One of my mom's favourite cookies is white chocolate macadamia nut so I thought I would try to make it in cake form for her birthday. I'm proud of myself because I took 4 different recipes and put them together to create a cake for her. All of the components were quite tasty on their own, but when I put it all together it wasn't as magical as I'd imagined it would be. Not that it tasted bad, it just didn't have any oh my god this is so good reactions.
I loved the macadamia cake and I once again used 8 inch cake pans instead of the called for 9 inch so I got to experience the wonderful exploding cake phenomenon. Okay well it didn't explode but it definitely baked out of the pan in scary proportions. However this made for a nice delicious muffin like top that I snacked on while putting the cake together. (And I have since purchased 9 inch cake pans, though I've yet to use them.) The icing is the buttercream icing from the yule log Daring Bakers' challenge that changed my mind about buttercream. (Previously I greatly disliked it but after trying this style - Swiss buttercream? - I was hooked.) Instead of adding espresso and rum, I added coconut extract. The macadamia praline was easy to make, and this time I let the sugar melt and caramelize before adding the nuts (as I did when making the pecan praline for the caramel cake with caramel cream cheese frosting). I seem to do that a little more often than I'd like - adding ingredients before they're supposed to be added (in the case of the praline when I did this it resulted in a very grainy praline) or adding them when I'm not supposed to (like when I made key lime pie and added the whipped cream intended for the top of the pie to the egg/lime mixture). Anyway, this all makes me a better baker right...?
The white chocolate whipped cream was an experience. I used Dorie Greenspan's recipe (that was used in one of the first few Tuesday's With Dorie recipes for a black and white chocolate cake). I knew that if I didn't use good quality white chocolate I was risking things not turning out, but I didn't want to go out and buy more Callebaut chocolate so I combined some delicious Callebaut with some okay but not equally delicious Chipits white chocolate chips. Well as you can guess, this did not work out so well. Add on to that the fact that I was impatient and didn't wait for the melted white chocolate to cool enough before adding it to the whipped cream. What I ended up with was not whipped cream, but it did taste good (though it was releasing water - if that makes any sense). I recalled reading on Lynn's blog about how she turned a similar experience into buttercream, so I thought I would try to whip the white chocolate whipped cream like crazy and see what happened. And I did kind of get something resembling buttercream.
Anyway, I'd highly recommend the macadamia cake, I want to try out the white chocolate whipped cream again because I'm sure it's delicious, the macadamia praline was really good, and the buttercream recipe is also amazing though I think the coconut extract didn't quite fit in as seamlessly as I'd hoped.
If this sounds good, you might also like:
White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
Elvis Fluffernutter Cake
Bill's Big Carrot Cake
Caramel Cake with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
White Chocolate Coconut Macadamia Nut Cake
White Chocolate Whipped Cream
Adapted from The Essential Baker, Simply Scones, Perfect Cakes and The Williams-Sonoma Collection: Dessert, Baking: From My Home to Yours
For the Macadamia Nut Cake
1 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp all purpose flour
12 oz (24 tbsp, 3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups superfine (berry) sugar
6 extra large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup toasted, unsalted macadamia nuts
To Make the Macadamia Nut Cake
Preheat to 325F. Generously butter the inside of two 9 inch round cake pans. Place parchment in the bottom of the cake pan.
In a large mixing bowl, use the flat beater attachment and beat the butter on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the sugar and cream together. Stop occasionally and scrape down the sides of the bowl. One at a time, add the eggs, stopping to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl after each addition. At first the mixture may look curdled as the eggs are added, but as you stop and scrape down the bowl, the mixture will smooth out. Add the sour cream and vanilla to the butter mixture and blend well.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Combine 1/2 cup of this mixture with the macadamia nuts in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the nuts are very finely ground, about 1 minute. Add the ground nuts to the rest of the dry ingredients and stir to blend completely.
With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in 4 stages. Blend well after each addition and stop often to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the cakes are golden and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake pans from the oven and cool completely on racks. Invert the pans to remove the cakes and peel the parchment paper off.
For the Coconut Buttercream
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
12 tablespoons (1.5 sticks or 3/4 cups) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons coconut extract
To Make the Coconut Buttercream
Whisk the egg whites and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer. Set the bowl over simmering water and whisk gently until the sugar is dissolved and the egg whites are hot. Attach the bowl to the mixer and whip with the whisk on medium speed until cooled. Switch to the paddle and beat in the softened butter and continue beating until the buttercream is smooth. Beat coconut extract into the buttercream.
For the White Chocolate Whipped Cream
3 ounces premium-quality white chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cups heavy cream
To Make the White Chocolate Whipped Cream
Put the white chocolate in a metal bowl and put the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Stir frequently to melt the chocolate evenly. Meanwhile, bring 1/2 cup of the heavy cream to a boil.
When the white chocolate is melted, remove the bowl from the pan. Pour the hot cream into the melted chocolate and let it sit for a minute. Using a small spatula, stir the chocolate gently until it is smooth. Let it sit on the counter until it reaches room temperature - it can't be even a bit warm when you add it to the whipped cream.
Working with the stand mixer with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the remaining 1 cup heavy cream only until it holds the softest peaks. Turn the machine to high, add the cooled white chocolate all at once and continue to beat until the whipped cream holds firm peaks. Turn the whipped cream into a bowl, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 6 hours.
For the Macadamia Praline
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp water
3/4 cup lightly salted macadamia nuts
To Make the Macadamia Praline
Have an oiled or parchment lined baking sheet ready to put the praline on. In a small saucepan, stir together the sugar and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook without stirring for 4 minutes, or until the mixture turns amber and caramelizes. Immediately stir in the macadamia nuts and stir to coat the nuts with the syrup. Immediately scrape the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Cool for 20 minutes or until hardened. Transfer the mixture to a cutting board and chop or break up the praline.
Place one of the cakes on a cake plate or whatever you want to construct it on. Spread the white chocolate whipped cream on top, then place the second layer on top. Ice the sides and top of the cake with the coconut buttercream. Sprinkle the macadamia praline on top.