Red Velvet Strawberry Rose Cake

Happy Valentine’s Day! As someone who loves all things pink and feminine, Valentine’s Day décor is right up my alley. This cake was inspired by Ron Ben Israel’s rose cake which I’ve been obsessed with as soon as I laid my eyes on it. It was always on my “to-try” list but I never got the chance to take on the challenge. Recently, there was a blog post by NYC Cake Girl who used to work with Ron Ben Israel with a how-to on the very cake I loved. The amount of work and the detail work was perfection (as always), and I knew I simply didn’t have the time (and possibly even the skill) to recreate the cake. So I created this cake which looks similar and uses real rose petals.
As for the cake itself, I used half of my giant doughnut cake pan instead of baking a round cake and carving it into a dome like the tutorial. A similar effect could be produced with a shallow bundt cake, but I think the smooth exterior of the doughnut pan really makes things easier. The cake flavor is red velvet (because it is THE cake of Valentine ’s Day), and is layered on the inside with fresh strawberries and vanilla frosting. I know I know, I almost felt like it was sacrilege not to use cream cheese frosting, but I didn’t have cream cheese in the fridge so, vanilla it is. Please feel free to use cream cheese frosting if you prefer it.
I picked a bouquet of flowers that varied in shades of pink in hopes of making an ombre effect. However, once the petals were stripped from the flowers, they kind of ended up being the same color. I saved the lightest rose for the center though. Although in hindsight, I think I should’ve just picked the flower that had the least blemishes. You essentially layer the petals one by one in alternating layers around the cake to form a giant rose. It is a bit time consuming and is not completely symmetrical like the fondant petals from the original cake. But, I think it kind of gives it a homemade vibe that people can appreciate.I went a little heavy with the pictures because it was SO STUNNING. Like… the photos can’t do it justice. I loved even how the slices had petals on them fanning out the back, like a very fancy cape or headdress. I can almost guarantee that you will get “wows” and surprised looks when you bring this cake. It won’t disappoint.
I hope all of you got some sort of recognition of love this Valentine’s Day. If not, I baked this cake for you. 😉

Red Velvet Strawberry Rose Cake

You will need:

1 batch red velvet cake, baked in a dome shape (recipe below)
1 batch vanilla frosting (recipe below)
About ½ pint strawberries, sliced horizontally (enough to cover the area of the cake twice)
1 dozen roses (pesticide-free)

Instructions:

  1. Slice the red velvet cake in half (horizontally), and smooth a thin layer of vanilla frosting.
  2. Layer it with fresh strawberry slices and repeat layer with vanilla frosting and fresh strawberries using frosting to fill in any gaps. (shown in picture #2)
  3. Place the top half of the cake onto the frosting layer and crumb coat the entire cake with a thin layer of frosting. (shown in picture #3)
  4. Put cake in freezer for about 10-15 minutes until the frosting is set and then remove from fridge and give it a full coating. (shown in picture #4)
  5. Pick the flower you will be using as your center flower. Trim and place it in the center of the cake. (shown in picture #5)
  6. Get a few petals and fill in the gaps around the hole. (shown in picture #6)
  7. Now start layering the bottom part of the cake by pressing the petals into the frosting of the cake. Try to press the bottom edge of the petal only. (shown in picture #7)
  8. Try to use the largest petals you have for the bottom layer and go all around the cake. (shown in picture #8)
  9. Layer the next row of petals around the cake. (shown in picture #9)
  10. Try to alternate the position of the petals. As in, try to place the petal of the next layer between two petals of the bottom layer. (shown in picture #10)
  11. Repeat until you get to the center of the cake, try to use smaller petals as you get to the top of the cake. I had to replace some of the lighter petals because the lower petals turned out to be too pink to get a more seamless look. (shown in picture #11)
  12. Get ready to stun the room. 😉

Red Velvet Cake

Ingredients

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups cake flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ tsp. salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
¾ (1 ½ sticks) cup butter, at room temperature
2 ¼ cups granulated white sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ounce bottle of red food coloring (2 Tablespoons)
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons vinegar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F, spray either your bundt pan or the top half of your giant doughnut cake pan with nonstick spray. (I highly suggest using either pam for baking or baker’s joy for extra insurance of “nonstickage”.)
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat butter on medium speed for 30 seconds.
  4. Add sugar and vanilla, and beat until combined.
  5. Add eggs one at a time on medium speed.
  6. Lower speed to low and add in food coloring.
  7. Add ⅓ of flour mixture to the egg mixture on low and add ½ of the buttermilk.
  8. Repeat with ⅓ flour mix and the rest of the buttermilk.
  9. Finish mixing with the rest of the flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
  10. Stir together baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl. Add to cake batter and beat just until combined.
  11. Fill cake pan until ⅔ full, bake 30-40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  12. Cool pan on rack for about 15-20 minutes. Try to use a small spatula around the edges to ensure a clean removal. Remove cake from pan.
  13. Let cool completely.

Vanilla Frosting

Ingredients:

1 c. whole milk
¼ c. flour
¼ tsp. salt
8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. In a saucier pan, put milk, salt and flour and whisk until combined on medium heat.
  2. Continuously whisk mixture until thickened to a pudding like consistency.
  3. Once thickened, strain through a mesh strainer into a bowl with a spatula to remove lumps.
  4. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the flour mixture and put into the fridge until fully cool.
  5. In a mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the sugar and butter on high speed until fluffy and pale about, 5-10 minutes.
  6. Add the chilled flour mixture and continue to whip on high speed until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is no longer gritty, about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Add vanilla extract and mix until combined.

