Any The Office fans here? A few weeks ago, I was reminded of the episode where Pam, Toby, and Oscar start The Finer Things Club. The club celebrated books, fine food, and art, and its members regarded themselves as an exclusive bunch of fancy humans. Admittedly, there was nothing fancy about their meetings, but it did spark a notion that I hold onto to this day: I, Kate Wood, am President and CEO of The Finer Things Club. Let me explain.
Some people just have a knack for fancy and take delight in frivolous details that others might overlook. My husband says I can walk into a store- any store – and pick out the single most expensive thing. Truthfully, he’s not wrong. And after years of living with champagne taste on a Bud Light budget, I have finally given into some of those desires in my own small ways: splurging on a fancy lotion, indulging in regular manicures, and baking over-the-top desserts, just because. Case-in-point: today’s macaron cake.
Macarons, on they own, are decidedly fancy. Those teeny, two-bite cookies are a go-to wherever French and Feminine Foods collide. But up until recently, I’d never considered the possibility of a macaron cake. When I recently spotted one made by Erin McDowell, I knew it was time to give it a try myself.
What I wound up with is a petite cake made of 4 oversized macaron shells and layered with buttercream. After a rest in the fridge, the cake softens barely into a chewy treat balanced sweetness and tremendous texture. Is it still over-the-top? Yes. Would any self-respecting member of The Finer Things Club approve? Absolutely.
Making a Macaron Cake
Making macarons can be a tricky feat, but I was suprised by how un-tricky the cake turned out. To make it, we start by whipping egg whites. Once stiff with high peaks, the egg whites fold into a mixture of almond flour and powdered sugar. The folding process here is of utmost importance and requires some patience, not to mention forearm strength. You want the mixture to be smooth and flow off a spatula like lava. Once smooth, pipe large 4-5″ circles on a sheet of parchment paper and allow the cookies to rest briefly. After baking the shells, they stack together with homemade buttercream and are decorated with additional mini macrons. Delightful!
Be sure to read through the instructions to ensure making this cake goes as smoothly as possible. If you get a chance to make it, please share a photo with me! I love to see what y’all create. Happy Baking, fancy friends!
If you like this macaron cake, you should try:
Peppermint Mocha Macarons
Strawberry Shortcake Macarons
Mini Layer Cake
Funfetti Mini Cakes
This macaron cake contains 4 oversized macaron shells layered with a soft American buttercream, all stacked into a mini cake!
- Prep Time: 60
- Cook Time: 25
- Total Time: 180
- Yield: 2-4 Servings
- Category: Dessert
For the macaron shells (recipe adapted from Tessa Huff):
- 1–1/4 cups plus 1-1/2 tablespoons (158 gm) almond flour
- 1–1/4 cups (158 gm) powdered sugar
- 105 gm egg whites (from 3 or 4 eggs)
- ½ cup plus 1-1/2 tablespoons (117 gm) granulated sugar
For the filling:
- ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1–1/2 cups powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon water
To prepare the macarons:
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper templates. If desired, stencil in pencil on the back of the parchment sheets 4 (4-5”) round circles. Set aside
- In a food processor, combine the almond flour and confectioner’s sugar and process the mixture for 1-2 minutes, stopping once to scrape down the bowl, until the almond flour is finely ground. Sift the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. Discard any large chunks left in the sieve or grind again until fine.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with a whisk attachment (make sure both are clean and grease-free!), whisk the egg whites on low speed until they begin to foam, form small tight bubbles, and turn opaque. Over the course of a couple of minutes, very gradually increase the speed to medium while slowly adding the granulated sugar. Mix on medium-high until stiff peaks form.
- Using a flexible rubber spatula, scrape the meringue off the whisk attachment into the bowl with the almond mixture. Begin folding the meringue and almond mixture together, five to ten folds. Scrape in the meringue from the mixer bowl and continue to fold the mixture until incorporated, rotating the bowl as your go. Every so often, gently deflate the meringue by smearing the batter around the side of the bowl. Stop folding once the correct consistency is achieved: the batter should flow very slowly like lava.
- Fill the prepared piping bag with the macaron batter. Holding the bag straight down, pipe the macarons on the parchment sheet, forming four 4-5” circles on one sheet. Space them out so they do not bleed into one another. Once one baking sheet is full, tap the bottom of the sheet a few times in each corner with the palm of your hang. Set aside. Pipe any remaining batter onto the second sheet. I made mini macarons by piping ¾” circles onto the prepared baking pan. Set the piped macaron shells aside to rest for 20 to 40 minutes, until a skin forms over the shells and the tops feel dry to the touch.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees with a rack in the center position.
- Bake the large macaron shells once sheet at a time for 22-25 minutes, until the tops feel secured to the feet but wiggle very slightly when nudged.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place it on a wire rack. Let the macaron shells cool on the baking sheets for at least 5 minutes. Bake mini macarons in the preheated oven for approximately 7-8 minutes. Allow to cool completely prior to filling.
- To make the filling, combine all of the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and beat with a heat mixer until smooth and fluffed. Pipe or spread the frosting onto the large macarons layers, stacking each and finishing the cake with extra frosting and any extra mini macarons, as desired. Allow to chill covered in the fridge for a few hours prior to serving.