Lemon Meringue Layer Cake with Macarons

This cake was tasty, very tasty indeed. I made this cake for my boyfriend’s birthday, as he loves all things lemon and meringue – you may remember from last year. I was really happy with the flavour of this cake and the lemon curd that filled it, and the macarons turned out quite well, too. I’ve been a bit lucky with macarons of late, lets hope it stays that way!
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I pictured the merinuge on the outside to look a little different. It wasn’t as glossy and high as I would have liked, but I think it was because I didn’t make enough sugar syrup. However, that’s a minor detail. The part I loved most about making this cake was blowtorching it! I love watching the meringue cook and change colour, I could stand there all day and blowtroch…or maybe I just love playing with flames?! I used my usual vanilla cupcake recipe and just added a bunch of lemon juice and zest and it worked a real treat! It was moist, lemony and buttery all at the same time – yum 😉 The lemon curd recipe I used was from the ever wonderful Zumbo, and it was unsurprisingly delicious and unlike many lemon curds, it remained thick and did not leak out the sides of the macarons like lemon curds often do! Winner 🙂
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Macarons:

This recipe is Adriano Zumbo’s, and was published a couple of years ago in the Herald Sun. You will definitely need kitchen scales to make macarons.

  •  135g almond meal
  • 135g icing sugar
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 45g egg whites
  • 50g egg whites
  • 40g water
  • 1/4 tsp colouring gel, yellow

Spray four oven trays with cooking oil spray around the edges, and line with baking paper and set aside. Place almond meal and icing sugar in a large bowl, and sift together 3 times. Set aside, along with the 45g egg whites. Put 50g egg whites in a separate bowl. Heat caster sugar and water in a small saucepan, over a low-medium heat, until the sugar completely dissolves (if it slightly burns my tongue, it’s done!). If you do not want to burn your tongue, Zumbo suggests investing in a candy thermometer and heating the syrup until it reaches 118 degrees C (244 degrees F). If the syrup becomes thick and powdery in appearance, you will need to start again. This is because the sugar has been heated too much, too quickly, and instead of dissolving, it has cooked.

Begin beating the 50g egg whites with one hand, and with the other, stream the hot sugar syrup down the side of the bowl to create an italian meringue. Beat until stiff peaks form, the meringue should be thick and very glossy. If you want to add flavouring/colouring, now’s your moment. So add the colouring now. Just lightly beat them into the meringue. Pour meringue into the almond meal, icing sugar and 45g egg whites mixture and mix roughly to combine. When combined, fold mixture together (one single stroke) until there are no air bubbles left. Make a spread across the top of the mixture, and it should disappear in about 20 seconds. Spoon mixture into a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle. (If you don’t have a piping bag set, most supermarkets sell plastic ones, they are Multix brand, in an orange box and contain 5 piping bags with a few different nozzles, plus they’re only about $3. You should be able to find them in the baking aisle). Lock the bag by spinning the top around 4 times. Pipe 3-4cm rounds on the oven trays prepared earlier. Tap the bottom of the trays on the kitchen bench and let them sit for about half an hour, or until mixture is dry to the touch. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 145c (135c fan forced).

Place in oven and bake for 16-20 minutes. Check macarons at 16 minutes, and to test if they are cooked, pull a macaron off the baking paper. If it is stuck, keep cooking and checking regularly. Cool on trays for 5 minutes, then peel off and place on a wire rack. The mixture should make about 12 -15 large macarons, and about 25 smaller macarons. Macarons keep really well (about 5 days in the fridge) and some say that the longer they are refrigerated, the more the flavour is likely to develop. Macarons taste best when they are stored in the fridge, then brought down to room temperature to eat.

 Lemon Meringue Cake

Lemon Vanilla Cake: (adapted from Taste’s recipe)
  • 200g butter, chopped and softened
  • 1 3/4 cups caster sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • zest and juice of 3 lemons
Preheat the oven to 180c. Grease and line a round baking tin with baking paper (I have two tins, so I baked two cakes then another one), and set aside. Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and creamy. One at a time, add the eggs and beat until just combined. Add the lemon juice and zest and stir to combine. Add the flour and milk in alternate batches, ensuring you start and finish with the adding the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined. To ensure layers are even, weigh mixture and divide into three. I think, from memory, each layer weighed about 312g. Pour mixture into prepared tins and smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Place in oven for 15 – 20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. It should just be slightly golden. Let cakes cool in tins for approximately 15 minutes before removing and placing on a wire rack. When completely cooled, gently wrap cakes in glad wrap and if not using immediately, place in fridge until they are needed.
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Lemon Curd: (from Zumbarons: A Fantasy Land of Macarons p. 28)
  • 160g lightly beaten egg
  • 240g caster sugar
  •  Finely grated zest of 5 lemons
  • 160g fresh lemon juice (this amounted to be exactly 5 lemons for me)
  • 300g butter, chopped and softened
Put the egg and sugar in a saucepan and mix well. Stir in the lemon zest and juice. Heat over a low-medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture reaches 85c/185f (You can buy thermometers from homeware or discount stores). Strain the curd into a bowl, discarding the zest and any little bits of cooked egg (I had a few – it’s so easy to do!). Cool the mixture to 50c/133f. When the curd is at the right temperature, beat in the butter gradually until smooth and shiny. If not using straight away, refrigerate. If you are using immediately, allow to curd to cool until it becomes firm enough to pipe.
Lemon Curd
 
