red velvet macaron cake

Birthdays are pretty important in our family - and by important I mean that we care about the cakes. We celebrated another birthday recently for the person who normally makes all the cakes - my sister. This cake responsibility is pretty serious. While I have a good track record in the kitchen, I do not have the best track record for birthday cakes. 

The thing that always works regardless of the baker is a good ole funfetti cake. But for some reason, I didn't feel like I could stop there. I had the potential to do something more interesting. We were also a week late celebrating this particular birthday which kind of elevated the effort and pizazz required. The stakes had officially been raised.

I did a little research on Food52 and my favorite baking blogs (A Cozy Kitchen and Molly Yeh) - and ended up with this red velvet macaron cake. The birthday girl likes (and maybe loves) red velvet and macarons - so it felt like a safe bet. I'm still not totally convinced that it played out but everyone else kept saying how good it was. Were they being polite? Was it really good? I'll have to make it again to find out I guess.

Here are a few notes about this recipe:
  • DENSE //  I mean. So dense. It's like the heaviest cake I've ever made / held / baked / eaten in all my life. While the recipe pictures showed it as a TRIPLE layer cake, I can't even imagine it being more than one. Or Maybe you only cut into one layer at a time? 
  • INGREDIENTS // Making this cake is dead simple. Despite my continual agony over whipped egg whites, this is fine. You can pull this cake together in quick 20 minutes and then just sit back watching Gilmore Girls on repeat.
  • FORM // See above for comments on density.... I think the density would actually great if it was contained in some smaller direct portions. It seems dramatic to go from a cake to a mini tart but that's kind of what I'm proposing.
  • FREEZER FROSTING // There was a recipe note about how it would be easier to frost the cake if it had been in the freezer. Since I am a terrible froster, I jumped on this opportunity. It was absolutely easier and I'll totally do that again. The recipe did lie that the cake would defrost in 30-60 minutes. It felt like I was trying to cut into a block of ice at 90 minutes... so give yourself some time. Btw, I froze it overnight and frosted the next day before guests arrived.
  • FROSTING // The recipe originally called for a traditional cream cheese frosting - but both of my trains coming home that day got delayed so I quickly grabbed some canned frosting. While I'm not a HUGE fan of cream cheese frosting, I actually think it was a good miss in this case. I think cream cheese frosting would have just been too much when combined with the density of this cake.
Here's how it goes.
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans or three 6-inch round cake pans with cooking spray. Then, line the bottom with parchment paper and grease the paper with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the coconut, condensed milk, vanilla, cocoa powder and food coloring. You really do need a large bowl. I used the biggest one I had. 
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the egg whites and salt. Beat the eggs using an electric mixer until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Yes, really salt. I also thought that was odd.
  4. Gently fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture, about 1/3 of them at a time, and then distribute the batter evenly among the pans, spreading it out with a spatula for a smooth top. 
  5. Bake for 35–45 minutes, until the tops begin to brown. This is hard to tell because of the color and texture so just be watchful. I pulled mine out at about 35 minutes.
  6. Turn the cakes onto a wire rack and let them cool.
  7. When to frost? You can frost the cake and eat it as soon as it’s cooled to room temperature, but it will be much easier to decorate and cut if you wrap the layers individually in plastic wrap and stick them in the freezer overnight before decorating (they can also be prepared in advance and kept in the freezer for up to a week). Let the frozen cakes thaw on the counter for 30–60 minutes before serving.
Shopping List (original recipe)2 14-ounce bags sweetened coconut
2 cups sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon red food coloring
4 large egg whites
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 cans of store frosting

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