I didn't just make one set of Chase, Marshall, Rubble, Skye and Rocky. I made three!
Some of the piped shells!
I was experimenting with replacing some water with lemon juice for the Italian meringue since my experiment with raspberry juice worked. It's something I won't try again as it changed the nature of the sugar syrup and made the batter seem significantly more hygroscopic. It took a long time for the shells to dry 😂. I noticed that the sugar syrup seemed runnier than usual even though I boiled the syrup to 118℃. The acidity from the lemon juice prevents sugar crystals from forming in the syrup to the extent that it seems to change its viscosity. I experimented twice actually, with the first batch ending up in the bin. In the first round, I replaced half the water with lemon juice. The second time, I only replaced 5g (1tsp) of water with lemon juice and it was better but still caused problems.
And so...I won't recommend using lemon juice in making Italian meringue. So please refer to the recipe 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.
Freshly baked shells!
Decorating the shells also took quite a bit of patience and perseverance to see it to the end!
I used royal icing and edible black marker to add in the details.
I filled the macarons with filling that can allow for storage at cool room temperature for a week instead of fridge storage. This is because I used edible marker for quite a lot of the fine details and am afraid that condensation from refrigeration will cause the ink to smudge.
I filled the cake toppers with a mixture of dark chocolate, vegetable shortening, salt and vanilla bean paste
I filled the loose pieces with homemade salted caramel in the middle and a ring of white chocolate or dark chocolate on the outside.
I used the same recipe for the chocolate chiffon cake as here to make two 9.5" cakes, except that I used the cooked dough method over here to bring out the chocolatey goodness from cocoa powder.
Freshly baked chocolate cakes!
Filling the middle with vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream and fresh strawberries.
I baked some green and blue thin sheets of chiffon cake to decorate the cake.
If you ever make macaron cake toppers for a fairly naked chiffon cake, remember to pack the macarons and cake separately as the moisture from the cake will cause the macarons to turn soggy.
Thank God that the birthday boy was really happy with his birthday cake :)