Five layer cakes, two days, and one tiny NYC apartment


 
Five layer cakes, two days, and one tiny NYC apartment  - tips and tricks for making a whole bunch of cakes all at once over the course of two days #weddingcake #layercake #deconstructedweddingcake
Five layer cakes, two days, and one tiny NYC apartment  - tips and tricks for making a whole bunch of cakes all at once over the course of two days #weddingcake #layercake #deconstructedweddingcake
Five layer cakes, two days, and one tiny NYC apartment  - tips and tricks for making a whole bunch of cakes all at once over the course of two days #weddingcake #layercake #deconstructedweddingcake
Five layer cakes, two days, and one tiny NYC apartment  - tips and tricks for making a whole bunch of cakes all at once over the course of two days #weddingcake #layercake #deconstructedweddingcake
Five layer cakes, two days, and one tiny NYC apartment  - tips and tricks for making a whole bunch of cakes all at once over the course of two days #weddingcake #layercake #deconstructedweddingcake

I got to do a really special thing last weekend - I made cakes for our friend’s wedding. Our good friends got married, and when we heard that they were engaged, I offered to make cakes for them! It’s such a fun thing to do for friends, and I got a zillion questions about my process, so I decided to pop it all here so I have a place to direct people! Rich said multiple times throughout the process “I can’t believe how chill you are about this” (Usually I’m super stressed and panicky about literally everything I do in my life, ever), which I think came down to the planning I did leading up. I planned a lot throughout the week, but did the majority of the workload across two days.

We changed things up a little from the traditional tiered wedding cake, and instead went for five individual cakes. There were 100 guests at the wedding, so I did four 8” cakes, and one larger 10” cake to make sure there would be enough. The great part about having a site with loads of recipes on it that you know is that I can direct people here, and get them to choose from the recipes I already have. They chose a whole bunch of different cakes, which was not only super fun to make, but looked amazing all lined up at the venue! I have a good sized collection of Aheirloom cake stands, so I used them to keep some continuity, but I think this would look so pretty with a whole range of different cake stands too. Cake tables for the win. They were such a huge hit, and I am so honoured to be have been included in our friend’s day! Congrats Damon and April! x

I wanted to leave all my wee tips and tricks I could think of here just in case they are helpful! One thing that REALLY helped is that we have a walk in fridge in our reception of our building (So weird, but SO convenient), so I was able to put two of the cakes down there overnight, which helped loads. Clearing out your fridge would work well too, or borrowing a friend’s fridge space! Just make sure the cakes have time to chill before you transport them. You want them to be nice and cold so that you don’t have to worry about any meltage.

Here are the cakes that we ended up with (in the order they are pictured)

  • Earl Grey Cake with Marmalade filling and Vanilla Bean German Buttercream

    • This cake, with a double batch of the buttercream, and a store bought marmalade, decorated in the style of this cake.

  • Vanilla Bean Layer Cake with Passionfruit Curd and Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue buttercream

    • I didn’t make any switches in this recipe - I just used this one from my site.

  • Chocolate Mud Cake with Cherry Filling and Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream

    • This one was twin peaks inspired (I haven’t seen it before!), so I did a 1.5 x of this cake, which I baked into 3 x 8” pans, and then cut each cake into two, giving me six layers. I swapped the gluten free flour called for in the recipe for regular flour as it was not required to be gluten free. I then filled it with a store bought Cherry Jam, and finished it with Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream, which I coloured hot pink. This cake also had a sprinkle twin peaks inspired top and sprinkles on the sides - I used sprinkles from Sprinkle Pop Shop.

  • Dairy Free Lemon Cake with Dairy Free Lemon Curd and Torched Meringue

    • The Bride’s Mum is Dairy Free, so I tweaked this recipe a little - I used vegan butter in the curd, and cashew yoghurt in the cake, and it turned out amazing! I then made a quick powdered sugar based buttercream (american buttercream, half this recipe but with vegan butter and no milk or coconut would work great) to stack the cake, then chilled overnight and then covered the day of with swiss meringue, which I torched.

