oz block of cream cheese, the cream thickened and kept the taste of cannoli cream.

CANNOLI CREAM:

  • 3/4 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 of 8oz block of cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamonmacs1
  • mini chocolate chips
  • pinch of salt

Drained the ricotta cheese overnight with cheesecloth and squeezed dry. This will make the ricotta less watery. In a standard mixer add all the ingredients and mix until well combined. Chill in the fridge until ready to be pipped.

I found the eggnog ganache a while back from Style Sweet CA and saved it for when eggnog was appropriate.

EGGNOG GANACHE

  • 16 oz white chocolate
  • 8 oz eggnog
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg

Place the white chocolate in a heat-safe bowl, set aside. Heat eggnog over medium-low heat in a saucepan. Let eggnog come to a slow simmer and be careful to not let it burn. Pour eggnog over chocolate and let stand for a couple of minutes. Add nutmeg and whisk until smooth. Let ganache cool before pipping.


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Pumpkin Macarons

Here we go, post 2 of 4 of pumpkin mania. I decided to make pumpkin macarons for the same birthday party. These were a bit different from the ones I normally make. My mom sent me this  recipe on pumpkin macs where they added spices added to the shells. The recipe can be found here from Oh Sweet Day. Since I could never stray from the instruction of Pierre Herme, I added the spices to my normal shell ingredients.

As for the filling, the post just had pumpkin puree and cream cheese blended together. I don’t know about you, but I need my filling to be a little bit sweeter. So I found a buttercream frosting from Wine and Glue. The only thing I really changed here was I added 1/2 cup of butter rather than their 4TBS.

SHELLS:pumpmacs

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground all-spice
  • orange food coloring
  • 110 grams eggs whites
  • 300 grams almond flour
  • 300 grams confectionary sugar
  • 300 grams caster sugar (superfine) 
  • 75 grams water
  • 110 grams egg whites

FILLING:pumpmacs1

  • 8 TBS unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 5 cups powdered sugar

DIRECTIONS:

A week before you are ready to make them, measure two sets of egg whites. Cover the eggs whites with plastic wrap, poke some holes and place in the fridge.

Sift together the almond flour and sugar into a big bowl. Add the cinnamon, turmeric, all spice, food coloring, and egg whites. Set aside. Place the other set of egg whites in a standard mixer with the whisk attachment. (Make sure it is nearby your stove for this next step). In a small saucepan, add the caster sugar and water. Have a brush in cold water nearby to brush the sides of the saucepan so the sugar doesn’t burn. Have the sugar’s temp rise to 115 degree Celsius. At this point turn the mixer on high so the egg whites start to expand. Let the sugar’s temp rise to about 118 and remove from the stove and place the hot sugar into the mixer while it is still going. Keep mixing the egg whites until soft peaks form.

Let the meringue cool to about 50 degrees C. Fold the egg whites into the almond flour mixture until well incorporated and the batter. Place the batter in a pipping bag and pipe circles onto baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper to cover. Let the shells sit for 3o minutes. Heat oven to 355F. The shells cook for about 12-14 minutes depending on your oven and you need to crack open the oven door to let out moisture at the 8th and 10th minute. You will see “feet” starting to form. After a while you will be able to gauge how long the shells need to be in the oven. Once out of the oven, remove the silpat or paper from the baking sheet immediately onto cooling racks to prevent the shells from cooking any longer.

For the buttercream, place the butter in a standard mixer with the whisk attachment. Cream the butter on high until it has expanded and fluffy. Add the puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Mix until well incorporated. Add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time until you have the desired consistency. Put frosting in a pipping bag and fill the shells. If you are not planning on serving right away, place the macarons in the fridge.