Monday, 10 September 2018

Macaron Ice Castle on Lavender Vanilla Honey Lemon Cream Cheese Chiffon Cake

I was excited as well as apprehensive about embarking on this bake as it's my first time making a castle cake out of macarons! Presenting my version of ice castle macaron cake on top of a lavender vanilla honey lemon cream cheese chiffon cake!


I often get requests for character bakes which are essentially illegal since I don't have the license to bake them. So I turn down those requests (unless they are from my family or friends). But there is a leeway where bakers can exercise their creativity to create a scenario where it is entirely out of their imagination. And it won't be considered copyright infringement anymore. That's why I have a case of Pororo and Petty meet Elsa and Anna, along with a couple of penguins at a castle that is designed entirely from my adaptation of what is feasible for macarons 😆.

It was a challenge to make these macarons as there are 12-13 different colours involved! I had to use the Italian method for an undertaking like this. You may use your favourite macaron recipe or any recipe in our blog. You may refer to my macaron books Creative Baking: Macarons and the upcoming Creative Baking: Macaron Basics for a more systematic review of the basics and piping techniques. I used the reduced sugar Italian method recipe for this batch but scaled down to 220g of almond flour.

Freshly baked shells!

Shells decorated with royal icing and edible markers. I made these along with some doughnut and seashell macarons.

I filled the shells and macaron cake base with vanilla honey lemon cream cheese filling. Recipe can be found here.

The assembly of castle macaron cake begins with layering four layers of large round macaron shells and three layers of cream cheese filling.

It takes some planning and calculations to decide how big to make each piece in the castle structure. Some Math involved which can be an interesting mental challenge 😉.

Assembled castle. I used royal icing to add on some snowflake designs.

Looking really adorable with the inhabitants!

I baked some plain vanilla chiffon sheet cakes for the name and top layer of the chiffon cake.

I love the look of the soft colours and smooth, velvety surface!

What I really want to share in this blog post is the recipe for the chiffon sponge cake and the cake frosting. The various ingredients I used here work harmoniously together to bring about a delicious flavour. It's a mouthful to read out aloud but each ingredient is crucial -- lavender, vanilla, honey, lemon and cream cheese.

Reduced egg yolk lavender milk cream cheese chiffon cake
Ingredients (makes two 9.5" cakes):
Egg yolk batter
2 egg yolks
20g caster sugar
84g canola oil/ vegetable oil
100g lavender milk*
50g cream cheese
1tbs vanilla extract
120g cake flour
1/4 tsp salt
A pinch of lemon zest

Meringue
8 egg whites
1/3 tsp cream of tartar
110g caster sugar

*Boil 150g of milk. Pour hot milk into a bowl with 2tbs of dried lavender flowers. Steep for 10 min. Strain out the lavender flowers and measure out 100g of lavender milk.

Steps:
1. Melt softened cream cheese in hot lavender milk. Heat over low heat if necessary. Set aside to cool.

2. Line bottom of cake tins with parchment paper. Set oven rack to lowest or second lowest position. Place a tray of water at bottom of oven (optional). Preheat oven to 160℃.

3. Prepare egg yolk batter. Whisk egg yolks with caster sugar until pale and thick. Add oil and whisk until well combined. Add cream cheese lavender milk, vanilla and salt and mix until well combined. Gradually add in sifted cake flour and whisk until no trace of flour is seen. Add lemon zest and mix well.

4. Make the meringue. In a clean metal bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until firm peaks form, gradually adding in caster sugar once the egg whites are foamy.

5. Quickly but gently fold the meringue into egg yolk batter in three batches. Divide the batter among the two baking trays. Use a chopstick to swirl the batter gently to pop any trapped air bubbles.

6. Bake for 5 min then reduce temperature to 140℃ and bake for another 25 min. Reduce temperature to 130℃ and bake for another 10min. The lower temperature used here is to prevent browning of the cake as the requester prefers have it as pale as possible.

The cake frosting recipe is just the macaron filling with stabilized whipped cream added in order to give it a lighter taste and texture to match the chiffon cake.

Vanilla honey lemon cream cheese frosting recipe
Ingredients:
150g vanilla honey lemon cream cheese filling
125g whipping cream, poured into mixing bowl and chilled in bowl
1 tbs icing sugar
1 tsp gelatin powder
1 tbs water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Steps:
1. Make the stabilized whipped cream. Sprinkle gelatin over water in a small microwave safe bowl. Let it bloom for a few minutes. Microwave on medium power for 10-20 seconds. Stir until gelatin is dissolved. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

2. Add icing sugar and vanilla extract to chilled whipping cream. Beat on low speed using electric mixer until it starts to thicken. Gradually add gelatin and whisk the cream by hand. Continue whisking until the cream is able to hold a firm peak. Be careful not to over whip or the cream will separate.

3. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese filling in a few additions.


Transfer the frosting into piping bag and fill the bottom layer of cake with frosting.

I drizzled a little more honey on top of the frosting.

Assembled cake!

I inserted 6 jumbo straws into the chiffon cake to act as dowels to support the heavy macaron cake on top.

The requester is kind enough to send me a few photos of the party in school.

Here's a picture of the cake at the party venue

Thank God that it was very well received in terms of looks and taste!

With love,
Phay Shing


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