Chocolate Blackout Cake

Few things can beat a good chocolate cake. I’d heard of Brooklyn Blackout Cakes before, but I figured it was just a really over the top chocolate cake. I had no clue it involved pudding, cake crumbs, and that the name in no way relates the chocolate in the cake!!

Here’s a brief snippet of history behind the name of this cake! This cake concept was developed by the Ebinger Baking Company during World War II. Civilian black out drills were being practiced in Brooklyn to ensure that light from the city wasn’t reflecting on US ships off the coast, giving away their position. Ebinger got creative with their marketing and named their cake after these drills. Their cake was filled with pudding, covered in a fudge frosting, and coated with cake crumbs!!

To honor the original cake concept, I’ve made this with chocolate sponge cake layers (soaked in chocolate simple syrup), filled with a chocolate pudding, and covered in a milk chocolate ganache.

I used a few of my favorite recipes, along with some new recipes to create this cake. This was my first time making pudding from scratch, and I tried a few recipes before I found one I was happy with. I highly recommend making it yourself, but if you’re short on time, you can always substitute in boxed pudding.


  • 1 batch (4 lbs) of Yolanda Gampp’s chocolate sponge cake recipe (trimmed cake tops crumbed and reserved)
  • 1 cup chocolate simple syrup (1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar dissolved together, + 3 TBSP cocoa)
  • 1 batch chocolate pudding
  • 1 batch milk chocolate ganache (650 grams milk chocolate, melted down with 217 grams heavy cream) – to be made in advance
  • 1 cup chocolate frosting (1 cup American buttercream plus 2 Tbsp cocoa, and 2 additional tsp heavy cream)

Make the milk chocolate ganache first, as it needs at least a few hours to cool and set. To make, simply place both the chocolate and heavy cream in a heat proof bowl, and heat it for 30 second increments (stirring between). Usually after about 2 minutes of heat, all the chocolate is melted. Once the mixture is fully incorporated, place plastic wrap over the top of the ganache, and let it sit at room temperature. Before adding the room temperature ganache to a cake, I give it a slow stir with a spatula.

I also recommend making the chocolate simple syrup in advance. It needs time to cool before it can be used, and preparing it ahead of time makes the following day a  bit easier. Place the sugar and water in a pot, and bring to a simmer. Once the sugar has dissolved, mix in the cocoa, and turn  off the heat. Place in a sealed Tupperware container in the fridge overnight.

Bake 4, 7-inch round cake layers using Yo’s chocolate cake recipe and instructions. Allow layers to cool fully before leveling. Place pans into the freezer for 1 hour, to accelerate the cooling process, and lock in the moisture.

While the layers bake, make the chocolate pudding. Combine the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt in medium saucepan; slowly mix in the milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Bring the mixture to a boil, and continue stirring for 1 minute. Remove the pan from heat, and stir in the butter and vanilla. Pour the pudding into a separate bowl, and press plastic wrap directly onto surface to prevent a skin from forming. Place in the fridge to cool.

After the cake layers are baked and fully cooled, level the cakes by cutting off the tops using a serrated knife. Place cake tops in a large bowl, and crumb using a fork. Set aside. Use a large, sterile paint brush to douse the cake layers with a generous coat of chocolate simple syrup.

Next, it’s time to assemble the cake! Place the ganache into a piping bag, and pipe a ring around the perimeter of the cake layer.

blackout ganache boarded piping

Scoop about 3/4 of a cup of pudding into the center of the cake layer, and use an offset spatula to evenly spread it out to the ganache boarder.

blacout image pudding spread

Repeat this process with the remaining cake layers. Once stacked, cover the cake with a thick layer of chocolate ganache, and smooth with a bench scrapper. Place chocolate cake crumbs around the base of the cake.

blackout crumbs around base

Use a large frosting tip (I used an Ateco 869) to pipe a boarder of chocolate frosting around the top of the cake, then fill the center with additional cake crumbs.

blackout piping frosting on top

Then cut in and enjoy! This cake was DELICIOUS! I brought in the leftovers for my coworkers, and they couldn’t get enough of it 🙂

blackout slice

brooklyn blackout cake uncut


Chocolate Ganache Drip Recipe

IMG_6928 (2)

Drip cakes have been a very popular cake trend this past year! While I usually make colorful drip cakes using a white chocolate ganache colored with gel food coloring, I always have a soft spot in my heart for classic chocolate ganache.  The beauty of this recipe is it’s simplicity. You only need two ingredients, it’s so easy!!! You also can use your favorite chocolate, whether it’s dark, semi-sweet, or milk chocolate 🙂 It takes less than 5 minutes to make. In fact, it’s so easy, I’ve made it during a facebook live-stream before!! You can see my full tutorial on how to make and drizzle chocolate ganache here.