 Italian Meringue: (italian meringue is made by making a sugar syrup and adding it to the egg whites to create an extremely thick and glossy mixture)
  • 6 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup cold water
To make the sugar syrup, slowly heat the sugar and water in a saucepan on a low heat until sugar is dissolved. Turn the heat up to medium until mixture begins to bubble – some people heat their syrup to a certain temperature but I usually do it by touch, usually when the mixture is just too hot for my finger it is done! Begin beating the egg whites, and slowly stream the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl. Beat until mixture is thick and very glossy. NOTE – don’t make the meringue ahead of time otherwise it will become limp. Make it straight before you cover and blowtorch the cake.
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Assembly:
Place one layer of cake on a cake stand, and generously spread lemon curd on top. Place another layer of cake on top of the lemon curd, and once again cover it with lemon curd. Place the final layer of cake on top. and cover will lemon curd. There should be a couple of teaspoons left after the cake and macarons have been filled. With a round-edged knife, generously cover the cake completely with the meringue mixture, making flicks with the knife as you go to create an element of height and visual appeal 🙂 With a chef’s blowtorch, gently go over the meringue from about 10cm, depending on how brown you want the meringue to be. To completely blowtorch the cake took me about 10-15 minutes. If you are not serving the cake immediately, gently cover it with glad wrap and keep it in a cool dry place. Enjoy!
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Daisy Macaron Pops

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mummies out there! To help celebrate, I made these super delish Daisy Macaron Pops – sweet, edible flowers filled with lemon curd and raspberry and white chocolate ganache sound pretty exciting to me! I was a little worried about making these, but they turned out a lot better than expected. And I just thought making them ‘pops’ added a bit of novelty. As I had to make two batches, the first one had to sit and wait whilst I made the second one, and it did thicken up a little in the process. As a result, most of the last batch I baked cracked a bit. But that’s okay. They tasted awesome, even though some of the petals looked a bit more like nipples. That’s okay.

The choice of fillings, I must say, were oh so tasty. Lemon curd is one of my faves and when made well, is always a winner. The lemon daisies tasted sooooooooo amazing the next day. And of course, white choc and raspberry is a classic combination. I could have happily spent the rest of the night just staring into space and drinking the ganache out of the bowl. What a lovely mental image 🙂

Macarons: (obviously I made two separate batches for this recipe. TIP – when you are making more than one batch of macarons, don’t ever double the recipe. Measure out the ingredients on their own and make the batches separately. When you have made the first batch, simply give it a good stir every few minutes to stop it from thickening and becoming dry).

This recipe is Adriano Zumbo’s, and was published a couple of years ago in the Herald Sun. You will definitely need kitchen scales to make macarons.

  • 135g almond meal
  • 135g icing sugar
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 45g egg whites
  • 50g egg whites
  • 40g water
  • 1/2 tsp Wilton’s lemon yellow food colouring gel
  • 1/2 tsp Wilton’s terracotta pink food colouring gel
  • 1 packet of Wilton’s large lollipop sticks, for Aussies these can be found at The General Trader, or Wheel and Barrow. For others, or Aussies who like to shop online, you can buy them online from Wilton’s website

Preheat oven to 170c (160c fan forced). Spray four oven trays with cooking oil spray around the edges, and line with baking paper and set aside. Place almond meal and icing sugar in a large bowl, and sift together 3 times. Set aside, along with the 45g egg whites. Put 50g egg whites in a separate bowl. Heat caster sugar and water in a small saucepan until it is hot and syrupy (if it slightly burns my tongue, it’s done!). If white, thick, powdery bubbles begin to form around the edges, start again!

Begin beating the 50g egg whites with one hand, and with the other, stream the hot sugar syrup down the side of the bowl to create an italian meringue. Beat until peaks form, the meringue should be thick and very glossy. If you want to add flavouring/colouring, now’s your moment. So add the colouring now. Just lightly beat them into the meringue. Pour meringue into the almond meal, icing sugar and 45g egg whites mixture and mix roughly to combine.

When combined, fold mixture together (one single stroke) until there are no air bubbles left. Make a spread across the top of the mixture, and it should disappear in about 20 seconds. Set aside and make the second batch (repeat process from the start). Spoon the two mixtures into separate piping bags. On both of the piping bags, I used very small round nozzles, like these. You will need to buy a piping set for the finer nozzles, as the Multix ones only contain the wide round nozzle. I bought my piping set from Baking Pleasures. The reason why I used finer nozzles is because I thought it would give me more control over the mixture, as it can be quite oozy and messy. What ended up working best for me was using the wide round nozzle to pipe the rounds, and the finer nozzle for the petals. This worked really well and the mixture did not drip much at all. Once you’ve filled the piping bags, lock the bag by spinning the top around 4 times. Pipe 3-4cm rounds on the oven trays prepared earlier, then carefully pipe seven small and even petals around the circle. Gently tap the bottom of the trays and let them sit for about half an hour, or until mixture is dry to the touch.

