Croquembouche with Vanilla Orange Blossom Pastry Cream

Croquembouche with Vanilla Orange Blossom Pastry CreamThere are a few things every experienced baker thinks of trying in their lifetime. They are recipes that are known to be notoriously finicky and difficult, usually French. The kind of desserts you buy at the bakery because it’s not worth the trouble making in your own kitchen. One of these recipes is the croquembouche. In fact, if you google “difficult desserts to make”, the croquembouche makes the list almost every time.
pate a choux cream puffsSo what is a croquembouche? I would describe it as a tower of caramelized cream puffs, held together only by caramel and covered by delicate sugar threads. It’s definitely looks impressive and I can see why some people would choose one over a traditional wedding cake. Plus, that crunch of the caramel over the cream puff is really delicious. Almost like a crème brûlée wrapped up in a cream puff.
ombre cream puffsThis was a trial run that I did before a friend’s bridal shower and I learned that it takes a lot of time if you try to do it all in one day. What I did learn was that it’s not very difficult if you divide the work between three days. If you make the pastry cream two days before, and bake the cream puffs the day before and fill, dip and assemble it the day of, it is quite manageable in a decent amount of time. Here are my thoughts on the process:
croqeumbouche1) I think the most difficult/scary part of making this is the hot caramel. I am not embarrassed to admit that I burned my fingers a few times while making this. Have a bowl of ice water on hand just in case you do burn yourself. Your gut reaction may be to put the finger in your mouth to cool it (at least mine was), but that will not help the burn. Take your time when dipping the creampuff into the caramel, and if the cream puff gets stuck in the sugar, then use a spoon to fish it out. DO NOT attempt to take it out using your fingers. This is not something that can be done in a hurry, so make sure you have plenty of time before doing this step.
croqeumbouche2) No matter how carefully and evenly you try to pipe the pâte à choux (the cream puff batter), you will end up with unique looking cream puffs. At first, you may be disappointed, but the funny shapes come in handy later on when you’re assembling the croquembouche. It becomes kind of like a game of Tetris, where you try to find that perfect piece to fit that nook.
croqeumbouche3) The most fun part is making the sugar threads. When the caramel is somewhat cool, you take your fork and spin it around the croquembouche making a fine web of sugar strings. It makes you feel like a spider and you can do as much or as little as you like.
croqeumbouche4) I tried to put fondant flowers on it and realized it was not worth it. The fine sugar threads harden as soon as they touch the cream puffs and there is no way for the fondant to stick to it. I just wedged it in between the gaps that were created. I wouldn’t recommend trying it. It wasn’t worth the work.

Croquembouche with Vanilla Orange Blossom Pastry Cream
Makes 1 medium-sized croquembouche

For the pâte à choux:

Ingredients:
1 c. water
4 oz. (1 stick) unsalted butter
½ tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. granulated sugar
1 c. all-purpose flour
4-5 large eggs, plus an extra egg for the egg wash

Instructions:

  1. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 425˚F.
  2. In a large saucepan, bring the water, butter, salt, and sugar to a boil.
  3. Once the mixture reaches a boil, remove pan from heat and dump in flour at once and quickly stir with a wooden spoon.
  4. Once all the flour is incorporated, return the pan to the heat and cook the mixture for 30-60 seconds by continuing to stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until a thin film forms on the bottom of the pan.
  5. Move the dough into a mixing bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix for about 1-3 minutes until the dough is cool enough for you to stick your finger in. After that point, add 4 eggs, one at a time until incorporated. If the dough does not fall off the paddle in a “V” shape, add the fifth egg.
  6. In a pastry bag fitted with a large plain piping tip, pipe 1 inch circles of dough.
  7. In a separate bowl, make an egg wash by mixing 1 egg and 1 ½ tsp. water with a fork until well mixed.
  8. Use a pastry brush and lightly brush dough with your egg wash, brushing down any peaks you may have formed when you piped out the dough.
  9. Bake your cream puffs one baking sheet at a time in the center rack of your oven. Bake for 7 minutes and reduce the heat to 375˚F and bake for 10 minutes until golden brown.
  10. As soon as they come out of the oven, poke holes in each puff with a toothpick to release trapped steam.
  11. Once cool, use a small star pastry tip to make holes on the bottom of all the puffs

For the vanilla orange blossom pastry cream:

Ingredients:

4 c. whole milk
1 c. granulated sugar, divided
3 egg yolks
2 large eggs
½ c. corn starch
1 pinch of salt
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. orange blossom water

Instructions:

  1. In a large saucepan, bring milk and ½ c. sugar to a boil.
  2. While the milk is heating, whisk egg yolks, eggs, ½ c. sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. When the milk boils, slowly add milk to the egg mixture while whisking, one ladleful at a time.
  4. Once half of the milk mixture is added, add the egg mixture back into the milk mixture.
  5. Continuously whisk the mixture over medium heat until the cream thickens.
  6. Once thickened, take the mixture off the heat and mix in the butter until completely incorporated.
  7. Stir in the vanilla extract and orange blossom water.
  8. Strain the mixture through a sieve and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until ready for use.

For the caramel:

Ingredients:

2 ½ c. granulated sugar
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
½ c. water

Instructions:

  1. Prepare a metal bowl with ice water.
  2. In a saucepan, boil sugar, corn syrup and water until light amber. Do not stir while the sugar is cooking, it can cause crystals.
  3. Once the caramel becomes light amber, place pan into the ice water to prevent further cooking and cool the caramel.

