Macaron Cake

Macaron Cake
Photo: Photographer: Antonis Achilleos, Prop Stylist: Christine Kelly Food Stylist: Ali Ramee
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 50 mins
Servings:
16

This delightful cake gets its name and good looks from the colorful crisp meringue cookies known as macarons. The cake is easy to make thanks to some tasty shortcuts. The layers come from a white cake mix that's spiffed up with fresh lemon zest. They're filled with strawberry jam and covered in simple cream cheese frosting that holds store-bought macarons in place, so all you have to do is pop them on. Pretty pink and yellow macarons echo the lemon and strawberry flavors in the cake, but you can choose cookies to go with the color theme of your event, such as a bridal or baby shower. With a cake this cute, any occasion will feel like a party.

Ingredients

  • Baking spray with flour

  • 2 (15 1/4-oz.) pkg. white cake mix

  • 2 ½ cups water

  • 1 cup canola oil

  • 8 large egg whites (1 1/4 cups whites)

  • 4 teaspoons grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons), divided

  • 1 cup (8 oz.) unsalted butter, softened

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened

  • 5 cups (about 20 oz.) unsifted powdered sugar

  • 1 cup strawberry preserves

  • 48 store-bought macarons (such as vanilla and strawberry)

  • Fresh strawberry

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with baking spray.

  2. Beat cake mix, water, oil, egg whites, and 3 teaspoons of the lemon zest in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans (2 2/3 cups batter per pan).

  3. Bake on middle rack in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 24 to 26 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. Let cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans; let cool completely on wire rack, about 1 hour.

  4. Beat butter and cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low; with mixer running, gradually add powdered sugar and remaining 1 teaspoon lemon zest. Increase mixer speed to high; beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Transfer 1 cup frosting to a plastic ziplock bag or a piping bag with a corner snipped off. Reserve remaining frosting in bowl.

  5. Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cake layers to remove domes, and discard. Place 1 cake layer on a plate. Top with 1/2 cup frosting (from frosting in bowl), smoothing to cake edges using an offset spatula. Pipe frosting in ziplock into a 1-inch-tall border around inside top edge of cake layer. Spoon 1/2 cup preserves onto center of frosted cake layer, and spread evenly out from center, stopping at the piped border. (The piped frosting will prevent the jam from running out side of cake.) Repeat layers 1 time. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining frosting on top and sides of cake. Press macarons into sides of cake. Garnish top with fresh strawberries.

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