  • Devil’s Food Cake with Hazelnut Chocolate Frosting and Salted Chocolate German Buttercream

    • This cake, doubled and baked in 3 x 10” layers (make sure you have a massive bowl), filled with one batch of this frosting and layered and stacked with a double batch of this German Buttercream

My Timeline:

Monday: Make a list of all the cakes, all the fillings, all the buttercreams, and work out what I am going to need for each.
Tuesday: Make a shopping list, and either do the shop, or order everything to be delivered via online shopping (I went for online shopping, because NYC life)
Wednesday: Get shopping delivered, organise all your groceries, clear out space in your fridge, make a game plan, make any fillings that can be done ahead such as your curd fillings
Thursday: Make alllll the layers. Cool completely, level off, and store in the fridge overnight. Make any buttercream bases (German buttercream you can make the pastry cream the day before as it ideally needs time to cool)
Friday: Make all of your buttercreams, stack and frost the cakes, chill overnight (The overnight chill makes the transport part much less stressful as you know that all your cakes are well chilled).
Saturday: Make any last touch ups, cover the lemon cake with meringue and torch (It will weep if left too long so I did it the day of), transport to the venue!

A few wee tips:

  • You can make your life easier by doing things like making all of the pastry cream for the german buttercream at once, and then portioning it out to whip up individual batches. I think I did a quadruple batch of the buttercream needed to make this cake, cooled it all in one container, and then weighed it, and used as much as I needed for one batch at a time. It means you aren’t making pastry cream a whole bunch of times, just once.

  • I used Acrylic cake discs which I got Rich to cut me on the laser cutter, but cardboard cake boards work great too. I used one that was the size of the cake, and then another which was two inches larger, stuck down with double sided tape, which made moving the cakes around super easy.

  • I popped some milkshake straws through the largest cake just to help give it some stability. Poke them down into the cake, then measure how long they need to be, and snip them off then poke them back into the cake

  • Give yourself a SOLID buffer. Like, a whole day’s worth if you can. I know someone quite well (spoiler alert - it’s me) who has had multiple cake disasters in the back seats of ubers where improperly chilled cakes had total structural blowouts. It’s not cute. Leave time to chill your cakes, and to organise all the last minute bits and bobs. I think this was key to me being a bit chill!

Please feel free to leave any questions or things I may have missed below - always happy to help! x

 

 
Five layer cakes, two days, and one tiny NYC apartment  - tips and tricks for making a whole bunch of cakes all at once over the course of two days #weddingcake #layercake #deconstructedweddingcake

Passionfruit and White Chocolate Macarons


 
Passionfruit and White Chocolate Macarons - Vanilla bean macaron shell, filled with white chocolate swiss meringue buttercream and tangy passionfruit curd, then finished with a chocolate drizzle. #frenchmacaron #macarons #passionfruit
Passionfruit and White Chocolate Macarons - Vanilla bean macaron shell, filled with white chocolate swiss meringue buttercream and tangy passionfruit curd, then finished with a chocolate drizzle. #frenchmacaron #macarons #passionfruit
Passionfruit and White Chocolate Macarons - Vanilla bean macaron shell, filled with white chocolate swiss meringue buttercream and tangy passionfruit curd, then finished with a chocolate drizzle. #frenchmacaron #macarons #passionfruit
Passionfruit and White Chocolate Macarons - Vanilla bean macaron shell, filled with white chocolate swiss meringue buttercream and tangy passionfruit curd, then finished with a chocolate drizzle. #frenchmacaron #macarons #passionfruit
Passionfruit and White Chocolate Macarons - Vanilla bean macaron shell, filled with white chocolate swiss meringue buttercream and tangy passionfruit curd, then finished with a chocolate drizzle. #frenchmacaron #macarons #passionfruit
Passionfruit and White Chocolate Macarons - Vanilla bean macaron shell, filled with white chocolate swiss meringue buttercream and tangy passionfruit curd, then finished with a chocolate drizzle. #frenchmacaron #macarons #passionfruit
Passionfruit and White Chocolate Macarons - Vanilla bean macaron shell, filled with white chocolate swiss meringue buttercream and tangy passionfruit curd, then finished with a chocolate drizzle. #frenchmacaron #macarons #passionfruit