Assembly:

  1. Place a 5 ½ inch cake board on a sheet of parchment paper.
  2. Fill the cream puffs with the pastry cream.
  3. Dip the top of each cream puff into the hot caramel, reheating it if caramel becomes too hard to dip. (CAUTION: Be careful not to touch the hot caramel, the hot sugar will stick to your skin and burn you. Keep a bowl of ice water on hand just in case to cool the burn asap.)
  4. Use the larger cream puffs for the bottom of the croqeumbouche.
  5. Dip the bottom of the first creampuff and stick to the outside of the cake board.
  6. Dip the next cream puff on the bottom and to the side, to stick to cream puff that is already on the cake board. Repeat the process until the first layer is done.
  7. When doing the second layer of cream puffs, arrange the cream puff in between each cream puff on the first layer, to create a stable tower.
  8. Continue to dip and build, heating the caramel if it becomes too hard.
  9. Once the tower is built, cool the caramel until it forms a thread when you lift it from the pot with a fork.
  10. Dip the fork into the caramel and circle around the croqeumbouche to create a web of caramel strings around it.

Pâte à choux recipe adapted from food network.
Pastry cream recipe adapted from all recipes.
Caramel recipe adapted from bon appetit.

Giant Peeps Doughnut Cake (Meyer Lemon Marshmallow Doughnut Cake)

Giant Peeps Doughnut CakeThis Lent season I gave up online shopping. I used to think that online shopping was for people who were too lazy to go to the mall and try on clothing, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve seen the light. With a click of a button, you can see what is available to you in your size instead of rifling through all the different sizes in the stores. What I really like is that the clothes come looking pristine and new (even though I’m pretty sure someone else has tried it on before me). You know what I mean though right? You go through piles of clothing in a store trying to find that perfect dress on sale and when you find it, it has a lipstick or deodorant mark on it and sometimes, a strange stain that may or may not come out in the wash. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the mall and I believe that retail therapy is sometimes best done in stores. It’s just that now I’m in love with two forms of shopping.
Giant Peeps Doughnut CakeWhat I’ve learned is that online shopping is really hard to avoid. It follows you through email, social media, and even through paper catalogs. I’ve become so used to the thrill of finding a “good” deal that many times I perused through websites just to see what was available without the intention of buying anything. And then when I found something really great, it was very hard for me to not purchase it. Like an alcoholic that goes into a liquor store just to see what is available, I was just torturing myself for no reason.
Meyer Lemon Marshmallow Doughnut CakeWhy even go through it if it was so difficult? Because it gave me time to reflect on my lifestyle, and on my faith. At the times where I caught myself window shopping (online), I would close the window and spend some time in prayer and meditation. I’ve come to appreciate the things I already have in my life and realize the abundance of needs that are already met despite the lack of the perfect lace up suede flats. I am so thankful and am writing this with an overwhelmingly grateful heart.
Giant Peeps Doughnut CakeMeyer Lemon Marshmallow Doughnut CakeWhen Easter rolls around, seasonal bunny, egg and chick themed candy appear and I think Peeps is the most iconic Easter candy of them all. I know they come in different shapes and colors, (they even have peeps flavored milk these days) but I think the OG is the yellow chick peep. Super bright in color with a squishy marshmallow interior, it makes me feel like it should be lemon flavored. This is where I got my inspiration from.  As for the doughnut shape, well anything doughnut is superior to plain cake. No?
Meyer Lemon Marshmallow Doughnut CakeMeyer Lemon Marshmallow Doughnut CakeI happened to have a giant doughnut cake pan set from Williams Sonoma, which they don’t sell anymore but this cake can be made with two 8” cake pans if desired. Or, you can carve a hole in the middle and make yourself a makeshift doughnut cake too.
Giant Peeps Doughnut CakeMeyer lemons are popping up everywhere this season, so this cake is filled with all things lemon. It’s a lemon cake, filled with lemon curd and topped with a lemon glaze. As for the marshmallow component, it’s filled with my favorite marshmallow frosting and also topped with a toasted marshmallow frosting that when you put the chicks in, the browned top kind of looks like a nest. I decorated mine with a few Cadbury min eggs (the best chocolate egg candy IMHO) to give that nest feel a little more oomph.  Seasonal in flavor and themed, it’s the perfect baking project for this weekend. 🙂
Meyer Lemon Marshmallow Doughnut CakeHere are other Easter themed blog posts from the past:

Easy Peanut Butter Eggs
Easter Bunny Surprise Cake
White Chocolate Tiramisu Eggs
Bunny Cake Pops

Giant Peeps Doughnut Cake (Meyer Lemon Marshmallow Doughnut Cake)

You will need:

1 batch of meyer lemon cake (recipe below)
1 batch meyer lemon curd (recipe below)
1 batch meyer lemon glaze (recipe below)
1 batch marshmallow frosting (recipe below)
Cadbury mini eggs
yellow marshmallow chick Peeps

Instructions:

  1. Carve a small ditch around each half of the doughnut cake, making a tunnel for the filling.
  2. On the bottom half of the doughnut, fill the cavity with the lemon curd.
  3. On the top half of the doughnut, fill the cavity with marshmallow frosting.
  4. Sandwich the bottom and half together and set the cake on top of a wire cooling rack and pour the lemon glaze over the top, letting it dribble down the sides.
  5. Fill a piping bag with a large open star frosting tip (the one with a lot of teeth, not the one with 5 teeth) with the rest of the frosting.
  6. Make a swirl pattern all over the top of the cake.
  7. Use a kitchen torch to toast the tops of the marshmallow frosting.
  8. Place a marshmallow Peep all around the cake.
  9. Decorate the empty spaces with the mini eggs.

Meyer Lemon Doughnut Cake

Ingredients:

8 oz (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 ¾ c. granulated sugar
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
¼ c. grated meyer lemon zest (3-4 meyer lemons)
3 c. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
¼ c. meyer lemon juice, freshly squeezed
¾ c. buttermilk, at room temperature
1 tsp.  pure vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Grease and flour the two doughnut pans. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. (The cake pan I used is discontinued but this product is similar.)
  2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, mix lemon juice, buttermilk and vanilla extract. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream sugar and butter together until light and fluffy.
  5. Add eggs one at a time until blended and then the zest.
  6. Add the flour and buttermilk mixture alternatively to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour.
  7. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans, smoothing the tops.
  8. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  9. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan onto a wire cooling rack and cool completely.