 

Crème Brûlée Cake

Happy New Year! I say this knowing that it already passed 3 weeks since the beginning of 2018. What better way to start a new year than with cake? Admittedly, I made this cake last year, but that doesn’t make it any less delicious!One of my favorite things to do with dessert is trying different versions of an already established dessert. This time it was crème brulee. Did you guys see this video of a dessert shop that specializes in crème brulees? I just want to dip my spoon into every crispy crackly shell that they advertise. I think that’s one of the great things about it, you can add your spin to just about whatever you want.
As usual, I went out of my way to get the best crème brulee cake that I could make. It is filled with crisp sugar shards, caramelized white chocolate ganache and pastry cream. But the one thing I didn’t prepare for was the pastry cream being absorbed by the cake. I highly recommend you eat this cake sooner than later to fully enjoy all the components.Most of the parts of the cake are things I’ve made before, but the caramelized white chocolate was a new technique for me. You essentially bake very good white chocolate on low heat while stirring to transform it into a complex caramel flavor. I first read about it on David Lebovitz’s blog years ago, but never had the chance to make it. Why did it take so long? Well, one of the biggest factors was the cost of the chocolate. Valrhona Ivoire white chocolate is very pricey! I would be extremely sad if it failed. Luckily, I still had some in stock from baking the ultimate mocha cake.So what does caramelized white chocolate taste like? Kind of like dulce de leche but less sweet and a little more milky. Is it worth the trouble? I’m 50/50 on it. I don’t know if I want to use my precious Valrhona on it again. The answer would be definitely if I had a cheaper option to use. (David says not to use the cheap supermarket chocolate.)Aesthetically, there are two parts that love about the cake. The first being the amazing cake topper made by my friend, Carmiña of Sohnmade. Just look at the details on it! The tiny fork and spoon and the cupcake just kill me. I know cake toppers are super popular these days because they jazz up any cake, but I’ve rarely seen one that has so many details. And of course, because she is multi-talented, she also throws wonderful events and does a whole assortment of custom décor. I highly recommend her. The other part that I love is the sugar shards of the cake. I love the stained glass effect it gives off and I can imagine  making different colored ones and doing actual, edible stained glass work. The ones in the recipe have a similar flavor of the crisp sugar shell of crème brulee because you cook sugar until it gets that toasty taste. Win-win.

Crème Brulee Cake
Makes one 6-inch cake

You will need:
1 batch caramelized white chocolate ganache (recipe below)
1 batch vanilla pastry cream (recipe below)
1 batch vanilla buttermilk cake (recipe below)
1 batch vanilla swiss meringue frosting (recipe below)
1 batch sugar shards (recipe below)

Instructions:

  • On a cake board, place one layer of vanilla cake and using an offset spatula, spread a layer of ganache. (picture #1 in photo above)
  • In a piping bag fitted with a plain tip, fill it with some vanilla frosting. Pipe a dam around the outer edge of the cake. This will keep the cream from spilling out of the sides. (picture #2 in photo above)
  • Use an offset spatula to fill with pastry cream. (picture #3 in photo above)
  • Top with small sugar shards. Note: The sugar shards will dissolve over time. It is best to eat sooner than later to experience the full textural effect. (picture #4 in photo above)
  • Repeat the sequence twice, ending with a layer of cake.
  • Cover the cake with a thin layer of vanilla frosting and freeze to firm.
  • Cover the cake fully with vanilla frosting, smoothing out the sides and top as well as you can.
  • Decorate the top and sides with sugar shards.

Caramelized White Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients:
12 oz. highest quality white chocolate you can get your hands on
Pinch of kosher salt
6 – 8 oz. heavy cream

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 250˚F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Chop the white chocolate into pieces and evenly distribute over baking sheet.
  3. Place in oven for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove and stir with a spatula. (The mixture will look lumpy and chalky for a while. Picture #1, #2, #3 in photo above)
  5. Place it back into the oven in 10 minute intervals until chocolate is smooth and caramelized. (picture #4 in photo above)
  6. At this point, if there are small lumps in the chocolate, use a fine mesh strainer and strain. (It will be messy, but worth it.)
  7. Heat the chocolate with 6 oz. heavy cream in the microwave for 1-2 minutes and stir. Let cool.
  8. If the mixture is too thick, add the other 1-2 oz. of heavy cream to thin out. The mixture should be thick enough to spread onto cake but not flow off of it, like nutella.

Vanilla Pastry Cream

Ingredients:

2 c. whole milk
½ c. sugar, divided
2 egg yolks
1 large egg
¼ c. cornstarch
2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract (or if you really want to go fancy, vanilla paste)

Instructions:

  1. In a pot, heat whole milk and ¼ c. sugar and bring to a simmer.
  2. While the milk heats, mix egg yolks, egg, cornstarch and ¼ c. sugar in a medium bowl.
  3. When the milk is hot, use a ladle to slowly drizzle hot milk into the egg mixture while whisking to prevent curdling.
  4. Once all of the milk is introduced into the egg mixture, return all of it back into the pot.
  5. Bring the mixture in the pot to a boil while whisking. When it is thick, remove the pot off the heat.
  6. Add in the butter and vanilla. Once the butter is completely mixed in, move to a bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly against the pastry cream (to prevent a skin from forming). Chill completely, about 2-3 hours, before using.

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake

3 c. cake flour
2 c. sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. kosher salt
1¼ c. buttermilk, divided
8 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
4 eggs, room temperature
2 egg yolks
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F and grease and line four 6-inch cake pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, add flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix until combined.
  3. On low speed, add 1 c. buttermilk and butter and mix until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, egg yolks, ¼ c. buttermilk, and vanilla extract until homogenous.
  5. On low speed, slowly add the egg mixture to the flour mixture.
  6. Increase speed to medium, and mix until combined.
  7. Evenly divide cake batter into the four cake pans.
  8. Bake about 20-25 minutes until cake is done or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, and then move onto a cooling rack until completely cool.

Sugar Shards

Ingredients:
3 c. sugar
½ c. water

Instructions:

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a small pot over medium heat, stir water and sugar together until the sugar dissolves. Stop stirring.
  3. Let the sugar cook until it turns into a caramel color.
  4. Pour out the sugar onto the prepared pans.
  5. Tilt the pans to spread the liquid sugar.
  6. Once the sugar is cooled, break them into shards for decorative use and smaller pieces for the inside of the cake.

Caramelized white chocolate recipe adapted from David Lebovitz.
Pastry cream recipe adapted from All Recipes.
Vanilla buttermilk cake recipe adapted from Sky High Cakes.
Sugar shard recipe and cake inspired by The Cake Blog.
Cake topper by Sohnmade.