  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (about 4 oz.)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (3 oz.)


Heat heavy cream in a heat-proof bowl in the microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute, until gently bubbling.

If you don’t have a microwave or prefer to use the stove top, you can heat the cream over a medium heat in a pan until it begins to simmer. Remove from heat and pour into a heat-proof bowl.

Gently pour chocolate chips into the heavy cream, making sure they are fully covered with cream. Allow mixture to sit for 2 minutes. Stir slowly until the cream and chocolate are fully combined combined. Set aside to cool for about 30 minutes (or place in fridge for about 15 minutes), then pour into a squirt bottle for easy application.

MVI_5715_Moment (2)

If it seems to thin or thick, you can add a touch more chocolate chips or heavy cream! The type of cream and chocolate that you use can affect the consistency, so feel free to adjust as needed. The temperature of the ganache will also have a big impact on how well it drizzles. It should be slightly warmer than room temperature, but not so hot that it melts your buttercream as you drizzle it! I will be sharing  full tutorial on how to make a chocolate drip cake on my YouTube Channel this weekend, so stay tuned!

I prefer to put my ganache into plastic squirt bottles when decorating cakes! But you can also use a spoon to drizzle it over cakes.

Extra ganache can be kept in the fridge for 2 weeks. Below is a fun upside down double drip cake I made for my YouTube channel using this chocolate ganache recipe, and my no-thermometer caramel recipe.


Melting Ice Cream Cone Cake


Jessica never ceases to amaze me with her Instagram success, and unique cake orders 😛 Her account, cheatdayeats, has really blown up this year! To celebrate hitting 30k followers, she asked me to bake her a very special cake. She wanted a cake with a fudgy brownie layer, a browned butter cookie layer, a Nutella buttercream filling, and a melting ice cream cone decoration made of ganache. This allowed me to combine three of my favorite recipes, and to go wild decorating. The recipes below allow you to make a four layer cake (2 cookie layers, and 2 brownie layers), and can feed 12-15 (very hungry) people.

Browned Butter Cookie Dough 

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoon plain greek yogurt
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Begin by browning the butter. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, until it begins to foam. Make sure you whisk consistently during this process. After a couple of minutes, the butter will begin to brown on the bottom of the saucepan; continue to whisk and remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to brown and give off a nutty aroma. Immediately transfer the butter to a bowl to prevent burning, and let it cool.

018 021 023

With an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars. Beat in the egg, yolk, vanilla, and yogurt until combined. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt,  and beat on low-speed just until combined. Gently fold in all of the chocolate chips.

025 026

Line and grease two seven inch pans, and spread half of the dough evenly into each pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the edges just begin to brown. Always err on the side on underdone, as the cookie will continue to cook and set in the pan as it cools. Let the cookies cool for about 10 minutes before removing from pan. Place them on a wire rack to allow them to fully cool.

As the cookie cake layers bake/cool, begin to make the brownie batter. If you want to take a short cut, you can always use boxed brownie mix. However, this brownie recipe is amazing (and fudgy, and chocolatey, and the best thing ever), so I highly encourage you try it 😛

Fudgy Brownie Batter

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces coarsely chopped quality semi-sweet chocolate
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Melt the butter and chopped chocolate in a medium saucepan on medium heat, stirring constantly (about 5 minutes). Remove pan from the heat, pour into a large mixing bowl, and allow to slightly cool for 10 minutes. Line and grease two seven inch cake pans, and set aside. Whisk the granulated and brown sugar into the cooled chocolate/butter mixture. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking until each egg is fully incorporated. Whisk in the vanilla, and gently stir in the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Once combined, fold in the chocolate chips. Pour batter evenly between prepared pans, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean (disregard melted chocolate from chocolate chips).