Meyer Lemon Curd

Ingredients:

2 tsp. meyer lemon zest
½ c. meyer lemon juice, freshly squeezed
½ c. sugar
2 large eggs
pinch of salt
4 oz. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces

Instructions:

  1. Simmer about an inch of water in a small pot.
  2. In a medium metal mixing bowl, whisk together the zest, juice, sugar, eggs and salt.
  3. Add the butter to the mixing bowl and set the bowl over the pot of simmering water and whisk mixture continuously until mixture thickens and reaches 160˚F, about 5 minutes.
  4. Strain the curd through a fine meshed sieve and refrigerate to thicken completely.

Meyer Lemon Glaze

Ingredients:

2 c. confectioners’ sugar
¼ c. meyer lemon juice, freshly squeezed

Instructions:

  1. Whisk together sugar and meyer lemon juice until smooth.

Marshmallow Frosting

Ingredients:

3 large egg whites
¾ c. sugar
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Simmer about an inch of water in a small pot.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk together egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar.
  3. Place the bowl over the pot of simmering water and whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved, 3-4 minutes.
  4. Transfer the bowl to the standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk on high speed until white glossy, stiff peaks form.
  5. Add the vanilla extract and mix until combined.

Meyer lemon cake and glaze recipe adapted from Ina Garten.
Meyer lemon curd adapted from Epicurious.
Marshmallow frosting adapted from Martha Stewart.

 

Strawberry Ombré Cake

Strawberry Ombré Cake The first day of spring came with snow in Jersey this week. I feel like I should be surprised, but I’m really not. The weather has been pretty off-kilter this year. Remember when it was 60 degrees during Christmas? This cake reminds me of springtime with its bold strawberries and fresh mint leaves. Decorated with tiny white fondant and frosting flowers and a few pink pearls, it is feminine and floral too.
Strawberry Mint Cake The secret to amazing strawberry frosting is to use fresh strawberries and cook it down until it becomes thickened. It is similar to making jam, except you are boiling down just strawberries, a squeeze of lemon and a splash of water. Add this mixture to your standard frosting, and you’ll have the freshest, strawberry-est tasting frosting ever.
Strawberry Ombré Cake When I make a strawberry layer cake, I tend to add a layer of fresh strawberries to up the fruit flavor. You just need to remember to slice your strawberries thinly to keep the cake layers intact. If you don’t, it might compromise the structural integrity of the cake and the layers might slide off of one another.

Strawberry Ombré Cake
Makes one 6-inch cake

You will need:

1 batch of vanilla buttermilk cake (recipe below)
1 batch of strawberry frosting (recipe below)
½ pint fresh strawberries, divided (7 small strawberries left whole, the rest sliced thinly)
1 batch swiss meringue buttercream (recipe below)
pink gel food coloring
fresh mint leaves
pink edible pearls
white mini fondant flowers

Instructions:

  1. Frost the top of one layer of vanilla cake with strawberry frosting.
  2. Put one layer of sliced strawberries on top of the strawberry frosting.
  3. Repeat with the remaining layers of vanilla cake.
  4. Use the remaining strawberry frosting to crumb coat the entire cake.
  5. Let cake set in freezer for 5-10 minutes. Until the crumb coat is set.
  6. Reserve three tablespoons of swiss meringue buttercream in a bow.
  7. Evenly divide the rest of swiss meringue buttercream into 4 bowls.
  8. Leave one batch white and color the other 3 batches in different shades of pink.
  9. Fill an icing bag fitted with a very large round tip with the white swiss meringue buttercream.
  10. Remove the cake from the freezer.
  11. Ice the cake from the top with the white swiss meringue buttercream, moving slowly down.
  12. Once the white frosting runs out, add the light pink swiss meringue buttercream to the same bag and continue moving downwards.
  13. Once the light pink frosting runs out, add the darker pink swiss meringue buttercream to the same bag and continue frost down the cake until you get to the bottom of the cake. (The cake will look bulky and messy. This is normal.)
  14. Using a flat spatula, start going around the cake and smoothing out the sides.
  15. As you move around the cake and start removing frosting, an ombré pattern will appear.
  16. Once the cake is relatively smooth, take a small offset spatula and using a light pressure, start moving the offset spatula in a circular pattern around the cake to create soft ridges.
  17. Top the cake with the whole strawberries with the leaves removed. Do not cut the strawberries. They will release their juices if they are cut.
  18. Fill a piping bag fitted with a small closed star tip with the reserved 3 tablespoons of buttercream frosting.
  19. Fill any gaps between the strawberries with the frosting.
  20. Take the mint leaves and arrange it around the strawberries as desired.
  21. Make tiny buttercream flowers with the closed star tip by squeezing the bag and releasing it in one spot. Place one pear at the center of these flowers.
  22. Fill the rest of the gaps with tiny white fondant flowers.

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake

Ingredients:

2 c. cake flour
1⅓ c. sugar
¾ tbsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¾ c. buttermilk, divided
6 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
3 eggs, room temperature
1 ½ egg yolks
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F 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 ½ c. buttermilk and butter and mix until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, egg yolks, ¼ c. buttermilk, and vanilla extract until homogeneous.
  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.

Strawberry Frosting (for the filling)

Ingredients:
1 c. whole milk
¼ c. flour
¼ tsp. salt
8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c. sugar
strawberry puree (recipe below)

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 ¾ of the strawberry puree and mix until combined. Taste and see if it needs the rest.
  8. If it needs more strawberry flavor, add in the rest of the strawberry puree and mix until combined.

Strawberry Puree

Ingredients:
¾ pint of strawberries, hulled and cut in halves
2-3 tsp. lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tbsp. water

Instructions:

  1. In a small pot, cook strawberries, lemon juice and water on medium heat.
  2. Use a potato smasher to smash the strawberries while cooking to get an even consistency.
  3. Cook strawberries for 5-10 minutes until thickened.
  4. Once thickened, put in a bowl to cool and refrigerate.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream (for the outside)

Ingredients:

1 c. sugar
4 large egg whites
3 sticks unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Simmer an inch of water in a medium pot.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk egg whites and sugar together.
  3. Place the bowl over the pot of simmering water and whisk the egg white and sugar mixture continuously until the mixture becomes lighter and no longer grainy.
  4. Remove the bowl from the pot and transfer the bowl into the mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
  5. Mix on high until mixture becomes white and fluffy, and cool (check for this by seeing if the outside of the bowl is cool to the touch).
  6. Add in vanilla extract and butter one stick at a time until a silky smooth frosting forms.

