Imagine all things wonderful in the world. Take a deep breath. Relax. Envision:
Cake. Macarons. Bourbon.
Is it possible? It is.
But, before we get to food-speak, let us talk word-speak.
Yes, word speak.
Now, if you have made it to line six of this post, you’ve already read that I used the word “envision”. Envision is a great word. It lets you imagine all the possibilities that life has to offer. Yep. I “envision” anything from a sprawling to-do list, to an elaborate craft idea, to a thesis proposal (and, assuming I make it this far, an actual thesis).
But. Wait a moment… what about a word for imagining how something tastes?
Yes, you can be loquacious and say, “well, I can imagine that this particular dessert will taste as such…” blah.blah.blah. But, dear fellow Anglophones, WHY isn’t there a word for envisioning a taste? (And, um, other blank-a-phones... does this word exist in your language?!)
Thus, today, I not only bring you two desserts (YES, TWO DESSERTS), I also bring you an innovation to the English language:
(P.S. … if there actually is a singular word that exists to describe how one thinks something might taste, please tell me so that I avoid making a fool out of myself in public when I proudly state that I entastualize on a daily basis.)
Since now everyone is a tad smarter due to my excellent vocabulary lesson, we can finally move on to the point of this whole rant: food.
There was (another!!) birthday this weekend! Yay, repeat: I love birthdays!
Two of my really great friends were celebrating together, so I decided that obviously a cake was needed, but why not throw in some macarons as well?
Since we have two desserts for this post, I’m going to go in chronological order. How normal of me?
I knew that I was going to make a chocolate-bourbon cake (patience! it's coming!), so I tried to entastualize what macaron would complement these sorts of flavours. I think a lot of inspiration came from the fact that it's now autumn, and I always associate this time of year with thick, warm, and spicy (or spiced) foods.
The brown sugar definitely adds that smokey tune to the macaron, while the pecan is a staple fall ingredient in many traditional desserts. I thought it could work?
Brown Sugar - Pecan Macarons - What you need:
- 40 grams of ground pecan (I pulsed mine in the food processor until finely ground)
- 70 grams of almond powder
- 200 grams of confectioner's sugar
- 100 grams of egg whites, aged at room temperature in a sealed container for 24 hours
- 35 grams of lightly packed brown sugar
Brown Sugar - Pecan Macarons - What you do:
In a large bowl, sift together the pecan, almond, and confectioner's sugar. Set aside.
In another large bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Slowly add in the brown sugar, and beat the egg whites and sugar until stiff peaks, or a meringue, forms. Don't over beat your egg whites here! They should be just thick enough to stay in the bowl if you turn it upside-down. (It becomes a really pretty colour because of the brown sugar!)
Add the egg whites to the nut and sugar mixture, and carefully fold the two mixtures together. Again - don't over beat the macaron batter. Try to keep your stirs (or "folds") to under 50.
Put the macaron batter in a pastry bag, and pipe out the macarons onto prepared baking pan lined with parchment paper. Tap the pan on a counter a few times to get rid of the air bubbles.
Bake at 145-50c (depending on your oven, if they start to crack: lower the heat, if there are no "feet" (the textured bottom part of the macaron), slightly raise the heat) for 14 minutes, rotating the baking pan half way through.
The macarons should pop off the parchment paper easily, and if they don't, put them back into the oven for a few more minutes.
Take them off the baking pan and allow them to cool on a cooling rack completely.
I used a frosting that was made out of vegan caramel (because the cake is vegan, and I used this caramel in the cake frosting as well).
For the caramel -
What you need:
- ¾ cup coconut milk solids (Place your can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight, then without shaking or stirring the coconut milk, open the can and scoop out the solid stuff that is at the top. In one can you should get about 1 cup to 1 1/4 cups.)
- ½ cup golden sugar
- 1 tablespoon bourbon (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
- 1 tsp sea salt
What you do:
Add the coconut milk solids, sugar, bourbon, and salt together in a medium sauce pan. Whisk the ingredients together well over a medium-high heat. The mixture will start to bubble, and when this happens reduce the heat to medium-low and allow to simmer (while whisking occasionally) for 30 minutes.
Allow the caramel to cool to room temperature before using it.
For the macaron filling (and later part of the cake frosting) -
What you need:
- 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
- ½ cup caramel
- ½ cup vegan margarine
- 3 tablespoons bourbon
What you do:
In a large bowl, beat together the caramel, margarine, and one cup of the sugar until smooth and creamy. Add in the second cup of the sugar. Beat together. Finally, add in the bourbon, one tablespoon at a time. The mixture should be smooth.
Place the macaron filling in a pastry bag and pipe into macarons!
(And then he disappeared?)
And there was also a (vegan) cake!
Chocolate-Bourbon Cake - What you need:
- 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoons nutmeg
- 1 cup golden sugar
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup oil
- 1 cup apple sauce
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 3/4 cup bourbon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Chocolate-Bourbon Cake - What you do:
Preheat the oven to 180c. Prepare two cake pans by greasing them with margarine and coating them with either cocoa powder or flour.
In a large bowl, beat together the oil and sugars until creamy. Add in apple sauce, bourbon, and vanilla. Beat until well combined.
In another large bowl, stir together the flour baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Stir in sifted cocoa powder.
In three additions add the flour to the wet mixture, beating the batter well after each addition.
Beat in the vinegar. Mix the batter together until everything is completely incorporated.
Separate the batter into the two cake pans. Bake at 180c for 20-25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
For the frosting, I made another batch of the macaron filling, then added 3/4 cup of cocoa powder to it. I beat everything together well until it was smooth and creamy. I frosted the layers and sides of the cake with the chocolate frosting.
On the top of the cake, I used the leftover filling from the macarons.
Leave no man behind.
(Please note the handy, made-to-transport, cardboard cake stand.)
I promise I really meant to take a picture of the inside of the cake, but after we cut it at the party it just never happened. I mean, obviously I wasn't double fisting with a glass of wine in one hand and a piece of cake in the other.
That would be unclassy, and by extension, so un-Jessica. I guess it just slipped my mind? That's more like the Jessica I know... (third person much?).
Oh! And final cake comment (is there ever REALLY a final cake comment?), a friend of mine who has tasted quite a few Bakecetera creations asked if this cake was vegan at the party. He then corrected himself quickly to say: "Well, I know this cake is vegan, because everything you make is vegan, but it doesn't taste vegan!"
For all the vegan skeptics out there: it really can be like a normal cake! (Even though I still swear by the Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes already on Bakecetera AND the normal "Birthday Cake" by Bakecetera. Delicious.)
Or... maybe it was just the bourbon? : )
(Ahem, new baking tactic: get everyone tipsy before you feed them?)
Baking soundtrack - Tunes to inspire your inner baker:
Ok, this is a bit old school... but I'm in love with Thomas Von Party in so many different ways. (Ahem, great music and he is just SO pretty.)
The original podcast that I was infatuated with today was from 30 April, 2007. You can get it on itunes via "Sid Loves Turbo" podcasts, but it's discontinued, thus it was difficult for me to find to share with you!
But, never fear, here is a little something something to get your knees shaking and toes tapping: