Whenever you want to impress your friends or family I suggest making a beautiful pink layer cake with macarons with a flavorful strawberry buttercream.
I made my usual trusty yellow cake for the four cake layers, adding a tiny bit of strawberry flavouring and pink food colouring to the cake batter. For the icing I made a Swiss meringue buttercream, flavoured with strawberry jam. Then added more of the macarons on top as a cute cake topper, filled with the same buttercream that I used for the whole cake.
Hope you will try it out, and enjoy!
For the cake
355g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 medium eggs
225g unsalted butter, softened
400g white sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp strawberry essence + pink food colouring for half the cake
For the strawberry buttercream
400g butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cup sugar white sugar
7 large egg whites
1/2-2/3 cup strawberry jam
Place parchment paper in the bottom of four 7 or 8 inch round cake pans. Cut the paper so it fits well in the bottom circle of the pan.
Spray the pan and parchment paper with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt to combine. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and both sugars on medium-high speed about 2-3 minutes until pale and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla.
Alternately add the flour mixture and milk into the batter. Beat until smooth, occasional scraping bowl with a spatula. Gently fold in pink colouring and (optionally) strawberry essence.
Pour the batter among the cake pans and bake for 15-20 minutes or a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Cool in the pans for 5 mins and then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight.
For the strawberry buttercream
In a large heatproof bowl, whisk together egg whites and sugar. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the bowl. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk for 5 minutes, or until the mixture reaches 70°C (160°F) and the sugar has dissolved.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat about 5 minutes egg white mixture on high speed until cooled and thick.
Add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time and beat on low until incorporated.
Add strawberry jam and whip until smooth and thick.
If your cake layers are slightly domed in the middle you may need to slice a little bit off the top of them to make sure they are flat.
Place one cake layer on a serving plate or cake stand. Spread about 1 cup of strawberry buttercream on top in an even layer. Repeat with remaining cake layers then crumb coat the outside of the cake. Chill in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
Frost the outside of the cake with the strawberry buttercream and smooth with an offset spatula (make sure to leave at least a cup of buttercream behind if you are filling the macarons with it).
To make the macarons, follow the instructions for these plain macarons with my macaron recipe.
Fill baked and cooled macaron shell with the remaining buttercream.
Top cake with macarons and refrigerate overnight. Remove from the fridge at least 30 mins before serving.