Sunday, June 12, 2011

And guess what? I didn't!

Well, not much, anyway.

I was chatting with Bryn on Skype earlier this afternoon, and in the course of our wandering conversation, I happened to mention that I still needed to choose a recipe to make today. We both immediately pulled out our Edmonds books to discuss the merits of various recipes.

There were several cake recipes that we considered, but after careful consideration, we selected a winner: macaroon cake (p50). Bryn had just one piece of advice for me. "Just don't screw it up, ok? I want to see how it turns out". Clearly, as an old friend and regular blog reader, he's well acquainted with my tendency to make silly, absentminded  mistakes in the kitchen.

With this admonition in mind, I actually remembered to check I had all the ingredients before I started. Not just by reading through the list and thinking "oh yes, I have some of that" (my usual, not exactly infallible method) but by actually opening the cupboards and having a look. So far, so good.

I began by making the base, creaming butter and sugar, then adding vanilla and egg yolks. I thought I'd blown it when I was separating the eggs - I got a small amount of yolk in with the white, not a good thing if you want the whites to beat up properly. After a short struggle with spoons and kitchen towels, I was satisfied that all traces of the renegade yolk fragment were gone, so I set the whites aside and returned to making the base.

Having beat in the egg yolks and vanilla, I added the dry ingredients, mixing them in alternately with a small amount of milk until the mixture was combined into a dough. I then pressed the dough into a 23cm square tin, and turned to making the macaroon.

Despite my earlier worries about yolk-taint, the egg-whites beat up beautifully. Before I read the recipe, I'd assumed that the sugar would be beat into the egg whites at this point, like a meringue, but it seems that a macaroon is different: you just fold the sugar in, along with a large amount of coconut.

I spread the meringue mixture on top of the base, and put it in at 180 for 25 minutes, assuming (correctly, as it turned out) that in my oven it wouldn't need the full half hour.

When the timer went off, the macaroon was perhaps a bit darker than I would have liked, but not too bad. I left it in the tin for ten minutes before lifting it out onto a wire rack. The question was, how to get the baking paper off the bottom without the whole cake falling to pieces? The usual rack-top-and-bottom manoeuvre was a complete failure, resulting in the cake sitting macaroon-down on my benchtop. I did get the paper off, though, and with the help of of a couple of dough scrapers, was able to turn the cake right-side-up with minimal crumblage - just a bit around the edges.

So despite Bryn's obvious lack of faith in my culinary abilities, my macaroon cake has been quite successful. When discussing the recipe with Bryn, I'd wondered if it might be a bit bland, but it's not: it's sweet, coconutty and far more decadent-tasting than I expected. It's crumbly and difficult to eat without making a mess, but it sure tastes good!


  1. Haha! Classic Skype photo!
    The macaroon cake looks like a winner, eh!
    Is it very coconutty?

  2. Wow impressive this checking the cupboards beforehand! Baz is hoping this is a breakthrough. Looks really good.c

  3. Haha why'd you think I was laughing so hard when I took it? Yep, very coconutty.

    Don't know if i'll manage to keep up the cupboard-checking habit though.. that would just be too organised!


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