Hi! Coming at you with a wee spring inspired macaron this month! Ever since I discovered that the supermarket near me sells passionfruit pulp in a pouch, it’s been going into everything (I made passionfruit cream puffs today, coming at you soon!). I had some passionfruit curd leftover from testing this passionfruit layer cake a while back, so we repurposed it in these macs. Jase also just reminded me that this is our Twelfth macaron recipe that we have done - the very first macs we made together were actually passionfruit too, so this is a nice wee full circle situation!

The passionfruit curd is perfect for a mac filling - it is thick and silky, and the passionfruit cuts through the yolks and butter in the curd, giving it a much ‘lighter’ taste than something like lemon curd, which I find can get a little bogged down by the egg yolks and butter if it isn’t done right. We kept the pairing simple and filled the mac with a white chocolate swiss meringue buttercream - creamy and smooth, and the perfect compliment to the tangy curd filling. The shells were finished with a quick drizzle of white and passionfruit chocolate - which is a totally optional but super cute detail to add to tie everything together.

You could absolutely customise these if you wanted - you could do a lemon curd in the middle, or ditch the white chocolate in the buttercream and just have it as a vanilla base. The cool thing about macarons is that you can really mix and match the filling - we have found it easiest to keep the base shell the same recipe, coloured to compliment the flavour, and then drive the flavour through the fillings. So, please feel free to mix and match these as you feel fit! It’s all part of the fun.

A few wee tips:

  • All my Macaron tips are here!

  • Ideally, the passionfruit curd needs overnight to chill to come to the right consistency.

  • The White chocolate buttercream can be a little soft when you first add the chocolate. Popping it in the fridge for 10-15 minutes will help to firm it up, or you can pipe the macarons then rest in the fridge for an hour or so to help firm it up.

 

 

Passionfruit and White Chocolate Macarons

- Makes about 24 Macarons -

Passionfruit Curd
225g passionfruit pulp
140g sugar
125g unsalted butter, cut into cubes (can be straight from the fridge)
5 egg yolks (around 200g worth)
1/4 tsp salt

Macaron Shells
170g ground almonds
300g powdered sugar
180g egg whites, at room temperature
160g sugar
A few drops of yellow gel food colouring
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Melted white chocolate and melted passionfruit chocolate to finish (optional - we used Valrhona passionfruit)

White Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
125g egg whites
200g granulated sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
455g (16oz, or four sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
250g white chocolate, melted and cooled.

 

- PROCESS -

PASSIONFRUIT CURD

Place the Passionfruit pulp in a blender or food processor. Pulse a few times to separate the seeds from the pulp. Strain through a sieve into a medium saucepan. Reserve the seeds.

Add the remainder of the ingredients to the saucepan, and place over medium heat. Whisk well to combine. Place over medium low heat, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until the curd has thickened significantly - enough that it coats the back of a spoon well, and when you run a finger through, it leaves a very clear track.

Strain through a fine mesh sieve into an airtight container, and stir in 1-2 Tbsp of the reserved passionfruit seeds. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the surface of the curd. Refrigerate until completely cool, ideally overnight.

 

MACARON SHELLS

Preheat oven to 300˚f / 150˚c, and position the oven rack in the centre of the oven. Using a round cookie cutter or the base of a large piping tip (something about 1.5 inches in diameter), draw a "template" for your macarons on a piece of parchment paper, leaving about 3/4" between each circle. 