 

Lucky Charms Cake

lucky charms cakeI’m pretty sure everyone is already saying this, but how is it already March? I’m definitely not complaining since I absolutely adore warm weather and I’m dying to be able to wear dresses without tights. As spring quickly approaches, the next holiday around the corner would be St. Patrick’s Day. Even closer is National Cereal Day, which is on March 7th. So I figured that I might as well tie up both and make this cake.
DSC_0584I’ve been thinking of something similar to this when I bought a bag full of “Lucky Charms” marshmallows. I say it in quotes because while it tastes very similar to the marshmallows in the cereal, the shapes of these marshmallows are less detailed and smaller. (I’m thinking it’s a copyright issue.) Either way, I wasn’t about to pick out each marshmallow from a box of Lucky Charms cereal, so I used this to decorate the outside of the cake. What is really funny is, that over time, the marshmallows will rehydrate from the frosting giving it a similar flavor and texture to a dehydrated marshmallow that was sitting in a pool of milk. They become darker in color and squishy and so this cake is best eaten the day it is baked.
DSC_0504The inside of the cake is frosted with cereal milk frosting, (like the one I posted in my cereal macaron post) but instead of Frosted Flakes, I used Lucky Charms cereal. The cereal milk turns a pale green and I think it’s perfect for the theme. The cake itself is funfetti since I was going along with the rainbow color scheme.
DSC_0526My absolute favorite part of the cake is the Lucky Charms bark I made from the marshmallows, different colors of candy melts and chock full of every kind of decorative sprinkle. You start off with a melted slab of white candy melt and swirl different colors of melted candy melts using a toothpick and then swipe along the top with an offset spatula. It blends beautifully and makes a watercolored candy bark. Then you pretty much go ham with however you want to top it. I think it’s important to restrain yourself when you do this so that you can still see the colors of the bark.
DSC_0578I had some confetti macaron shells leftover from a baking order, so I stuck some marshmallow pieces on top of it and decorated the cake, but really, I don’t think it’s worth baking a whole batch of macarons for this. If you have it, great and if it not, it still looks beautiful without it. I should warn you that this is a very sweet cake. I suppose it shouldn’t come as a surprise given the funfetti inside and the marshmallows and candy outside. But it’s so stunning, I think it’s worth the sugar overload.

Lucky Charms Cake

Funfetti Buttermilk Cake (recipe below)
Lucky Charms Cereal Milk Frosting (recipe below)
Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream (recipe below)
Lucky Charms Marshmallows
Lucky Charms Bark (recipe below)
Funfetti Macarons (optional, recipe in this post)

Instructions:

  1. Evenly fill and stack each layer of funfetti cake with cereal milk frosting.
  2. Crumb coat the cake with a thin layer of the remaining cereal milk frosting
  3. Place cake in freezer for 5 minutes until the frosting on the outside sets firmly.
  4. Once crumb coat is set, frost the entire cake with swiss meringue buttercream.
  5. Take a handful of marshmallows and slowly cup the outside of the cake, patting it to ensure full coverage.
  6. Let the outside set in freezer for 5 minutes.
  7. Take cake out and top the cake with shards of Lucky Charms bark and macarons if desired.

Funfetti Buttermilk Cake

Ingredients:

2 c. cake flour
1⅓ c. sugar
¾ tbsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¾ c. buttermilk, divided
6 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
3 eggs, room temperature
1 ½ egg yolks
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
¾ c. rainbow sprinkles

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F 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 ½ c. buttermilk and butter and mix until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, egg yolks, ¼ c. buttermilk, and vanilla extract until homogeneous.
  5. On low speed, slowly add the egg mixture to the flour mixture.
  6. Increase speed to medium, and mix until combined.
  7. Fold in sprinkles into the batter.
  8. Evenly divide cake batter into the four cake pans.
  9. Bake about 20-25 minutes until cake is done or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  10. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, and then move onto a cooling rack until completely cool.

Lucky Charms Cereal Milk Frosting (for the filling)

Ingredients:

1½ c. cereal milk (recipe below)
1/4 c. flour
½ tsp. kosher salt
8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ c. sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. In a small pot over medium heat, whisk milk, salt and flour until combined.
  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 (to prevent skin from forming) and put bowl 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.

Cereal Milk

Ingredients:

3 ½ c. Lucky Charms cereal
4 c. whole milk, cold

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix cereal and milk and steep for 30 minutes, until cereal is soggy.
  2. Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer. (Do not force mixture through mesh strainer. The resulting milk will be starchy and thicker than what you started with.)

Vanilla Meringue Buttercream (for the outside)

Ingredients:

1 c. sugar
4 large egg whites
3 sticks unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Simmer an inch of water in a medium pot.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk egg whites and sugar together.
  3. Place the bowl over the pot of simmering water and whisk the egg white and sugar mixture continuously until the mixture becomes lighter and no longer grainy.
  4. Remove the bowl from the pot and transfer the bowl into the mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
  5. Mix on high until mixture becomes white and fluffy, and cool (check for this by seeing if the outside of the bowl is cool to the touch).
  6. Add in vanilla extract and butter one stick at a time until a silky smooth frosting forms.

Lucky Charms Bark

Ingredients:

white candy melts
yellow candy melts
orange candy melts
sky blue candy melts
pink candy melts
purple candy melts
Lucky Charms cereal marshmallows
any type of sprinkles you would like to use

Instructions:

*Note: You want to move fast before the candy melts set. Try to have all of the sprinkles, marshmallows, and candy melts out and on hand before you start this recipe.

