Chocolate Bourbon Caramel Macaron Cake…to Celebrate my little (kind of BIG) Secret!!
I have, news! Little…kind of BIG news!
Maybe you guys haven’t noticed, but I have been semi holding out on you.
Hello, are you looking at the same cake I am?
I have had this cake in my back pocket for a good two weeks now, and yes, that means I have been a holding out on you. I am so sorry, BUT, I do think you will all agree it was worth the wait, because with this cake comes some very exciting news. News fit for only a cake like this.
News like Asher’s 7th Birthday is on Sunday!! JK, JK, – I do have other news…but Asher’s B-Day really is on Sunday!
You see, way back when I started the blog, almost three years ago, I had no idea what I was doing. No, literally I had no clue. For one, I was a lost teenager struggling with the question of “where do I take my life next?” Ugh, the dreaded question everyone must suffer through at some time or another, right? Yeah, well my whole life I thought I would be a stylist putting together outfits for high-profile magazines. I dreamed about it, wanted it, tried to get it, had a 17 year old self freak out while living in LA before starting school, and then brought my butt back home to my comfort zone and away from the crazy life (I LOVE CA and all that it has going on, but at 17, I could not handle it).
I spent the summer with my family in Mt. Hood and then come fall, I bit the bullet and hit publish on my first post (<–you gotta read it…my writing…my photos…whoa how things have changed!). Back then, which feels like yesterday, I had no idea I would still be working on this little blog today. No idea of the opportunities that would present themselves, and no idea the happiness it would bring me.
I owe this space a lot. It has broken me out of my scared teenage shell and helped me grow into an adult (err, I try, but the truth is I still act like a teen plenty of the time) with focus and determination of what exactly I want in life. Sure, it was a big switch up from the fashion industry, but I am so thankful for all the mistakes and failures I made that got me to the place I am today.
I may not get nearly enough sleep, and my mom says I spend too much time working, but I could not be happier. I am the type of person who thrives on work, I can’t not be doing anything.
I just don’t have it in me.
SIDE NOTE: The blog has also opened my eyes to the wonders of coffee. Up until a week ago, I didn’t drink coffee…like ZERO coffee. Coffee was used solely for making desserts, not for drinking. That all changed last week when I finally just sucked it up and drank a whole cup of black coffee. It wasn’t good, but it also wasn’t horrible. But then something just changed, I think my tired eyes just gave in and said, you need the coffee Tieghan, and all of the sudden I liked it! Like a lot, and it actually helped me to focus. That made me really, really like it, and now, I even enjoy it! Gimme the coffee…black and piping hot…please.
Almost three years later, here I am. Busy, happy and healthy. Three words that have not always gone together so easily for me. Granted, I am still the stress ball that I have always been, but I just don’t think that will ever change.
Genetically, I am just a stresser…I’ll deal.
Point of the ever so long story?? I worked pretty hard, fell head over heals in love with sharing my recipes with people from all over the world and getting to read your kind-as-ever emails and comments. It was, and is, the best feeling knowing people out there are making my recipes and enjoying them with friends and family. When I think about it, it still amazes me, like whoa!
I also gained a huge passion for food photography, in which I have to say, I have come to love just as much as the cooking. The photography is where I get to bring in my styling roots and make things pretty. I live for making things pretty.
No really, I do.
So, what’s the news, huh?
You may have guessed by now, but guys?!?!?
I am writing a cookbook.
Yes, a cookbook!! I know, know. AHHH!<–my brain at almost all times lately.
Here’s the thing. Never, have I ever thought I would want to write a cookbook. In fact, for a long while I was turning down offers because I just really had no desire to write a cookbook. I didn’t feel I needed it and it was not something that excited me. That all started to change around last fall. I had some more serious offers come in that were honestly pretty hard to look away from. I was also getting at least an email a day from readers about whether I had a cookbook or if I was writing one. Around Halloween of last year, I kind of said to myself, maybe a cookbook is something I should think about. Maybe it would be fun, maybe my readers would enjoy it, maybe I could write a cookbook.
Somewhere around last Christmas (you may not remember, but I kind of had a lot going on, like it was crazy with the barn, work, Christmas, friends and family), among all the chaos, my little maybe turned into a yes, I definitely want to write a cookbook
Fast forward to May. A few long nights into it, I had a deal on the table with Clarkson Potter for a big fat cookbook (literally…it’s gonna be BIG and FAT). What?!? How did that happen? NO freaking idea, but it did and I am pretty happy about it. I do have the best agent to thank (hi Stacey). I can talk more about all those nitty-gritty details in another post if you guys are interested in hearing more about the process. Are you?