S’mores Cookies

Why is s’mores a “summer” thing? Toasted marshmallows and melty chocolate seem more suited for winter, no? Because I like it so much, I decided to go homemade on all the components of it. I’m not knocking on my ol’ standby of Honey Maid graham crackers, Jet-Puffed marshmallows and Hershey’s chocolate, but sometimes a girl’s gotta do some from-scratch projects.
I guess (for most people) the deciding factor boils down to: is it worth it? I won’t lie that the store-bought s’mores are almost as good and are way quicker to make, but do you see the char on that homemade marshmallow? You just can’t get the same toast on a ready-made version. If there was one component of the cookie that is worth making, it would be the marshmallows. The texture and flavor is unbeatable when compared to its commercial counterpart.A couple of notes about making marshmallows: 1) It is very sticky. Do not wrestle with it or try to get every bit out of the mixer. 2) Gelatin smells. When you whip up the gelatin and hot sugar mixture, it will smell awful. It’s hard to explain…but to me, it kind of smells like a farm? (I once took a class in college that required me to take care of a cow. It takes me back to that experience every time.) Either way, it is not a pleasant smell, but it will dissipate when the mixture cools. 3) You NEED a thermometer. There is no way around it. My thermapen might be the most used kitchen gadget and is worth every penny. Please, do not try and buy the $10 thermometers on Amazon. I promise you, you will not regret it.Homemade graham crackers are more flavorful and you can cut them into any shape and thickness that you want. Plus, you know every single ingredient that goes in it. And as for the chocolate coating, you can use way better quality chocolate. Oh! I tried using the sous vide cooker to temper chocolate and I’m not kidding, the best way to do it, EVER. We were having lunch as a group the other day and I was talking smack about my sous vide cooker… how it takes forever, how it’s only good for making steaks. But after this experience, I take it all back. I’m sorry I talked smack about you, I love you forever.
S’mores is one of my favorite cookies because it combines everything I like: crisp cookie, a soft-chewy marshmallow and rich chocolate. So I decided to share it with you guys along with a bunch of other cookies from my very talented blogger friends! Seriously, the list is outrageously delicious. If a recipe stands out to you, please visit and show them some love!

What Should I Make For… – Ugly Sweater Gingerbread Cookies
The Sweet Nerd – Gingerbread Cookies – All Spruced Up
Girl Heart Food – Orange Poppy Seed Shortbread Cookies
The Beach House Kitchen- Hot Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies
Beyond Mere Sustenance – Brandy-Spiked Mexican Hot Chocolate
Seasons & Suppers – Lemon Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
Ciao Chow Bambina – Lemon Drop Italian Cookies
Contemplating Sweets – Hedgehog Cookies
Salt & Lavender – Vegan Gingerbread Cookie Bars
Meg Is Well – Bradshaw Cookies: A Sour Cream Cookie with Cream Cheese Frosting


S’mores Cookies

You will need:

Homemade graham crackers (recipe below)
Homemade marshmallows (recipe below)
8 oz. chocolate, tempered (I used the sous vide method here)
Toppings, optional

Instructions:

  1. Put all the chocolate in a tall container for easier dipping. I used a 2-cup pyrex measuring cup.
  2. Have a sheet pan lined with a parchment paper ready.
  3. Place one square of marshmallow on top of the graham cracker and lower both on an angle so you get a crisp line. Work quickly so your chocolate doesn’t fall out of temper.
  4. Sprinkle the chocolate covered side with any toppings you want. Above, I used nonpareils, freeze dried strawberries, royal icing poinsettias, and flaky salt. The flaky salt looked the least impressive, but tasted the best.
  5. Let set. Toast marshmallow with a kitchen torch before eating for best taste. The chocolate melts a little when you toast the marshmallow, giving you the s’mores effect.

Homemade Graham Crackers

Ingredients:

2 ½ c. plus 2 tbsp. all purpose-flour
1 c. dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. kosher salt
7 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
1/3 c. honey
5 tbsp. whole milk
2 tbsp. vanilla extract

Cinnamon-Sugar Topping:
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, pulse together the flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt.
  2. Add in the chunks of frozen butter and pulse until the mixture looks very crumbly, or a coarse meal.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the honey, milk and vanilla extract and add it to the flour mixture.
  4. Pulse the mixture until the dough barely comes together. Do not over process, the cookies will become tough.
  5. Wrap the dough in a large piece of plastic wrap. The dough will be sticky, so try to avoid using your hands and use the sides of the plastic wrap to form the dough into a large rectangle. Refrigerate the dough for two hours, or overnight.
  6. Take the dough out and divide it in half, refrigerate the half that you are not using.
  7. Roll out the dough (remember, the dough is sticky, so use flour as needed) about ⅛ inch thick, and use a square 2 ½ inch cutter to cut out squares.
  8. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  9. Take the thicker end of a skewer and poke nine holes in each square, like a cracker.
  10. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and ground cinnamon for the topping.
  11. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with the topping and refrigerate for about 30-45 minutes until firm. Repeat with the remaining dough. Once you cut out all the squares, put the scraps together and re-roll and cut out more squares.
  12. Preheat the oven to 350˚F and bake the cookies about 10-15 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown.

Homemade Marshmallows

Ingredients:

3 envelopes of unflavored gelatin
1 c. ice cold water, divided
1 ½ c. sugar
1 c. light corn syrup
¼ tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp, vanilla extract
¼ c. powdered sugar
¼ c. cornstarch

Instructions:

  1. Place the gelatin into a bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add ½ c. ice water and let bloom.
  2. In a small pot either fitted with a candy thermometer (or not, if you’re using an instant-read thermometer), combine ½ c. water, sugar, corn syrup and salt.
  3. Heat mixture over medium high heat and cook until the mixture hits 240˚F, which should take about 6-8 minutes depending on the type of pot you used and the heat of the stove.
  4. Once the mixture hits 240˚F, take it off the heat and start your mixer on low speed.
  5. Add the hot sugar to the gelatin mixture slowly, avoid hitting the whisk.
  6. Once all of the sugar is mixed in gradually raise the speed of the mixer to high.
  7. Mix for about 12-15 minutes, or until the side of the bowl is luke warm and the mixture becomes very thick. Add in the vanilla in the last minute of mixing, taking care to lower the speed while you add it in, so you don’t fling extract everywhere (like I did. Ha!).
  8. Prepare an 8×8 pan, with high sides (at least 2 inches), by spraying the inside with nonstick spray and lining the inside with parchment paper.
  9. Spread the sugar mixture into the 8×8 pan using a silicone spatula also sprayed with nonstick spray. Try to smooth it down the best you can.
  10. In a small bowl, mix the powdered sugar and cornstarch together. Use a mesh strainer to dust the top of the marshmallow mixture and wrap with plastic wrap overnight to cool and set. Save the rest of the powdered sugar mixture for the next day.
  11. When the marshmallow is set, overturn it on a cutting board dusted with the powdered sugar mixture.
  12. Use a 2 ½ in. square cutter to cut out squares of marshmallows. Dust the cutter with the powdered sugar to avoid sticking.
  13. Store in an airtight container.