Combine the almond meal and powdered sugar together in a large bowl. Sift the mixture twice, to ensure there are no large lumps and that the mixture is properly aerated. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar, increase the mixer speed, and whip on high until the meringue starts to firm up. Add yellow gel food colour a few drops at a time, until the desired colour is reached. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated. Continue to whip until the meringue forms stiff peaks (there is a good example here). 

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Add half of the ground almond and powdered sugar mixture, and fold into the meringue. You want to deflate the meringue just a little at this stage, to combine the meringue and ground almond mixture. 

Add the remaining ground almond mixture, and stir lightly to combine. Now comes the important part - mixing the batter to the correct consistency. Again, this video does a good job of explaining it. Fold the mixture in a series of 'turns', deflating the batter by spreading it against the side of the bowl. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat the movement - scooping the batter from the bottom of the bowl, and spreading it against the side. Continuously check the consistency of the batter - you want it to flow like lava when you lift the spatula from the bowl, and you should be able to 'draw' a figure 8 with it, without the batter breaking (again, watch lots of videos to get an idea! They help so much). This step can take some practice until you know what it should feel and look like. If in doubt you are better to under mix them than over mix them - the process of putting the batter into the bag and piping out will help mix a little too.

Fit a large pastry bag with a medium sized round tip, such as an ateco #805. Place the macaron template on a sheet pan, and place a second piece of parchment over it. Holding the piping bag at a 90˚ angle to the surface, pipe out the batter into blobs the size of the circles drawn on the template. Finish off each piped circle with a little "flick" of your wrist to minimise the batter forming a point (it will still form a small one, but we can get rid of this with banging). Remove the template from under the macarons.

Hold the baking sheet in two hands, and carefully but firmly, evenly bang it against the bench. Repeat this a few more times - this will get rid of any air bubbles, remove points on the top, and help them to spread out slightly. 

Repeat the piping and banging process until you have used up all of the batter - I usually make three sheet pans worth.

Allow the macarons to dry at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes, or until they form a skin that you can touch without your finger sticking to them. This time will drastically vary depending on the humidity. 

About fifteen minutes before you are going to bake the macarons, place a spare sheet pan in the oven to preheat - this is going to be used to place under the pan with the macarons on it, to double up, which should help with even baking. Bake the macarons one sheet at a time - place the sheet with the macarons on the preheated sheet, and place in the oven. 

Bake for approximately 18 minutes, rotating the pan once during the cooking process, and checking for doneness after 15 minutes. The macarons should develop a foot (the ruffled part on the bottom of the macaron), and bake without browning. To see if they are done - press down lightly on a shell. If the foot gives way, it needs a little longer, if it is stable, then it is close to being done. Test a macaron shell - if you can peel it away cleanly from the paper, they are done. If they are stable but cannot yet peel away cleanly, give them another minute or so. Again, this part takes a little trial and error depending on your oven. If they seem done but do not peel away cleanly, do not worry - there is a little trick for that! 

Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on the sheet pan for 10 minutes before peeling off the parchment paper and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat the baking with the remaining trays, using the same spare sheet pan to double up.

If your macs do not peel away cleanly, place them, on the parchment paper, into the freezer for 5-10 minutes, then peel away from the paper. 

Store cooled macarons in an airtight container until ready to use. 

WHITE CHOCOLATE SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM

Place the egg whites, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or a heat proof bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the water does not touch the bowl. Heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture registers 160˚f / 70˚c on a thermometer and the sugar has dissolved. Carefully transfer the bowl to the mixer, and fit with the whisk attachment. Whip the egg whites on high until they are white and fluffy, and the mixture has cooled, 8-10 minutes. Add the butter one chunk at a time. The mixture may look curdled - but just keep mixing! Once all the butter is incorporated, mix on high for a further 10 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated.

While the buttercream is mixing, melt the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl in 30 second increments in the microwave. Set aside to cool slightly. 