  1. Line a sheet pan with wax paper.
  2. Melt white candy melts in a bowl and spread thinly in a rectangular shape onto the wax paper.
  3. On a separate plate, melt about 3-4 disks of each color of the candy melt separately,
  4. Using a toothpick, make swirls of different colors all over the slab of white candy melt.
  5. Using an offset spatula, smooth the top of the bark in one fluid horizontal stroke.
  6. Place the marshmallows and sprinkles before the candy bark sets.
  7. Before the candy bark sets completely, (when it is similar to very soft chocolate) take a sharp knife and score shards of candy bark by making triangular shapes into the candy melt.
  8. When the candy bark sets, break along the lines you made with your knife.

Weekday Update

pink swirl cakeIt’s been a quiet few weeks on the busy spatula. Mostly, I’ve been busy filling cake orders and baking here and there. Not enough photos to write an actual blog about, but just enough for a glimpse of what’s been going on. (If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw some of these already.)

Pink and Gold Swirl Cake – It’s such a whimsical cake, I couldn’t help taking close up photos of this one. Swirled with pastel pink and white frosting then filled to the brim with pearls, gold stars, and dragees. It was four layers of chocolate cake filled with toffee coffee frosting.

DSC_0487DSC_0428DSC_0475DSC_0477

Baymax Macarons – I wanted to post these for Valentine’s Day, but I never had the time. Place a few red heart sprinkles on each macaron and draw in two circles and connect with a line with a black edible color marker. I filled the inside with some leftover strawberry frosting. So simple and very cute.

baymax macarons baymax macarons

Pink Ombre Ranunculus Cake – The inside of this cake was layered with layers of pink ombre cake. Filled with fresh strawberry frosting and topped with fresh ranunclus, it was so pretty. I originally wanted peonies, but the florist didn’t have any that were in bloom. Did you know that you had to order peonies in advance? I never knew.

pink ombre flower cakeranunculus flowers on cake

Conversation Heart Macarons with Vanilla Elderflower Frosting

Conversation Heart Macarons I learned how stubborn I could be when I went to buy a bag of conversation hearts this past week. I was so convinced that the original conversation hearts were made by Brach’s, I stood in the candy aisle for 5 minutes debating whether Brach’s or Necco made the original conversation hearts with my sister. I guess the average person would’ve pulled out their phone right away and searched Google, but I felt like I was pretty darn sure I was right. Turns out I was wrong. It was originally made by Necco.
valentines day macaronsI was basing my fact on the memory of the boxes of conversation hearts I received during Valentine’s Day in elementary school. Many of my teachers would set up a big box for students to put in Valentine’s Day cards and hand them out on the big day. Some kids would bring a bag full of identical valentines to give out to everyone so no one felt left out. Some kids of course, received more valentines than others, but the usual stash would be a lip or heart shaped lollipop, Hershey’s kisses, and small boxes of conversation hearts. I never really liked the conversation hearts because (if memory serves me right) they tasted like chalk. But if I ever received a box from a crush I would read each heart wishing that it was a heartfelt message from them. SMH Boy crazy from such a young age I tell ya.
macaron batterSo I took a page from my childhood memory and turned them into macarons. I’ll tell you straight off the bat that these macarons are a labor of love. Perhaps it’s because my macarons are made with an Italian meringue or because I just plain stink at it, piping macaron batter into a heart shape is not easy. The batter wants to cling onto your piping tip and ruin the pointed ends that you want to achieve. Also, dividing the batter into 5 colors and changing the piping bag and washing the piping tip 5 times is tedious. And if you only have one spatula? You would have to clean that spatula every time you mix a different color for the batter and you would be dirtying 5 different bowls. This is FIVE times the work required people!

Not-So-Heart-Shaped-Macarons
Not-So-Heart-Shaped-Macarons
The frosting on the other hand is my favorite vanilla frosting flavored with Elderflower concentrate. If you’ve ever been to Ikea, you may have seen the boxed juices that they sell. Elderflower has a mild floral and tart flavor. Why did I add the elderflower concentrate? Because in my mind, flowers = romance = Valentine’s Day.
Conversation Heart Macarons The extra labor aside, these bite size macarons are super cute and would make a very thoughtful gift. Also, I know they’re delicious because the entire batch was gone in one night. 🙂
Conversation Heart Macaron

Conversation Heart Macarons with Vanilla Elderflower Frosting
Makes about 50 small macarons

*Here is a link to the heart template that I used for my macarons:
-Macaron heart template left
-Macaron heart template right

Ingredients:
212 g. almond meal
212 g. powdered sugar
172 g. egg whites, divided to 82 g. and 90 g (aged, if possible)
236 g. sugar
158 g. water
pink gel food coloring
yellow gel food coloring
green gel food coloring
purple gel food coloring
blue gel food coloring
1 batch vanilla elderflower frosting
red food color pen

Instructions:

  1. Line two baking sheets with heart template left and right and 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. Divide the almond mixture into 5 different bowls. Each fifth of the batter should weight 101g.
  5. Color each almond mixture with pink, yellow, green, purple and blue gel food coloring. Set aside.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Once the syrup reaches 248 ˚F, 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.
  9. Once the egg whites are fully incorporated, increase the speed to medium high until egg whites form glossy, stiff peaks.
  10. Place one fifth of the egg mixture into each bowl of the colored almond mixture. Fold the egg white mixture into the almond mixture until the mixture “flows like magma”.  The mixture should be smooth and run thick ribbons off the spatula.
  11. With a pastry bag fitted with a ½ in. plain tip, fill the piping bag with the pink macaron batter.
  12. Pipe one side of the heart, releasing pressure as you get to the pointy tip and repeat with the other side of the heart.
  13. The piped batter may have peaks but should smooth away in a minute or two.
  14. Every time you change the batter color, remember to clean the piping tip and use a new bag.
  15. Let the batter stand until the tops of the macarons are dry to the touch, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  16. Preheat the oven to 325-350˚F.  If your oven tends to run hot go for 325˚F, if not then 350˚F.
  17. Lower the heat to from 350˚F to 300˚F. (If starting from 325˚F, lower to 275˚F.)
  18. Bake 8-10 minutes, until the feet are formed and the tops are smooth.  The macaron shell is done when you slightly wiggle it and it starts to come off of the parchment paper / silicone mat.
  19. Remove pan from oven and reheat oven to higher temperature for 10 minutes before baking the next tray, lowering the temperature when you start baking it.
  20. Continue until you bake all of the macaron shells.
  21. Once the macarons have cooled, pair each macaron shell to one of a similar size.
  22. Use the red food coloring pen to write out messages on one side of the macaron.
  23. Let dry and sandwich each macaron with vanilla elderflower frosting.