Graham cracker recipe adapted from the smitten kitchen.
Marshmallow recipe adapted from the food network.

Ranunculus Cake with Sweet Potato Pastry Cream

I’ve been kind of obsessed with flower everything on my cakes these days. Real or buttercream, I love them all. I actually made this cake back in May, and by the time I got to editing photos it was the peak of summer.  And because the filling is sweet potato pastry cream, it just didn’t go with the season. But now that it is on the cusp of fall, I feel like it’s appropriate to post this. (Although, personally, this is my favorite pastry cream of all time and I love it any time of the year.)
The star of this cake is the sweet potato, but not the orange fleshed kind but the purple skinned, yellow fleshed kind. This type of sweet potato is popular in Korean desserts and tastes similar to a roasted chestnut. In the past, I’ve also featured this type of sweet potato in this post: Mini Green Tea Cake.
If you’ve never made pastry cream before, my advice for you is to go slow with pouring the hot milk into the egg mixture, as in a slow drizzle, not a pour. You want to avoid curdling at all costs. But if you do it right, man oh man is it worth it. Gone are the days of powdered mixes. You will never look back. Fill it between your favorite vanilla cake and watch the compliments roll.
As for the decoration, I’ve always loved ranunculus and decided to try to pipe it. It is easier than It looks but is quite time consuming to pipe each flower, especially since they have so many petals. Here are the steps to pipe the flower:

  1. Cut out many squares of parchment or wax paper. You will use one square per flower. (I usually cut mine around 3×3 inches.)
  2. With a flower nail in your hand, pipe a small amount of frosting onto the center of it. (As shown in Photo 2.)
  3. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the frosting. (As shown in Photo 3.)
  4. Using a small round tip (wilton #2 or #3), pipe a small amount of green frosting in the center of the flower nail in a round, circular shape. (As shown in Photo 4.)
  5. In a piping bag filled with light green frosting and fitted with a petal tip with the wider side facing the flower nail (wilton #102, or larger pending on the size of the flower you want to pipe), pipe a square around the circle, overlapping each other on the ends. (As shown in Photo 5.)
  6. In a piping bag filled with light pink frosting and fitted with a petal tip with the wider side facing the flower nail (wilton #104, or larger pending on the size of the flower you want to pipe), pipe 5 dashes around the light green square overlapping the ends. (As shown in Photo 6.)
  7. Using the same piping bag, pipe 6 dashes around the pink circle. You want to show a little bit of the circle beforehand to create an illusion of overlapping petals. (As shown in Photo 7.)
  8. Continue piping dashes along the outer edge of the flower, increasing the number of dashes by 1 until you reach the size of the flower you desire. (As shown in Photo 8.)

I hope you try it soon! I know it’s been a while I’ve missed you!

Sweet Potato Pastry Cream

Ingredients:

3 medium sized Korean sweet potatoes, roasted and peeled.
2 c. whole milk
½ c. sugar, divided
2 egg yolks
1 egg, large
¼ c. cornstarch
a pinch of kosher salt
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. In a food processor, mix the sweet potatoes until a smooth puree forms. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, whisk the milk and ¼ c. of sugar and heat until the milk boils.
  3. While the milk heats, grab a medium bowl and whisk together the egg yolks, egg, ¼ c. sugar, cornstarch and the salt until smooth.
  4. Once the milk is heated, slowly drizzle in the milk mixture into the egg mixture with one hand while whisking the egg mixture with the other. Once the milk is completely incorporated into the egg mix, return the entire mixture into the saucepan.
  5. Heat the saucepan while whisking until the mixture becomes thickened like pudding.
  6. Take it off the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla extract.
  7. Mix the sweet potato with the pastry cream until homogenous.
  8. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the pastry cream and refrigerate until cool and set. (about 4 hours, or overnight)

The Best Edible Cookie Dough

I’ve been in a motivational slump lately. Creative juices are at their all-time low, and laziness has taken over my life. It’s not like I don’t have content to share with you, but parking myself in front of the computer and writing a post seemed so pointless and boring I just didn’t have the heart to write. Anyway, I’m working on moving past the slump and onto a more productive track.
These mini cupcakes are vanilla cupcakes that I made from leftover wedding cake batter (a post on that soon) and are topped with a scoop of (what I think) is the best cookie dough, homemade magic shell and flaky salt. While all the parts of the cupcake are delicious, the star of this particular recipe is the cookie dough. What I think makes this cookie dough better others is a key step: toasting the flour.
Did you know that ingesting raw flour can cause foodborne illnesses such as E.coli and Salmonella? I know. I was surprised too. Toasting the flour not only makes it safe to consume, but it also gives the cookie dough a delicious nutty flavor that cuts down the sweetness of the cookie dough too.
Other than toasting the flour, you would need some great quality chocolate chips. Artisan Kettle happened to send me some bags to work with, and they were delicious. I’ve really tried about every brand of chocolate out there, and for the price point, they’re hard to beat. Bonus, they’re organic, fair-trade and gluten free. It’s simple to make and so so easy. I happened to make the cupcakes because I had them on hand, but you can always just make a jar of cookie dough and store it in the fridge for a cold scoop able treat.

The Best Edible Cookie Dough

Recipe for cake can be found here: Strawberry Ombre Cake

Ingredients:

¾ c. all-purpose flour
½ c. butter, softened
⅓ c. sugar
2 tbsp. heavy cream
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ c. milk chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line a small sheet pan with aluminum foil.
  2. Spread flour evenly on the sheet pan and toast in oven for about 10 minutes, or until the flour is lightly browned and smells nutty.
  3. 5 minutes into baking, stir the flour to toast it evenly.
  4. Remove and cool flour before use, about 10 minutes.
  5. In a medium bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
  6. Add the sugar, cream and salt and mix until combined.
  7. Add flour and mix until combined.
  8. Fold in chocolate chips. Either scoop on top of mini cupcakes or store in fridge for easy snacking.

Recipe adapted from espresso and cream.

2016: A Year Recap

This was my #1 post this year.
This was my #1 post this year.