Once the buttercream has finished mixing, and is smooth and silky, add in the cooled chocolate. Mix for a further 2-3 minutes, then switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low for one minute to remove any air. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip.

ASSEMBLY

Place the shells on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, Melt white chocolate and passionfruit chocolate, and place into small piping bags. Snip a small hole in the end of each bag, and drizzle the shells with chocolate. Place in the fridge for 5-10 minutes to set the chocolate. Place the passionfruit curd into a small piping bag fitted with a round tip. Pair up each macaron shell with another of an equal size. Pipe a ring of buttercream on one half of the shell, then a blob of the curd in the middle. Place the second shell carefully on top. Repeat with the rest of the macarons. Macarons are best chilled overnight to allow the flavours to meld, but can also be eaten immediately. 

Passionfruit and White Chocolate Macarons - Vanilla bean macaron shell, filled with white chocolate swiss meringue buttercream and tangy passionfruit curd, then finished with a chocolate drizzle. #frenchmacaron #macarons #passionfruit

Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Macarons


 
Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Macarons - A classic pink shell, filled with a homemade raspberry quick jam, and a silky Dark chocolate swiss meringue buttercream, deepened with a little black cocoa. These are a classic valentine's day pairing, and would be perfect as a gift, but would also make an amazing anytime treat for a chocolate or berry lover. #frenchmacaron #valentinesmacaron
Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Macarons - A classic pink shell, filled with a homemade raspberry quick jam, and a silky Dark chocolate swiss meringue buttercream, deepened with a little black cocoa. These are a classic valentine's day pairing, and would be perfect as a gift, but would also make an amazing anytime treat for a chocolate or berry lover. #frenchmacaron #valentinesmacaron
Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Macarons - A classic pink shell, filled with a homemade raspberry quick jam, and a silky Dark chocolate swiss meringue buttercream, deepened with a little black cocoa. These are a classic valentine's day pairing, and would be perfect as a gift, but would also make an amazing anytime treat for a chocolate or berry lover. #frenchmacaron #valentinesmacaron
Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Macarons - A classic pink shell, filled with a homemade raspberry quick jam, and a silky Dark chocolate swiss meringue buttercream, deepened with a little black cocoa. These are a classic valentine's day pairing, and would be perfect as a gift, but would also make an amazing anytime treat for a chocolate or berry lover. #frenchmacaron #valentinesmacaron
Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Macarons - A classic pink shell, filled with a homemade raspberry quick jam, and a silky Dark chocolate swiss meringue buttercream, deepened with a little black cocoa. These are a classic valentine's day pairing, and would be perfect as a gift, but would also make an amazing anytime treat for a chocolate or berry lover. #frenchmacaron #valentinesmacaron
Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Macarons - A classic pink shell, filled with a homemade raspberry quick jam, and a silky Dark chocolate swiss meringue buttercream, deepened with a little black cocoa. These are a classic valentine's day pairing, and would be perfect as a gift, but would also make an amazing anytime treat for a chocolate or berry lover. #frenchmacaron #valentinesmacaron

Hi! Happy Happy Wednesday! Things have been a little hectic around here - we are preparing to shoot our new collection for the studio this Saturday, which is super exciting, but it wouldn’t be shoot prep without a wee bit of last minute running around trying to get everything sorted (currently waiting for an email from a lady about a fig tree). I wanted to quickly pop by and share this recipe before we post our epic Valentine’s day box for tomorrow, because 1. the recipe takes up loads of space, but 2. these are so delicious and cute that I figured they would need their own post so we could really show them off. I’m currently sitting in our fave coffee shop right by Jase’s house - I just left there where we literally just shot these, so this might be a new record for shoot-edit-post.

For our February Macaron recipe we kept it kinda cliche Valentines day with Raspberry and Chocolate. I’m really not a huge Valentines fan, but I can’t resist making a whole heap of pink stuff. We went with a pink shell, which we filled with a dark chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream, darkened with a little black cocoa, which turned out to be the most amazing tasting thing ever - all dark chocolate buttercream will have cocoa in it from now on. The inside got a wee dollop of a raspberry quick jam - I made my own, but you can absolutely use a store bought one to save some time!

