I had a request for dinosaur themed cake and came up with this. As you can tell, Jaycus the birthday boy loves chocolate, so the macarons and cake flavour is naturally chocolate as well. It has been a while since I made a large 9.5" cake with Swiss meringue buttercream filling so thank God it was very well received with everyone at the party loving the cake, commenting that it was not too sweet, including the macarons!
Just to share some photos of the macaron making process...
Piping the dinosaurs...
Freshly baked shells!
Dinosaurs that are for cake deco are mounted on cake pop sticks as cake toppers.
I used the reduced sugar recipe for the macaron shells here. Both regular and reduced sugar recipes can be found here. You may refer to my Creative Baking: Macarons book for a systematic presentation of the basics and complex shaped macarons. You may refer to my video tutorials for macaron basics and piping of complex shapes on the blog too.
The dark chocolate ganache filling recipe can be found here.
I baked thin layer chiffon sponge cakes for the grass and name. I will instead focus on the chocolate cake recipe here.
Chocolate chiffon cake
Ingredients (makes two 9.5" round cakes):
6 egg yolks
10g caster sugar or brown sugar
84g vegetable oil
90g fresh milk
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Kahlua coffee liqueur (or instant coffee granules)
1.5 tsp Kirsch (optional)
39g Dutch processed cocoa powder
78g cake flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
8 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
110g caster sugar
1. Line two 9.5" round pans with baking paper at the base. Set oven rack to second lowest position. Place a tray of water at base of oven (optional). Preheat oven to 160℃.
2. Prepare egg yolk batter. Whisk egg yolks and caster sugar until thick and pale. Add oil and whisk until well combined. Add milk, vanilla, coffee liqueur and Kirsch and mix well. Gradually sift in flour, salt, cocoa powder and baking powder, and whisk until no trace of flour is seen.
3. Prepare the meringue. In a clean metal bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until firm peaks form, gradually adding in sugar.
4. Quickly but gently fold the meringue into the egg yolk batter in three additions. Pour the batter into the prepared pans.
5. Bake at 160℃ for 5 minutes. Reduce temperature to 140℃ and bake for another 25 minutes. Reduce temperature to 130℃ and bake for another 10 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pans for 5 minutes before removing.
Chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream
50g Cocoa powder (I used Dutch processed)
400g reduced-sugar Vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream
Add sifted cocoa powder into smbc and beat with an electric mixer until well combined and fluffy.
Transfer into piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe onto bottom layer of cake. I like my creamed cakes naked with minimal cream between cake layers. I applied a little cream between the green layer cake and top layer of chocolate cake using a spatula.
As the dinosaurs are already very colourful, I decided to keep the background simple with only chiffon cake "grass" and the name of the birthday boy in blue chiffon cake cutouts.
Completed base cake
Please note that the recipe for cake and buttercream here have relatively low sugar content. If you have a sweet tooth, feel free to increase the amount of sugar. My recipients didn't have any complaints with the cake so rest assured that it is definitely yummy!
Store the macarons and chiffon cake in separate airtight boxes in the fridge to prevent the macarons from turning soggy during storage. Mount the macaron cake toppers only when you are about to display and serve the cake.