I’m not sorry to see 2016 go. I kind of felt like it could be salvaged until Carrie Fisher died. That kind of gave it the nail in the coffin. It was as if 2016 was saying, “Sayonara, sucker!” while waving a rude gesture. I’m not quite looking forward to 2017 either, the exception being that I am looking forward to creating more projects for you and sharing this and that about my life (hopefully good news, and not bad). By the way, I did finish the holiday cake I was raving about in my last post. Unfortunately, I came down with a severe case of sinusitis and I couldn’t work on the actual post. I think I will save it for 2017. (Side note: I hope unicorns are still relevant by this point next year.)

top posts 2016

Here are the top 10 posts from this year:

  1. Lucky Charms Cake (featured in beginning of post)
  2. Blueberry Cruffins (Croissant + Muffin)
  3. Paw Patrol Cake
  4. Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf with Brown Sugar Ketchup Glaze
  5. Red Velvet Rose Pavlova
  6. Strawberry Ombre Cake
  7. Conversation Heart Macarons with Vanilla Elderflower Frosting
  8. Croquembouche with Vanilla Orange Blossom Pastry Cream
  9. Star Wars Mini Doughnuts – Part 1 & 2
  10. Calcifer Meringues

As always, thank you for sticking with me. I mean every word of it.

Gold Pineapple Cake with (Real) Pineapple Buttercream

gold pineappleThis year of blogging seems to be a year of making things that are out of my comfort zone, like the blueberry cruffins or the croquembouche. I used to steer away from projects that looked too difficult or time consuming, but this year I feel like the challenge just spurs me on. When I first saw this gold pineapple cake from adorn cakes, I thought it would be just something I would bookmark and never look back on. But when someone special to you loves pineapples, you make the prettiest pineapple cake that you can. (Seriously, he loves pineapples. One of the first things he ever said to me was, ” I love pineapples.” Kinda strange, I know.)
gold gum paste leavespineapple leavesI would gladly sit here and name off all the steps on the how-to on making this cake, but Aleta already did such a great job, that I’m just going to share the links with you.
YouTube link on how to build the outside of the cake.
Facebook link on how she made the top of the pineapple.gold leavestiny cakeHere are some things I’ve noted while making this cake:

  1. It is time consuming. You need at least two days for this project. You will need one full day to shape, cut, wire, dry out and paint the leaves. It is probably a safe bet to bake the cake the day before too.
  2. Aleta uses modeling chocolate for her cake and so I ordered some. I’ve never worked with modeling chocolate before, and now I understand that it is a very soft medium. If I were to ever tackle this project again, I would use 50% (maybe even 25%) modeling chocolate and the rest fondant.
  3. I made a very small cake. A cake size that I usually use to make smash cakes and I nearly used the entire 2 g. jar of gold powder.
  4. A manicure scissor is really useful for cutting the tiny triangles on the cake.
  5. If you don’t have the green molding tool that is used on the video, just take your bladed molding tool and make three small lines in each pineapple diamond. It will mimic the effect pretty well

modeling chocolate cakegolden pineappleYes, the outside of the cake is important but what about the inside? I couldn’t have a pineapple cake that didn’t have a pineapple filling, so I filled it with a pineapple frosting. I’m a firm believer in using real fruit in all of my fruit flavored frosting so, the pineapple was a challenge. As you know, pineapples are juicy and I could not risk a runny frosting for a cake that required a lot of time sitting at room temperature. So, I solved my problem by using freeze dried pineapples.
golden pineapple cakegold pineappleFreeze dried fruit is an ingenious way to incorporate real fruit into your frosting without increasing the liquid content. I ordered my bag off of amazon and used the whole thing for the 4 inch cake. The resulting frosting had a pineapple tang and complemented the vanilla cake well. It was an expensive cake to make with the modeling chocolate, pineapples, gumpaste, and some extra tools I needed to buy, but well worth the effort. I mean look at it, it’s SO. GOLD.
gold pineapple fondant cakeReal Pineapple Buttercream
For a 4-in. cake

Ingredients:

¼ c. sugar
1 large egg white
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
1.5 oz. freeze dried pineapple

Instructions:

  1. Put dried pineapple chunks into a dry blender, and blend until a very fine powder forms. Set aside.
  2. Bring a small pot filled with about 1 inch of water to a simmer.
  3. Whisk egg white and sugar together in the bowl of your standing mixer.
  4. Place the bowl on top of the small pot and continue whisking the egg whites until you cannot feel the granules between your fingers.
  5. Move the bowl to the standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whip until the mixture becomes fluffy and doubles in size.
  6. Add the butter and continue whipping until a smooth buttercream forms.
  7. Add in ¾ of the pineapple powder and mix until well combined.
  8. Taste and add the rest of the powder if desired.

Buttercream recipe adapted from smitten kitchen.

Paw Patrol Cake (A How-To Guide)

paw patrol cakeI rarely ever take cake orders in the summer, not since the cake fiasco of 2015. On a hot summer day, I made a two-tiered cake with an assortment of fondant animals that took hours to create. It was too large to refrigerate so we had it sitting at room temperature until it was ready to be delivered. Right when we were about to move it, there was a strange buckling around the edge of the cake. We kept calm and moved it to the car, which even after having the AC on for 30 minutes was not cool, but warm. During the 30-minute ride to our destination, the buckling worsened and the fondant pieces started to warp with the frosting. By the time we got there, the cake looked like the Michelin Man’s arm. It sucked that all my hours of work went down the drain, but it was even worse that I ruined someone’s event. That’s the thing about cakes; they are usually the centerpieces of celebrations and can make or break a party. Since then, I’ve turned down any requests for a cake in the summer. Not because I didn’t want to do it, but more so because I was worried about ruining someone else’s big day.
paw patrol cakeWhen my sister approached me about making a cake, my gut reaction was, “No.” After hearing my reasons, she said that it didn’t matter if the cake was perfect and that her friends were just grateful that I would do it. Knowing that perfection wasn’t what they were after took a load off my back, but that didn’t mean that I would try any less.
how to make paw patrol logoThere is a very popular Pinterest picture of a dog bone shaped Paw Patrol cake (this was the photo I was asked to recreate), but it has no information on the dimensions and how to put it together. And after scouring the internet for information, I decided to make a guide on how to put a cake like this together. Like many of my projects, it is not very difficult, but it is time consuming. I think the overall effect is worth it and even more worth it to see the smiles on kids’ faces.
how to make a paw patrol cakeInstead of using fondant for all of the Paw Patrol logo, I used Wilton’s sugar sheets. It is much more stable for hot and humid weather and it’s great for crisp edges. It is important to have a fresh Xacto knife blade. You want the edges to be super crisp. Almost like you printed the logo onto the cake. I did make a fondant base for the logo so that the logo would not be flat against the cake like paper. Other than that, it’s making a lot of paw prints, which looks simple but it ends up taking more time than anticipated because for every paw print there are 4 parts to be made. This cake has approximately 50 paw prints.
paw patrol cake The most difficult part about the cake part is covering the cake with frosting. There are many circles and lines and it took a while to get the crisp edges. But then again, it might be because I’m a novice at frosting untraditional cake shapes. I’m not complaining, it’s always fun to stretch beyond my comfort zone and try new things.