These Macs were a part of our Valentine’s cookie box, which is coming tomorrow - but they would be perfect on their own, as a valentine’s gift, or just for a little anytime treat.

A few wee tips:

  • Everything I know about Macarons - all the tips and tricks I can think of, are in this post

  • We used Black cocoa in the buttercream, but a dutch cocoa would work great too if you don’t have black cocoa.

  • You will have some Swiss Meringue Buttercream left over - you can either half the recipe if you don't want this, or it keeps super well in the fridge if you wanted to use it for another project. I find that making half a batch of buttercream can be a little tricky, depending on your mixer. Plus I think if you're going to go to the effort you might as well make lots to use again! It goes perfectly on a sheet cake - it would be epic on this banana cake.

  • The Raspberry jam does need a little time to cool, so make sure you account for this. I like to make my own, but store bought is also perfect - you can even get a few flavours to mix up the filling if you like. Again - this will make a bit more than you need, but it’s a great thing to have around.

 

 

Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Macarons

- Makes about 24 macarons -

Macaron Shells
170g ground almonds
300g powdered sugar
180g egg whites, at room temperature
160g sugar
Gel food colouring - we used Electric Pink, and one drop of superblack by americolor
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Raspberry Quick Jam
375g frozen raspberries
400g granulated sugar


Dark Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
1/2 cup (123g) egg whites, or 4 large egg whites
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
455g (16oz, or four sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
250g dark chocolate
1/4 cup (25g) Black cocoa or dutch process cocoa

 

- PROCESS -

MACARON SHELLS

Preheat oven to 300˚f / 150˚c, and position the oven rack in the centre of the oven. Using a round cookie cutter or the base of a large piping tip (something about 1.5 inches in diameter), draw a "template" for your macarons on a piece of parchment paper, leaving about 3/4" between each circle. 

Combine the almond meal and powdered sugar together in a large bowl. Sift the mixture twice, to ensure there are no large lumps and that the mixture is properly aerated. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar, increase the mixer speed, and whip on high until the meringue starts to firm up. Add pink gel food colour a few drops at a time, until the desired colour is reached. Add one very small drop of black if desired to deepen the colour. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated. Continue to whip until the meringue forms stiff peaks (there is a good example here). 

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Add half of the ground almond and powdered sugar mixture, and fold into the meringue. You want to deflate the meringue just a little at this stage, to combine the meringue and ground almond mixture. 

Add the remaining ground almond mixture, and stir lightly to combine. Now comes the important part - mixing the batter to the correct consistency. Again, this video does a good job of explaining it. Fold the mixture in a series of 'turns', deflating the batter by spreading it against the side of the bowl. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat the movement - scooping the batter from the bottom of the bowl, and spreading it against the side. Continuously check the consistency of the batter - you want it to flow like lava when you lift the spatula from the bowl, and you should be able to 'draw' a figure 8 with it, without the batter breaking (again, watch lots of videos to get an idea! They help so much). This step can take some practice until you know what it should feel and look like. If in doubt you are better to under mix them than over mix them - the process of putting the batter into the bag and piping out will help mix a little too.

Fit a large pastry bag with a medium sized round tip, such as an ateco #805. Place the macaron template on a sheet pan, and place a second piece of parchment over it. Holding the piping bag at a 90˚ angle to the surface, pipe out the batter into blobs the size of the circles drawn on the template. Finish off each piped circle with a little "flick" of your wrist to minimise the batter forming a point (it will still form a small one, but we can get rid of this with banging). Remove the template from under the macarons.

Hold the baking sheet in two hands, and carefully but firmly, evenly bang it against the bench. Repeat this a few more times - this will get rid of any air bubbles, remove points on the top, and help them to spread out slightly. 