Vanilla Elderflower Frosting
Ingredients:
1 c. whole milk
¼ c. flour
⅛ tsp. salt
8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4-6 tbsp. elderflower concentrate

Instructions:

  1. In a small pot over medium heat, whisk milk, salt and flour until combined.
  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 (to prevent skin from forming) and put bowl 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 4 tbsp. of elderflower concentrate.
  8. Taste and if you want a stronger flavor, add another 2 tbsp. of elderflower concentrate.

 

Calcifer Meringues

howl's moving castle meringues
“May all your bacon burn.”

If you still haven’t watched Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle, then I’m pretty sure you are confused (or possibly amused) by today’s post. When I mentioned it to my sister, her reaction was, “That sounds like Lucifer, or a devil.” Actually, a very similar response was echoed by my friend. (They both did not watch the movie.)
Calcifer MeringuesCalcifer is a fire demon and in the English dubbed version of the movie, is voiced by Billy Crystal (aka. Mike Wazawoski from Monsters, Inc., Miracle Max from Princess Bride or Harry from When Harry Met Sally <= my favorite movie of all time!). Incredibly cute and boisterous at times, he is one of the most memorable characters of the movie.making meringuesThe meringue recipe I’m sharing is delicious and can be flavored with different extract or add-ins, but this time I chose to keep it simple by tinting it in different colors and shaping it so it has a flame-like body. Stirring the gel food coloring does deflate the meringue a bit and spooning it onto the parchment paper in layered dollops seems to produce a few cracks in the meringue. This is just a theory because I’ve made this recipe before and it produces very white, no-crack meringues when piped into little shapes.
inside meringue cookieI wanted the meringues to be super vibrant, but this is as bright as I could get them without compromising the structure of the meringue batter. As for the inside of the meringue, the color is much more vibrant on the inside and I am in love with it. Color and small crack issues aside, the meringues are melt-in-your-mouth crisp and has a wonderful marshmallow-y chewy interior. It’s love at
first bite.
calcifer cookies

Calcifer Meringues
Makes 7 Large Meringues

Ingredients
300 g. superfine sugar
150 g. egg whites, room temperature
1 pinch cream of tartar
yellow gel food color
orange gel food color
red gel food color
white candy melts
candy eyes

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Spread sugar in an even layer over parchment.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the egg whites and the cream of tartar.
  4. Place sugar into the oven and bake until the edges of the sugar begins to melt but not brown, about 5 minutes.
  5. Once the sugar begins to melt, turn the mixer onto high.
  6. Remove baking sheet from the oven and the eggs whites should be foamy.
  7. Turn the mixer to medium high and slowly pour the hot sugar from the parchment paper into egg whites.
  8. Once all the sugar is added, turn the mixer onto high and mix until stiff, shiny peaks form.
  9. Divide batter evenly into three separate bowls, coloring each portion red, yellow and orange.
  10. Reduce oven to lowest setting 140˚F.
  11. Line another baking sheet with parchment paper.
  12. Taking two spoons, place a dollop of the yellow batter and layer it with the orange and then the red. Repeat until all the meringue batter is used.
  13. Bake about 2-3 hours until they are crisp and hollow.
  14. Turn off oven and let it dry out for about 30 minutes to an hour.
  15. When meringues are completely cool and dry, melt two white candy melt wafers and dot behind two eyes and place the eyes onto the bottom third of Calcifer’s face.
  16. Let candy melt set and you are now ready to enjoy your meringue.

Meringue recipe adapted from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook.

 

BB-8 Cake Pops

bb-8 cake popsIf you’ve been a reader of my blog, you would know that I’m kind of a Star Wars fan. If you haven’t, you might want to check out a couple of parties I’ve thrown (here and here). So you can imagine how excited I am for the next installment to the Star Wars Series. (Very.)
bb8 r2d2 cake popI swear I got goosebumps the first time I saw the trailer. But what caught my eye the most was the glimpse of the new droid, BB-8. At first, I thought it was a head rolling on a soccer ball, but it’s not. It’s a droid and a really cute one too. When I saw that they released a BB-8 droid, I was very tempted to buy it. But then what would I do with it? It would probably sit there collecting dust or I could make Bear chase it around. I think I would rather put the money towards a new pair of shoes. But then again, it’s like a functioning mini droid. Ahh… first world problems.

bb-8 cake popshow to make a bb8 cake popSo I built myself a mini droid of my own, a cake pop. A ridiculous, time-consuming but adorable cake pop. Now, if I can only get it to roll around on its own…
how to make a bb-8 cake pop
BB-8 Cake Pops

You will need:
1 batch of vanilla cake (or boxed cake if you prefer)
1 batch of vanilla frosting (or canned frosting if you prefer)
cake pop sticks
white candy melts
gray fondant
blue fondant
orange fondant
black fondant
water, to attach the fondant
thin paintbrush
silver shimmer dust (edible)
vodka
x-acto knife (highly recommended to cut out tiny shapes)

  1. Crumble cake to cake crumbs and add in frosting ¼ c. at a time, until you get a play dough consistency. You want to make sure you work in the frosting completely, and that every crumb is mixed evenly.
  2. With ¾ of the cake dough, roll 1 ½ tablespoon sized balls. With the ¼ of the cake dough, roll 1 tablespoon sized balls. Chill thoroughly.
  3. Remove from fridge and using floss or a sharp knife, cut the 1 tablespoon sized balls in half (this is the head).
  4. On a cake pop stick, insert the half sphere cake ball followed by the round 1½ tablespoon sized cake ball. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 1)
  5. Melt white candy melts and coat the entire cake pop completely.
  6. Set it to the side to dry and set. Continue with other cake pops until all of them are coated. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 2)
  7. From this point forward, use the thin paintbrush and water to glue the fondant pieces onto the cake pop.
  8. Cut out a thin gray stripe of fondant and wrap around the top of the cake pop. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 3)
  9. Round out a pea-sized black fondant and shape it to a hemisphere and attach it slightly below the center of the gray stripe. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 4)
  10. Cut out a very thin orange stripe of fondant and wrap around below the gray fondant stripe stopping at the upper third part of the black fondant. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 5)
  11. Round out a small head of a pin sized black fondant and attach it diagonally from the pea sized black fondant. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 6)
  12. Cut out a very thin gray stripe and wrap around the circumference of the head of BB-8. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 7)
  13. Cut out tiny squares and rectangles from the orange fondant and attach it above the very thin gray stripe, on the outer third of the cake pop. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 8)
  14. Use a small dab of blue fondant and attach it below the pea sized black fondant. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 9)
  15. Cut out ¾ in. circles and cut out an “x” shape in the center. Attach it to the bottom left hand corner of the cake pop. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 10)
  16. Attach another circle to the upper right hand corner of the cake pop, cutting out the top portion. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 11)
  17. Cut out a small orange stripe and attach it to the bottom right hand corner of the cake pop. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 12)
  18. Using the gray fondant, cut out a small pea sized gray circle. Cut into thirds and place inside the center of the orange circle on the left hand corner. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 13)
  19. Cut out two small triangles and place on the opposite ends of the small gray circle. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 14)
  20. Cut out some random stripes of thin gray fondant and place on the center of the orange circle in the upper right hand corner. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 15)
  21. Cut out small gray circle and place in center of orange circle in the lower right hand corner. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 16)
  22. Cut out thin gray fondant stripes, and connect orange circles. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 17)
  23. Using tiny pieces of gray fondant, dot the corners of the gray fondant stripes, making “rivets”. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 18)
  24. Using a very thin strip of gray fondant, outline the smaller black dot on the head. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 19)
  25. Mix few droplets of vodka into the silver shimmer to create edible silver paint.
  26. Using a very thin brush, paint the gray fondant of the cake pop to give it a metallic sheen. You can also give a swipe of paint to the black circles to give it dimension. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 20)

The Ultimate Oreo Ice Cream Cake with Homemade Crunchies

how to make an ice cream cake

I would say that whenever the topic of ice cream cakes come up, about 75% of the people I talk to gush about how much they love crunchies. You know, the crunchy chocolate crumbs that are usually sandwiched between the vanilla and chocolate ice cream layers in a standard store bought ice cream cake. So when D requested a cookies and cream ice cream cake, with an extra thick layer of crunchies, I set out to make the ultimate cookies and cream ice cream cake.
cookies n' cream ice cream cakeOn another note, I’m not sure if it is cookies n’ cream, cookies n’ creme, cookies and creme, cookies and cream or Oreo. Does anyone know what the “right” way to say it is? The grammar Nazi in my brain says “cookies and cream” but the media uses all of them.  So instead of driving myself crazy, I’m going to use them all interchangeably.
cookies and cream ice cream cakeTo be honest, I was a little disappointed when he requested such a standard flavor. My mind was whizzing with all sorts of crazy flavor combinations (something along the lines of toasted marshmallows, drizzly caramel, crushed salted nuts…) and went to a complete stop when he said cookies and cream. But it’s okay because I took cookies and cream to the next level with this cake. (Kind of like that episode in Friends where Phoebe takes cups and ice to the next level.)
oreo browniesIt starts with an Oreo brownie base, layered with homemade crunchies (just two ingredients, and so easy), with a very generous layer of cookies and cream ice cream (two quarts!), layered again with crunchies and brownie base.
oreo barkIt is then covered in whipped topping, topped with a decadent chocolate ganache (Omg. It was my favorite part of the cake), and decorated with scoops of whipped topping that look like scoops of ice cream (plain and Oreo flavored), and topped with shards of Oreo bark, cookie crumbs and whole mini Oreos. Every single component screams cookies and cream and every bite is as amazing as it sounds.
cookies and cream ice cream cake
The Ultimate Oreo Ice Cream Cake with Homemade Crunchies

Ingredients
2 – 8” round Oreo brownie layers (recipe below)
1 batch homemade crunchies (recipe below)
2 quarts of cookies and cream ice cream, softened*
20 oz. cool whip
chocolate ganache (recipe below)
mini Oreos
¼ c. white chocolate or white candy melts

Instructions:

  1. Line two 8-inch cake pans with plastic wrap. In each pan, put in one Oreo brownie layer.
  2. Split the batch of homemade crunchies in half and spread each half on top of each Oreo brownie layer.
  3. Layer a quart of cookies and cream ice cream in each cake pan, smoothing the top.
  4. Top with plastic wrap and freeze until completely frozen, either over night or 8 hours.
  5. Unmold each cake pan carefully and sandwich the two layers, the ice cream layer meeting in the center and brownie layer facing outwards. Refreeze in freezer for 10 minutes.
  6. Frost the outside of the cake with cool whip. Refreeze in freezer until cool whip is firm.
  7. Crush some mini Oreos and mix Oreo crumbs in half of the remaining cool whip. Leaving the other half plain.
  8. Once cool whip has set, smooth ganache over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Sprinkle some cookie crumbs on top of ganache before it sets. Place cake in freezer until ganache is completely set.
  9. Using a cookie scoop, layer alternating scoops of Oreo and plain cool whip, sprinkling with cookie crumbs as you go. Freeze to set.
  10. While ice cream is freezing, melt white chocolate/candy melts in a microwave safe bowl being careful not to burn the chocolate.
  11. Line a small sheet pan with wax paper and smooth the melted chocolate evenly using an offset spatula. Top with crushed mini Oreos, and whole mini Oreos. Put in freezer to set.
  12. Break chocolate into shards and reserve for cake.
  13. Once the ice cream cake is set, remove cake from freezer, and decorate the top with the white chocolate shards and top with extra mini Oreos for a grand effect.