Paw Patrol Cake

For the Paw Patrol Logo:

You will need:

white fondant
wilton’s sugar sheets in white, red, blue, yellow and silver
silver pearl dust
xacto knife
scissors
water
vodka
small paintbrush (food use only)
paw patrol logo, cut out of paper
paw patrol outer stencil, cut out of paper
paw patrol inner stencil, cut out of paper

Instructions,

  1. Roll out the fondant to ¼ inch thickness and place the paw patrol outer stencil on top of it. Using the xacto knife, cut out the fondant to the shape of the shield. (As shown in picture #1)
  2. Place the outer stencil on top of a silver sugar sheet and cut out a piece of the sugar sheet large enough for the stencil. Peel off the plastic backing. Cut out the shape of the outer stencil with the xacto knife. (As shown in picture #2)
  3. Using the paintbrush, paint a small amount of water on top of the white fondant and stick the silver sugar sheet cutout on top of it. (As shown in picture #3)
  4. Place the inner stencil on top of a red sugar sheet and cut out a piece of the sugar sheet large enough for the stencil. Peel off the plastic backing, Cut out the shape of the inner stencil with the xacto knife. (As shown in picture #4)
  5. Using the paintbrush, paint a small amount of water on top of the silver sugar sheet and stick the red sugar sheet cutout on top of it. (As shown in picture #5)
  6. Cut out the “PAW” from the paw patrol logo, remembering to keep the yellow border. (As shown in picture #6)
  7. Place the “PAW” letters on top of a yellow sugar sheet and cut out a piece of the sugar sheet large enough for the letters. Peel off the plastic backing. Cut out the “PAW” with the xacto knife. (As shown in picture #7)
  8. Cut out the yellow border of the “PAW” from the paw patrol logo.
  9. Place the “PAW” letters on top of a blue sugar sheet and cut out a piece of the sugar sheet large enough for the letters. Peel off the plastic backing. Cut out the “PAW” with the xacto knife.
  10. Using the paintbrush, paint a small amount of water on the back of the blue “PAW” and stick it onto the yellow “PAW”. (As shown in picture #8)
  11. Cut out the white paw in the middle of the “A” from the paw patrol logo.
  12. Place the paw print on top of a white sugar sheet and cut out a piece of the sugar sheet large enough for the paw print. Peel off the plastic backing. Cut out the paw print with the xacto knife.
  13. Using the paintbrush, paint a small amount of water on the back of the paw print and stick it onto the middle of the “A”. (As shown in picture #8)
  14. Cut out the white bone from the paw patrol logo.
  15. Place the bone on top of a white sugar sheet and cut out a piece of the sugar sheet large enough for the bone. Peel off the plastic backing. Cut out the bone with the xacto knife.
  16. Place the bone on top of a blue sugar sheet and cut out a piece of the sugar sheet large enough for the bone. Peel off the plastic backing. Cut out the “PATROL” letters with the xacto knife.
  17. Using the paintbrush, paint a small amount of water on the back of the blue letters and stick it onto the white bone. (As shown in picture #9)
  18. Center the “PAW” onto the shield and make sure you know where you want to place it before painting a small amount of water on the back of the letters to place it onto the shield. (As shown in picture #10)
  19. Center the white patrol bone under the “PAW” and make sure you know where you want to place it before painting a small amount of water on the back of the bone to place it onto the shield. (As shown in picture #10)
  20. Mix a small amount of vodka with the silver dust to create a thick silver paint. Brush the silver on the silver shield border to give it a metallic look. Let dry. (As shown in picture #11)

For the Bone Shaped Cake

You will need:

2 batches of vanilla buttermilk cake (recipe below)
1 batch of chocolate frosting (recipe below)
1 batch of vanilla swiss meringue frosting (recipe below)
fondant paw prints (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Cut all the 6-inch cake layers in half. Cut one of the halves into quarters.
  2. Cut a 2 inch strip from both of the 9×13 cake layers. You want to cut the width side of the cake (the long side, not the short side). You will be left with two 7×13 cake layers.
  3. Center one 7×13 cake layer on top of a sheet cake sized cake board. (As shown in picture #1)
  4. Use ¾ of each 6-inch cake layer on three corners to form the circular part of the dog bone. Use three ¼ sections left from the 6-inch cake layer to form the fourth corner of the dogbone. (As shown in picture #1)
  5. Spread a generous layer of the chocolate frosting.
  6. Repeat the same method to the second layer of the cake. (As shown in picture #2)
  7. Crumb coat with the remaining chocolate frosting, remembering to fill in any gaps between the 7×13 cake layer and the 6-inch cake layers. (As shown in picture #3)
  8. Let the cake set in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
  9. Remove the cake from the freezer and spread one layer of the vanilla frosting. Trying to cover up the chocolate as well as you can.
  10. Let the cake set in freezer for about 10 minutes.
  11. Remove the cake from the freezer and smooth on the second layer of vanilla frosting. Try to make it as smooth as you possibly can. This will be your final layer. (As shown in picture #4)
  12. Place the Paw Patrol logo in the center. If you made fondant paw prints, now is the time to place it on the cake. (As shown in picture #5)

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake
(This will make three 6-inch round layers and one 9×13 layer. You will need two batches of this.)

Ingredients:

450 g. cake flour
500 g. sugar
1 tbsp + 1 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. kosher salt
5 whole eggs, room temperature
3 egg yolks, room temperature
1 ¼  + ⅓ c. buttermilk, room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 ¼ c. (two and a half sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare one 9×13 baking pan and three 6-inch round cake pans for baking by spraying them with nonstick spray and lining the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and kosher salt on low speed.
  3. Add in the butter and 1 ¼ c. buttermilk into the flour mixture on low speed. Scrape down the side of the bowl.
  4. In a large cup with a spout, mix the eggs, egg yolks, ⅓ buttermilk and vanilla extract with a whisk. Slowly add the egg mixture into the flour mixture.
  5. Scrape down the side of the bowl and mix on low speed again until well combined.
  6. Divide the batter evenly amongst the four pans, making sure that the three 6-in pans are even.
  7. Bake about 15-20 minutes until cake is golden brown or a toothpick inserted comes out clean. The 6-inch cake pans and the 9×13 pan will have different cook times. Make sure you check both to make sure one doesn’t overbake.

