It was the other half’s birthday a few days ago, and he wanted a vanilla cake with a vanilla buttercream frosting. That just sounds pure plain to me! I love complex flavors in all my food, with herbs, teas, spices included, which for me is more fun to play around with, than just simply vanilla!
This was the case the last year too, where he wanted the same cake – vanilla cake with vanilla frosting, and last year I made him an ombre layered cake, covered all over with sprinkles. This year I decided to put funfetti in the cake batter itself to make it festive, inspiration from Teresa of www.now-forager.com, who has one of the most beautiful blogs I have ever seen. She is an amazing pastry chef, and her photography is impeccable, as much as how sweet a person she is as well! I digress, but I had to talk Teresa for a bit! I did a Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting on the outside and the middle layers as well. This was the simple cake!
I was not sure how to decorate the cake, and then it struck me that I could decorate it with birthday macarons! I made a vanilla bean shell with funfetti on the shell, and a Bourbon Salted Caramel Buttecream filling inside! He loves the Bourbon Salted Caramel so much, that I had to include them in the macaron somehow!
It is a simple macaron, but the bourbon salted caramel takes it the next level! I was quite happy with the results and wanted to share the recipe with you all!
If you do make these macarons, it would be great if you could tag me on Instagram with #thejamlab, or leave a comment below as well, to let me know how it turned out! I would really appreciate it!
Here is a picture of the birthday cake as well, decorated with macarons, making it fun and whimsical! The recipe for the cake is from Tessa of www.stylesweetca.com ! She has a beautiful book called Layered, the recipe of the cake below is from this book! It turned out to be one delicious looking and tasting cake!
2 1/2 - 3 cups confectioners sugar ( the buttercream should not be runny, or pourable, it should be firm, but pipeable at the same time)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the macaron shell:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees, if using double-baking sheet cooking method, or pre-heat oven to 325 degrees if using single baking sheet cooking method. Line baking sheets with silicone mats and top with the parchment paper templates.
In a bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse one-third of the confectioner's sugar with the almond flour, until a fine powder is formed. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl and mix in the remaining confectioners sugar. Using a drum sieve, sift mixture four times onto a sheet of parchment paper. Set aside.
To make the meringue: In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add granulated sugar. once all the sugar is incorporated and the mixture is thick, scrap down the sides of the bowl, add vanilla extract and increase the speed to high, whipping until stiff, firm, glossy peaks form.
To complete the macaronnage step: Sift the almond flour mixture, one-third at a time, over the egg white mixture, and fold using a large spatula until the mixture is smooth and shiny. once all the almond flour mixture is incorporated check for the correct consistency, the batter should be firm, have a glossy shine and drip slowly from the spatula.
Transfer the battery to a pastry bag filled with a 1/2 inch plain round tip(#12), and pipe 1 1/3 inch rounds on parchment-lined baking sheets. Gentle tap the bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air. Top each macaron with a pinch of funfetti, do not overcrowd it! Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes atleast. Check for a slight crust to form on the macaron. The macarons should not stick to your finger when lightly touched.
If using the double baking sheet cooking method, place an empty baking sheet underneath the baking sheet with the piped macarons.
Bake one sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until macarons are crisp and firm, about 12 to 15 minutes.
Allow macarons to cool on the baking sheets for 2-3 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before filling.
For the salted caramel:
(Make sure to keep an eye on the caramel the entire time it is being cooked, else you can easily burn it)
Cook the sugar and water together over low heat until just dissolved. Add the butter and bring to a slow boil. Continue cooking at a low boil until the mixture turns a deep, golden brown color, almost copper.
Once the mixture has turned a copper color, remove it from the heat and immediately add the heavy cream - the mixture will bubble rapidly and steam - be cautious as the sugar will be very hot.
Whisk the final mixture together well over low heat and sprinkle in the sea salt and bourbon. Let it cool. You can store the caramel in a glass jar in the fridge upto a month.
For the buttercream filling:
In a stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment, add the butter and salt and whip until light and creamy about 2 minutes.
Add the sugar, bourbon salted caramel and vanilla to a whipped butter and mix until the ingredients are well combined and the mixture is smooth about 3 minutes.Use a pastry bag to pipe the macaron shells, one at a time, and top with another macaron shell gently.