Oreo Brownies

Ingredients:
1 box brownie mix, plus ingredients needed to make brownies according to mix**
16 Oreos

Instructions:

  1. Prepare two 8-inch cake pans by spraying with nonstick spray and lining the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Preheat oven to temperature on the package.
  3. Mix brownie batter according to package and divide evenly between two cake pans.
  4. Place 7 Oreos in a circular formation in each pan, and Oreo in the center.
  5. Bake half of the time said on the package.
  6. Let cool and reserve for cake.

Homemade Crunchies

Ingredients:
30 Oreo cookies
1 – 7.25 oz. bottle of Magic Shell ice cream topping

Instructions:

  1. Using a food processor, Crush Oreos into even crumbs.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix cookie crumbs and ice cream topping until each crumb is well coated.
  3. Reserve for cake.

Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients:
8 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
¾ c. heavy whipping cream

Instructions:

  1. In a heatproof bowl, pour heavy cream on top of chocolate and microwave for one minute.
  2. Let stand 3 minutes and stir until combined.

*I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you want to use the premium stuff for ice cream cakes. Because the higher quality ice cream has less air content, it will melt slower. I used Trader Joe’s Joe-Joe’s n’ Cream.
**Yes, I shun cake mixes, but brownie mixes are pretty good in my book. I’m in love with the Ghirardelli brand mixes. Plus, when making a cake with this many components, simplifying any part is worth it.
***Homemade crunchies recipe from Our Best Bites.

Cereal Macarons with Cereal Milk Frosting

Cereal Macarons with Cereal Milk Frosting 3Cereal and I have a love/hate relationship. I love how there are endless flavors and textures, how each cereal turns plain milk into a unique drink, and how you can eat it for pretty much any meal or snack (and even when you run out of milk, you can eat it plain, kind of like teeny tiny cookies).
Cereal Macarons with Cereal Milk Frosting 1 fruit loops macarons cereal milk frosting recipe cereal milk frosting On the other hand, I hate it for two reasons: 1) I pretty much cannot stop eating it once I open it up. It’s rare for me to have the “recommended serving”. I once took out a measuring cup and measured exactly one serving. Dude, it’s the size of my fist and I have small fists. 2) I hate soggy cereal. I think there is nothing worse than fully saturated cereal. It gets all mushy and some even start deteriorating into the milk. Don’t ask me to do something once that milk hits the bowl, because unless it’s a real emergency I’m taking the five minutes to eat it.
Cereal Macarons with Cereal Milk Frosting 2cereal macarons recipecereal macaron recipeThis recipe takes two of the best parts of cereal: the crispy bits and the cereal milk.  No sogginess, and you can customize each macaron flavor to whatever you wish! The cereal milk from this recipe tastes like the cereal milk you would get from Frosted Corn Flakes. (I got the inspiration from Momofuku Milk Bar’s cereal milk soft serve.) I suppose you could try using a different cereal (sans the toasting) and you would technically get the flavor that cereal’s milk.
lucky charms macaron fruit loops macaron frosted cheerios macaroncocoa pebbles macaron trix macaron cinnamon toast crunch macaronIt was really exciting to watch them bake and I loved seeing them in so many different colors and textures. The Lucky Charms batch smelled especially good in the oven. I think it was the marshmallow bits baking and yes, they were magically delicious.

Cereal Macarons with Cereal Milk Frosting

Ingredients:
212 g. almond meal
212 g. powdered sugar
172 g. egg whites, divided to 82 g. and 90 g (aged, if possible)
236 g. sugar
158 g. water
cereal of your choice, crushed (I bought the multipack of mini bags to have a variety.)
cereal milk frosting (recipe below)

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 ˚F, 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.
  11. On half of the macaron shells, sprinkle on desired crushed cereal.
  12. Let the batter stand until the tops of the macarons are dry to the touch, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  13. Preheat the oven to 325-350˚F.  If your oven tends to run hot go for 325˚F, if not then 350˚F.
  14. Lower the heat to from 350˚F to 300˚F. (If starting from 325˚F, lower to 275˚F.)
  15. Bake 10-12 minutes, until the feet are formed and the tops are smooth.  The macaron shell is done when you slightly wiggle it and it starts to come off of the parchment paper / silicone mat.
  16. Remove pan from oven and reheat oven to higher temperature for 10 minutes before baking the next tray, lowering the temperature when you start baking it.
  17. Pipe a dollop of cereal milk frosting on the plain macaron shell.
  18. Top it with crushed cereal macaron, flattening it slightly to push the frosting to the outer edge.
  19. *This step is optional but I prefer to age my macarons. To do so, place assembled macarons in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight. The next day, the macaron shells will have softened slightly and in my opinion, more delicious.

Cereal Milk Frosting

1½ c. cereal milk (recipe below)
1/4 c. flour
½ tsp. kosher salt
8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ c. sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. In a small pot over medium heat, whisk milk, salt and flour until combined.
  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 (to prevent skin from forming) and put bowl 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.

Cereal Milk

Ingredients:

3 ½ c. Corn Flakes cereal
4 c. whole milk, cold

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300˚F.
  2. On a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, toast cereal for 5-7 minutes, until slightly deeper in color.
  3. Cool toasted cereal.
  4. In a large bowl, mix cereal and milk and steep for 30 minutes, until cereal is soggy.
  5. Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer. (Do not force mixture through mesh strainer. The resulting milk will be starchy and thicker than what you started with.)

*Macaron recipe adapted from Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller, Sebastien Rouxel.
*Cereal milk recipe adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi, David Chang.