Chocolate Frosting

Ingredients:
9 oz. good quality dark chocolate, melted and cooled (The darker the better. Emphasis on good quality.)
400 g. confectioner’s sugar
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp. kosher salt
½ c. heavy cream
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Place all the ingredients in the food processor and pulse a few times before processing it until the frosting is smooth.
  2. Put the whole bowl in the freezer until the frosting sets. Similar to a ganache, the frosting will become more firm and easier to handle after about 10-15 minutes in the freezer.

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Ingredients:
400 g. sugar
8 large egg whites
3 ¼ c. (6 ½ sticks) unsalted butter
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. kosher salt

Instructions:

  1. Bring a small pot filled with about an inch of water to a simmer.
  2. In a bowl of a standing mixer, whisk the egg whites, sugar, and salt together.
  3. Place the bowl on top of the pot and whisk continuously until the mixture becomes slightly foamy and you cannot feel the grittiness of the sugar, about 5-8 minutes. The mixture will be hot. Be careful.
  4. Move the bowl to the standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip the egg mixture until the bowl feels cool to the touch.
  5. Add in the butter, and continue to whip until a smooth buttercream forms.
  6. Add in the vanilla extract and continue to whip until incorporated.

Cake and chocolate frosting adapted from sweetapolita.
Swiss meringue frosting adapted from the smitten kitchen.

Star Wars Mini Doughnuts – Part I: Stormtroopers & Ewoks

star wars doughnutsWell it’s here, Star Wars Day! Every year I try to make some sort of Star Wars themed food to celebrate Star Wars Day. In case you didn’t know, it’s on May 4th because it plays on the phrase, “May the force be with you”. Get it? Like “May the Fourth be with you?” What I love the most about Star Wars is how it is intergenerational and timeless. Plus, there are so many characters and worlds that it’s hard to become bored with the series.
doughnutsAfter talking about hybrid food that involves doughnuts in my last post, I could not get them out of my head. But of course I couldn’t just make regular doughnuts; I had to try my hand at decorating doughnuts. To make them even cuter, I went down a size to mini doughnuts. It was tough to figure out which characters to do because there are so many to choose from, but I decided to go with the classics: Yoda, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, Stormtroopers and Ewoks.
ombre doughnutsI think if the doughnuts were bigger, it would’ve been easier to do the details but since they were tiny, it was pretty time consuming to do everything. I was working with teeny tiny holes in my piping bag that kept clogging up with chocolate that hardened too quickly and tiny black pearl eyes that wouldn’t stay on the faces. And because they have more detail than I originally expected, I’m breaking up the post into two parts: a how to of Stormtroopers and Ewoks on this one, and Princess Leia, Yoda and Chewbacca on the next one.
how to make stormtrooper doughnutsThe doughnut recipe I used tastes like a classic old fashioned doughnut thanks to the ground nutmeg. Fresh ground nutmeg is key here. As someone who is guilty of buying a whole jar of spice for one recipe and then never touching it again for years, I highly recommend you buy the nutmeg whole since it will last you pretty much forever (as long as you keep it in a cool, dry place). storm trooper donutsThe recipe I used will make a small batch, so small that you can use a simple hand held mixer for it. Oh, and remember not to overfill your pan or your doughnut will not look like a doughnut. It will look more like a tiny bunt cake. Once they’re covered in chocolate, they taste like the highly addictive Pop’ems. They’re addictive and so easy to eat, it’s a little dangerous.
how to make ewok doughnutsDisposable piping bags and plastic cups are your best friends for this project, especially if you plan on tackling more than two characters in one time. Melted chocolate is so annoying to clean off, it’s just not worth the pain if you have to wash off more than 6 colors worth of bowls. The part of me that cares about the environment did cry a little, but in the end laziness and convenience won out. 🙂
ewok donuts

Here are some other Star Wars posts that I’ve done:
BB-8 Cake Pops
Star Wars Rebel Party
Star Wars Day 2014

Star Wars Mini Doughnuts – Part I: Stormtroopers & Ewoks

For the Stormtrooper Doughnuts:

You will need:

mini doughnuts (recipe below)
white candy melts
black candy melts
silver dragées

Instructions:

  1. Melt white candy melts in a small cup, or a bowl.
  2. Dip one side of doughnut into the melted candy melt. (as shown in picture #1)
  3. Place two small dots of black candy melt on the bottom half of the doughnut. (as shown in picture #2)
  4. Before the black candy melt sets, put two small silver dragees on it. (as shown in picture #3)
  5. Draw a thin horizontal line in the middle of the doughnut with the black candy melt. (as shown in picture #4)
  6. Draw a black thin horizontal line on the top of the doughnut, about an eight of the way down. (as shown in picture #5)
  7. Draw two black semi circles below the black top line. (as shown in picture #6)
  8. Draw a small black triangle in between the two semi circles. (as shown in picture #7)
  9. Mix a little of the black candy melt into the white candy melt to make a gray candy melt.
  10. Place two stripes on either side of the doughnut. (as shown in picture #8)
  11. Place two small dots on either side of the small triangle. (as shown in picture #9)

For the Ewok Doughnuts:

You will need:

mini doughnuts (recipe below)
light brown candy melts
orange candy melts
brown candy melts
black pearls
gray candy melts

Instructions:

  1. Dip the top half of the doughnut into a cup/bowl of melted light brown candy melt. (as shown in picture #1)
  2. Once the light brown candy melt sets, dip the bottom half of the doughnut into a cup/bowl of melted orange candy melt. (as shown in picture #1)
  3. Once the orange candy melt sets, dip the outer top half of the doughnut into melted orange candy melt. (as shown in picture #2)
  4. Pipe a small round of brown candy melt in the center of the top of the doughnut. (as shown in picture #2)
  5. While the candy melt sets, pipe small round dots of brown candy melt on parchment paper.
  6. Attach the small brown dots to the top of the doughnut. (as shown in picture #3)
  7. Place two small dots of brown candy melts and place two black pearls (as shown in picture #4)
  8. Pipe one long curve and three short lines along the curve with gray candy melt. (as shown in picture #5)

