This is, by far, the tallest thing that has ever come out of my kitchen. It was tall, people. Like over a foot tall. But that’s enough about the height of the cake. It was also delicious! Two layers of chocolate orange cake, with chocolate chip french macaron layers to fill in. Pretty amazing. The taste was as good as the cake was high. Yep, tall.
This cake was actually another product of my sister’s birthday. Sure, her birthday used to be a an occassion where she just got to pick her own dessert. But it’s turned into a challenge for me to outdo whatever I created the year before. And if last year’s was a monster, then this year’s was a beast. If you consider beasts to be bigger than monsters, that is.
But there is much more to this story than this: we had a party for my sister’s birthday. A Michael Jackson themed party. Alas, there was no time to take beautiful photos to show just how scrumptious this cake was between the karaoke and the moonwalking! So you don’t even get to see the true tallness of this cake! I know, such a tease. But you will see the Thriller glove sugar cookies that I made. And I certainly hope that makes up for it.
Chocolate Orange Macaron Layer Cake
Considering how impressive this cake looks, it was surprisingly easy to put together. It was frosted, and ready to be eaten all in a morning’s time. I love the chocolate orange combo, and so does my sister (and so does Michael Jackson, we’d like to believe), but the fruit/chocolate combo is obviously endless. Or you can make it pure chocolate. I have to say that the chocolate was a bit too much for me (but I’m a cinnamon and fruit flavored dessert girl, after all), so next time I would probably omit the chocolate chips from the macaron layers. The aforementioned tall thing is pretty important considering serving sizes – with this four layer cake, we were able to feed about 40 people with satisfying slices.
Chocolate Orange Macaron Layer Cake (all components adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
2 cups cake flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 sticks butter, room temperature
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup freshly brewed coffee or freshly made instant coffee, cooled to room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla
1 orange, zested
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9 inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper and butter the parchment paper.
In a bowl of a standing mixer, combine all dry ingredients, through the salt. Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds until everything is well combined. Add butter and buttermilk and blend, starting on low speed, increasing as it starts to become well combined. Beat for 2-3 minutes.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, coffee, vanilla and orange zest. With the mixer running, blend in the coffee mixture in 3 additions. When well blended, take a spatula and stir, scraping the bottom, ensuring that all of the dry ingredients have been thoroughly mixed in.
Divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack, in their pans until cool enough to handle, then turn out of pans and let the layers cool completely on the wire rack.
2.5 cups, or 10.5 oz. ground almonds
1 cup sugar
2 large pinches salt
2 tsp. vanilla (or 2 tsp. vanilla bean paste, or 1 vanilla bean)
6 large egg whites
Set the oven racks in the top third and bottom third of oven. Preheat the oven to 325. Spray two 9 inch cake pans with cooking spray. Line with parchment paper, and spray again. Set aside.
In a bowl, mix together the almonds, sugar and salt. With a mixer, whip egg whites until soft peaks form. With the mixer running, slowly add in the vanilla and remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar. Beat until the egg whites are stiff but not dry. Gently fold in the egg white mixture into the almond mixture until well combined. Add mini chocolate chips and stir. Divide evenly among the two pans, spreading to make sure that it covers all sides.
Bake macaron layers until golden and almost firm to the touch, rotating the pans half way through the baking. Bake for 40 minutes. Take out of oven and let cool, in the pan, on a wire rack until cool enough to handle. Carefully take the layers out of the pans and let cool completely on a wire rack.
6 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
4 cups powdered sugar
3 sticks butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup half and half
1 tablespoon vanilla
Place everything in a blender and blend until well combined. Add more half and half if needed for a better consistency.
1 jar good orange marmalade
On a plate, place a chocolate cake layer upside down. Spread with about 2 tablespoons of orange marmalade, or enough to cover the surface of the cake. Place a macaron layer on top of the marmalade. Spread a layer of the chocolate frosting on top. Place another layer of the chocolate cake layer on top of the frosting. Spread more orange marmalade on the cake layer. Repeat with macaron layer. Place the remainder of the frosting on top, covering the top and sides. Place in the refrigerator until ready to eat.