Repeat the piping and banging process until you have used up all of the batter - I usually make three sheet pans worth.

Allow the macarons to dry at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes, or until they form a skin that you can touch without your finger sticking to them. This time will drastically vary depending on the humidity. 

About fifteen minutes before you are going to bake the macarons, place a spare sheet pan in the oven to preheat - this is going to be used to place under the pan with the macarons on it, to double up, which should help with even baking. Bake the macarons one sheet at a time - place the sheet with the macarons on the preheated sheet, and place in the oven. 

Bake for approximately 18 minutes, rotating the pan once during the cooking process, and checking for doneness after 15 minutes. The macarons should develop a foot (the ruffled part on the bottom of the macaron), and bake without browning. To see if they are done - press down lightly on a shell. If the foot gives way, it needs a little longer, if it is stable, then it is close to being done. Test a macaron shell - if you can peel it away cleanly from the paper, they are done. If they are stable but cannot yet peel away cleanly, give them another minute or so. Again, this part takes a little trial and error depending on your oven. If they seem done but do not peel away cleanly, do not worry - there is a little trick for that! 

Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on the sheet pan for 10 minutes before peeling off the parchment paper and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat the baking with the remaining trays, using the same spare sheet pan to double up.

If your macs do not peel away cleanly, place them, on the parchment paper, into the freezer for 5-10 minutes, then peel away from the paper. 

Store cooled macarons in an airtight container until ready to use. 

 

RASPBERRY QUICK JAM

In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, mash the raspberries roughly. Bring to a rolling boil, and then add the sugar. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a container or sterilised jars, and allow to cool completely before using. Store in the fridge.

DARK CHOCOLATE SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM

Place the egg whites, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or a heat proof bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the water does not touch the bowl. Heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture registers 160˚f / 70˚c on a thermometer and the sugar has dissolved. Carefully transfer the bowl to the mixer, and fit with the whisk attachment. Whip the egg whites on high until they are snowy white and fluffy, 8-10 minutes. Add the butter one chunk at a time. The mixture may look curdled - but just keep mixing! Once all the butter is incorporated, mix on high for a further 10 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated.

While the buttercream is mixing, melt the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl in 30 second increments in the microwave. Set aside to cool slightly. 

Once the buttercream has finished mixing, and is smooth and silky, add in the cooled chocolate, and sift in the cocoa. Mix for a further 2-3 minutes, then switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low for one minute to remove any air. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a round tip (we used Ateco #805). 

FILLING AND ASSEMBLY

Place the raspberry jam into a small piping bag fitted with a round tip. Pair up each macaron shell with another of an equal size. Pipe a ring of buttercream on one half of the shell, then a blob of the compote in the middle. Place the second shell carefully on top. Repeat with the rest of the macarons. Macarons are best chilled overnight to allow the flavours to meld, but can also be eaten immediately. 

Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Macarons - A classic pink shell, filled with a homemade raspberry quick jam, and a silky Dark chocolate swiss meringue buttercream, deepened with a little black cocoa. These are a classic valentine's day pairing, and would be perfect as a gift, but would also make an amazing anytime treat for a chocolate or berry lover. #frenchmacaron #valentinesmacaron
Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Macarons - A classic pink shell, filled with a homemade raspberry quick jam, and a silky Dark chocolate swiss meringue buttercream, deepened with a little black cocoa. These are a classic valentine's day pairing, and would be perfect as a gift, but would also make an amazing anytime treat for a chocolate or berry lover. #frenchmacaron #valentinesmacaron
Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Macarons - A classic pink shell, filled with a homemade raspberry quick jam, and a silky Dark chocolate swiss meringue buttercream, deepened with a little black cocoa. These are a classic valentine's day pairing, and would be perfect as a gift, but would also make an amazing anytime treat for a chocolate or berry lover. #frenchmacaron #valentinesmacaron