Classic Baked Doughnut Recipe
makes about 3 dozen mini doughnuts

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
¼ c. granulated sugar
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1 large egg
¾ tsp. baking powder
⅛ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 ⅓ c. all-purpose flour
½ c. whole milk

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven 350˚F. Spray non-stick cooking spray on your mini doughnut pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whip butter, vegetable oil, and both sugars with a hand-held mixer until smooth.
  3. Mix in egg and milk until completely combined.
  4. Stir in baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt and vanilla.
  5. Stir in flour until smooth, do not over mix.
  6. In a piping bag, fitted with a medium round tip, fill each doughnut cavity about ½ full.
  7. Bake 5-7 minutes until the doughnuts spring back when you touch it. Do not wait until the doughnut is golden brown, you will over bake it.
  8. Let cool in pan about 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to completely cool.
  9. Repeat steps 6-8 until all of the batter is used.

Doughnut recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour.

Jackson Pollock Macarons

Jackson Pollock MacaronsThere is a store called “Marbles: The Brain Store” in my local mall. As the name suggests, the store mainly sells puzzles and games that exercise your brain. I ended up stopping by a few years ago with my friends and while we were browsing, we noticed a display of various puzzles. When one of us picked up a jigsaw puzzle of Jackson Pollock’s Convergence, a store clerk leaned over to us and commented, “I’ve never seen anyone complete it.” Of course after a comment like that, we HAD to take it home and try to solve it. A few years later, it’s still incomplete and sitting in my room.Jackson Pollock MacaronsJackson Pollock MacaronsThese macarons are inspired by my incomplete puzzle. I’ve done paint strokes on my macarons before and the difference between the strokes and the splatters is the amount of liquid you add to the food coloring. In order to make your splatters look imperfect and messy, you need to dilute your gel food coloring with a generous dose of vodka.Jackson Pollock MacaronsJackson Pollock Macarons Jackson Pollock Macarons Jackson Pollock MacaronsJackson Pollock Macarons Jackson Pollock MacaronsI’ve done the splatters two ways, and I believe it works the best when you arrange your macarons side by side as if you’re creating a blank canvas for a painting. If you leave the gaps in between the macarons like my first try, you’ll miss the trail of paint that makes it look so convincing and similar to Pollock’s work. I absolutely love the effect that it makes. Try to get a small bit of each color on every macaron so that when you get the full effect for each macaron.
Jackson Pollock MacaronsJackson Pollock MacaronsAs fun as it is to splatter food coloring everywhere, I will leave you with a word of warning. The food coloring will get everywhere. It will get on your counter, on your clothes, and on your skin. My best advice is to lay a layer of paper towels on your work surface and wear an apron before you start. Now go satisfy your inner artist and have fun.Jackson Pollock MacaronsJackson Pollock Macarons

Jackson Pollock Macarons

You will need:

1 batch of vanilla macarons (recipe below)
1 batch vanilla frosting (recipe below)
red gel food coloring
yellow gel food coloring
blue gel food coloring
black gel food coloring
vodka

Instructions:

  1. Cover your work surface with a layer of paper towels.
  2. Arrange your unfilled macaron shells closely in a square/rectangular shape.
  3. In four plastic cups, place a few drops of gel food coloring in each cup.
  4. Dilute each color with a tablespoon of vodka and mix until your desired color is reached.
  5. Using a clean, food use only paint brush, saturate your brush with the yellow paint and use a flicking motion with your wrist to create a splatter pattern on your macarons.
  6. Once done, thoroughly clean your brush with water and dry as well as you can with a paper towel before repeating step 5 with a different color.
  7. Let macarons dry completely before filling and sandwiching them with your vanilla frosting.

Vanilla Macarons

Ingredients:

212 g. almond meal
212 g. powdered sugar
172 g. egg whites, divided to 82 g. and 90 g
236 g. sugar
158 g. water

Instructions:

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, add the almond meal and powdered sugar and pulse until thoroughly combined.
  3. Sift the mixture over a large mixing bowl, throwing out the lumps as they appear.  Add 82 g. of the egg whites and stir until you get a thick mixture.
  4. In a small pot attached with a candy thermometer, combine the sugar and water over medium heat and boil until the syrup reaches 200˚F.
  5. Once the syrup reaches 200˚F, start whipping the remaining 90 g. in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment on medium speed until soft peaks are reached.
  6. Once the syrup reaches 248 degrees, remove the pot off the burner and slowly pour the syrup down the side of the mixing bowl with the egg whites on medium speed.
  7. Once the egg whites are fully incorporated, increase the speed to medium high until egg whites form glossy, stiff peaks
  8. Mix a ⅓ of the egg white mix to the almond mixture and stir together until the batter is slightly lighter and less pasty.  From then on, fold in ⅓ of the egg white mixture at a time until the mixture “flows like magma”.  The mixture should be smooth and run thick ribbons off the spatula.
  9. With a pastry bag fitted with a ½ in. plain tip, pipe 1¼ – 1½ in. rounds.
  10. The piped batter may have peaks but should smooth away in a minute or two.  Let the batter stand until the tops of the macaron batter are dry to the touch, about 30 mins to 1 hour.
  11. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
  12. Once you place the macarons in the oven, reduce the heat to 275˚F. Bake 10-13 minutes, until the feet are formed and the tops are smooth.  The macarons are done when you slightly wiggle them and they start to come off of the parchment paper / silicone mat.
  13. Once you remove the macarons, reheat the oven to 350˚F for ten minutes before baking another pan of macarons at 275˚F.
  14. Let cool and fill.

Vanilla Frosting

Ingredients:

1 c. whole milk
¼ c. flour
a pinch of salt
8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. In a saucier pan, put milk, salt and flour and whisk until combined on medium heat.
  2. Continuously whisk mixture until thickened to a pudding like consistency.
  3. Once thickened, strain through a mesh strainer into a bowl with a spatula to remove lumps.
  4. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the flour mixture and put into the fridge until fully cool.
  5. In a mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the sugar and butter on high speed until fluffy and pale about, 5-10 minutes.
  6. Add the chilled flour mixture and continue to whip on high speed until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is no longer gritty, about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Add the vanilla extract and mix until combined.