Big Picture: I am finally writing a cookbook! It will be published by Clarkson Potter and will have 150 new recipes for you all to hopefully fall in love with. I will also be photographing it (yeah – tons of photos!), so the book will really feel like my own. It’s set to come out in 2017 (I know, so far away, but apparently this whole writing, photographing and making a cookbook thing is a lot of work!) and guys, with my recipe list set, I can tell you, it is going to be GOOD. The photos will be big, and the recipes filled with all my little notes and comments. My hope in this book is to make you feel like you guys are right there cooking with me. I also hope it will be THAT cookbook, the one you go back to time and time again. You know, the one with food smeared across the pages with that ONE recipe the book just automatically opens right up to. That is my dream for this book.
I am so so excited about the team I have backing this book. My editor Amanda knows how to a pull a decision out of me (I am the worst!). And if it’s a super difficult choice, which was recently the case (how am I to choose between Nutella and caramel?? I mean, come on) she will somehow find a way. Trust me, she is good and she understands my need for chocolate. Thank God.
Also, thank you to all you readers out there to whom make my world a better place. You guys are the best!!
And now do you see why this cake was so fitting for today? It is clearly a celebration cake, and it is clearly delicious! Actually, believe it or not, this was a cake that got nixed from the list of book recipes (the choices, so hard!)…I think that should tell you something about the book right there.
But this chocolate bourbon caramel macaron cake! OH MY GOSH, I do just LOVE it! I will keep this next part short since I fear I am losing you with all my rambling. What you must know about this cake is that it is just like a french macaron, but in cake form. You have a chocolate cake base and caramel meringue buttercream frosting that to me imitates a macaron cookie. It’s loaded with light and fluffy whipped egg whites, sugar, butter, bourbon caramel goodness and so much milk chocolate.
Like I can’t even.
Chocolate Bourbon Caramel Macaron Cake.
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3 eggs at room temperature
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons buttermilk
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons strong brewed coffee hot
- homemade or store bought macarons for decorating
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into chunks
- 2/3 cup full fat canned coconut milk may use heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons bourbon optional
- 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt
Milk Chocolate Meringue Buttercream
- 6 eggs whites
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter softened
- 1/2 cup bourbon caramel from recipe above
- 6 1/2 ounces milk chocolate melted + cooled slightly
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Dark Chocolate Ganache
- 2 1/2 ounces dark chocolate chopped
- 1/4 full fat canned coconut milk or heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons Kahlua may sub 1 tablespoon vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 8-inch (or 9 inch) round cake pans, or line with parchment paper, then butter/spray with cooking spray.
- In a medium size bowl combine the flour, sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand held mixer) beat together the eggs, buttermilk, greek yogurt, canola oil and vanilla until smooth. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with the mixer on low until there are no longer any clumps of flour. Add the hot coffee and mix until combined. Batter should be pourable, but not super thin.
- Pour the batter among the 3 cake pans and bake 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are just set and no longer wiggly in the center. Remove and let cool five minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the pan. Grab 3 large flat plates, line them with wax or parchment paper and invert the cakes onto the paper lined plates. Cover and let the cakes cool completely before frosting.
- In a dry, large deep heavy skillet cook the sugar over moderately high heat, stirring constantly with a heat proof rubber spatula until the sugar is melted and turns a deep golden caramel, remove the skillet from the heat and add the chunks of butter one by one, whisk until combined. The caramel will bubble, this is ok. Now slowly add the cream and then whisk until combined. Return the pot to the heat and, cook the mixture over moderate heat, stirring until the caramel has thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat, if using, add the bourbon + a pinch of salt. Set the caramel aside to cool.
Milk Chocolate Meringue Buttercream
- Bring a large pot (big enough to place your mixing bowl over top) of water to boil. In the bowl of a stand mixer whisk the egg whites and sugar together. Place the bowl of the stand mixer over the pot of boiling water and cook, stirring often, until the egg whites are very warm to the touch and the sugar has dissolved, remove the bowl from the heat. Whip the egg whites on high until stiff peaks form. Allow the egg whites to cool before continuing.
- Once cool, add the butter, caramel, melted milk chocolate and cocoa powder. Beat until combined and fluffy.
- Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a plate or cake stand. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top. Finally, add the third cake layer and frost the top and sides of the cake. Place the cake in the fridge to chill for at least an hour.
- Meanwhile, make the ganache. In a microwave safe bowl add the chocolate and cream. Microwave on high for 30 second intervals, stirring between each until melted. Stir in the Kahlua. Allow the ganache to cool 10 minutes, and then pour the ganache onto the middle of the chilled cake and spread to just the sides, allow the ganache to drip down the sides of the cake. Place the cake in the fridge, preferably overnight, but at least 1 hour. Allow the cake to sit at room temp for at least an hour before serving. If desired, drizzle the cake with any remaining caramel and decorate with [homemade | https://www.halfbakedharvest.com/frozen-hot-fudge-peanut-butter-swirled-pretzel-macarons/] or store bought macarons. Can also decorate with sprinkles, chocolate curls or whatever your heart desires.
So let’s just celebrate this Friday. Celebrate with the best chocolate cake ever. Mmmk?!? Cool!