Place in oven and bake for 7 minutes. Turn tray around in the oven and bake for another 8 minutes. To test, pull a macaron off the baking paper. If it is stuck, keep cooking and checking regularly. Cool on trays for 5 minutes, then peel off and place on a wire rack. The mixture should make about 30-35 daisies. Macarons keep really well (about 5 days in the fridge) and some say that the longer they are refrigerated, the more the flavour is likely to develop.

Fillings:

Lemon – for the lemon curd combine 2 eggs, 2 egg yolks, and 3/4 cup caster (white) sugar in a saucepan and whisk until smooth. Over a low heat, add 80g chilled butter, and the zest and juice of 2 lemons. Whisk until thickened. Strain through a sieve and refrigerate until firm. Using a piping bag with a round nozzle, pipe 3/4 tsp of lemon curd onto one half of a macaron daisy and place a lollipop stick in the middle, and sandwhich with another.

Raspberry and White Chocolate – to make the white chocolate ganache, combine 115g of white chocolate, 1/2 cup of thickened cream and 1/2 tsp of vanilla paste (optional) in a small saucepan. Stir continuously over a low heat until mixture has melted. Pour into a bowl/small container and leave at room temperature. To make the raspberry coulis, combine 1 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen) and 3/4 cup caster sugar, and 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Stir over a low heat until raspberries have disintegrated. Strain through a sieve to get rid of the seeds. A teaspoon at a time, carefully spoon the coulis into the white chocolate ganache. You can put as much or as little in as you like. I used all of my coulis. When I tasted it, I got the hit of white chocolate at the start, and then a slight raspberry tang. Refrigerate until firm. When ready to use, spoon ganache into a piping bag with a round nozzle, and pipe 3/4 tsp onto a macaron half and place the lollipop stick in the middle, and sandwich with another. Then take pretty pictures of them in real flowerpots 😛

Happy Mother’s Day! X

 

Orange and Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

These cute little cupcakes were requested from my boyfriend for his birthday, as he loves lemon curd and this awesome orange cake – so why not combine the two and add some delish toasted meringue? Yum!

I made this orange cake in a large ring pan with some toffee syrup for Easter last month, and it was a really lovely dessert. Plus, it is so easy to make – just throw everything in the food processor and off you go! Definitely one to keep in the repertoire.

I used this great recipe from Taste.com for the orange cake. Obviously I did not make the toffee syrup this time around (however, it is great if you’re making one big cake!), and as these were cupcakes I simply spooned 1 1/2 tsp of mixture into each cupcake case, and baked for 15 minutes on 160c, fan forced. After they have been cooked, let cakes cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then place on wire rack to cool completely. This mixture made 26 medium sized cupcakes, but if you wanted more or less, it’s fairly easy to double or half. To toast the meringue tops, you will need a chef’s blowtorch. You can buy them for about AU$25-30 at most homeware stores.

Lemon Curd: (also from Taste.com)

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup (165g) caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80g) chilled, chopped butter

In a small saucepan, whisk eggs, yolks and sugar until smooth. Place the saucepan over a low heat. Add the butter, juice and zest and whisk until thickened. Strain through a sieve, let curd cool, then refrigerate.

Italian Meringue:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup caster cugar
  • 50g water

Have egg whites ready in the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a bowl with the hand mixer ready to go. Over a low-medium heat, combine sugar and water in a saucepan to make a sugar syrup. Stir until sugar is dissolved and mixture is very hot. If thick, white bubbles begin to form, start again. Begin beating egg whites, and slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl to create an italian meringue. Beat until stiff peaks form, and the mernigue is thick and glossy. Fill a piping bag fitted with a round or star nozzle – I used a star nozzle but the meringue was not thick enough to take the shape, but they still looked nice enough 🙂 (TIP – don’t make the meringue until you are ready to pipe it. If it is sitting for over 5 minutes, it will begin to deflate and will lose its glossiness).

Assembly:

When the cupcakes have cooled, gently hollow out a small circle at the top, about 3-4 cm deep. Fill the holes with lemon curd. Gently pipe a swirl of meringue on the top of each cupcake. Once you have completed the topping, gently wave the blowtorch over the meringue – leave about 10cm, otherwise it will burn. You only want to lightly toast the meringue 🙂 Store cupcakes in airtight containers, but do not refrigerate, otherwise they will lose their fluffiness. They will keep for 4-5 days. You can definitely freeze the cupcakes with the lemon curd inside, although only top with the meringue when you are ready to serve.

Citrus and meringue is a classic combination that always works beautifully. You could mix up this version with a lemon cake and lime or orange curd, or even a blood orange cake and curd. The possibilities are endless!

Enjoy! X