Allow both cookie and brownie layers to cool fully. While these cool, prepare the frosting.

Nutella Buttercream:

  • 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Nutella
  • 7 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 waffle cone (decoration)
  • sprinkles (decoration)
  • white or regular chocolate chips (decoration)

Beat the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes. Add the Nutella and beat until combined. Reduce the speed to medium-low and slowly add the vanilla and heavy cream. Add powdered sugar, a little at a time, until it has all been incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for an additional two to three minutes, until light and fluffy. Once you’ve made the buttercream, you can move onto the last aspect of this cake, the chocolate ganache! We’ve saved the best for last.

Chocolate Ganache:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Place the chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl, and pour the cream into a sauce pan. Heat to high, and wait for the cream to reach a boil (keep a close eye on it, this happens very suddenly!). Pour over the chocolate chips, and let sit for two minutes. After this, stir until the mixture is fully incorporate. Place in the fridge for about 15 minutes to allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.

Once the cakes are fully cooled, assemble the cake. place a small dab of frosting onto the surface you will be using to serve the cake, to secure the cake. I always use cardboard cake centers, but this can be done on a cake stand or plate as well. Place down a layer of brownie, and frost the top with buttercream. Place a cookie layer on top of this, and frost the top of the layer again. Repeat with remaining two layers, and then apply a thin crumb coat of frosting to the entire exterior of the cake.

Place in the fridge or freezer for 10 minutes to allow the frosting to set. Remove from fridge/freezer, and apply a thick coat of frosting using the remaining buttercream. Smooth, and place in the freezer again.

While the second layer of frosting cools, pour the room temperature ganache into a squirt bottle of some sort (I use a cheap $1 diner-esque clear ketchup bottle from Walmart). Take the cake out of the freezer, and place the ice cream cone upside down in the center of the cake. Squirt ganache over the frosting “ice cream scoop”, and allow it run down, until the entire scoop is covered. Then squirt ganache over the entire top of the cake, leaving about an inch of frosting uncovered. Spread the ganache evenly with a smooth utensil (knife, frosting spatula, etc.), and work it out to the edges of the cake, so that the entire top of the cake is covered. Next, gently drop ganache down the edges of the cake. Start slowly, as you can always make bigger drops as you go, but you can’t take back an epic stream of ganache (trust me, I’ve learned the hard way).

The finishing touch is sprinkling the ice cream cone with sprinkles of your choice, and adding some chocolate chips to the base of the cake. I made a smaller version of this cake for Jessica by halving the above recipe, as seen below.


This cake is quite involved, has about a million steps, and takes several hours to make…but I can promise, your efforts will be well rewarded 🙂

Peanut Butter Snickers Cupcakes


I can always rely on my mom to have a decently stocked candy cupboard at home. Sure enough, when I arrived home for Christmas I was happy to find a giant bag of peanut butter snickers. Of course, my first thought after seeing them was a peanut butter snickers cupcake 😛

Chocolate Cake Batter:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup  vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Peanut Butter Buttercream:

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream


  • 1 Bag Peanut Butter Snickers
  • Sea salt
  • Crushed peanuts
  • Chocolate ganache (equal parts heavy cream and chocolate)

Begin by preheating oven to 350ºF. Line 2 regular muffin pans with cupcake liners. Combine flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a mixer. Mix on low. Add eggs, buttermilk, 1 1/2 cups warm water, oil, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until smooth and completely combined. Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full. Bake until cakes are set and a toothpick inserted into the center of each comes out clean, about 16 minutes. Let cool in pans set on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks, and let cool completely.

While the cupcakes bake, prepare peanut butter buttercream. Whip the butter and peanut butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer, until it is fluffy. Slowly incorporate the powdered sugar, adding it in multiple installments. As the frosting thickens, add salt, heavy cream, and vanilla. Continue to mix, and add additional cream until desired consistency is reached.


Frost the cupcakes with a swirl using a closed star tip. Drizzle cooled ganache over the top of the frosting, and garnish with crushed peanuts, sea salt, and a chopped piece of peanut butter snickers 😀 Next time I make these, I think I’d also try drizzling some salted caramel over the top.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cake

 I received a cake order that I was absolutely thrilled to make. A COOKIE DOUGH CAKE. Genius, right? You no longer have to choose between a chewy, chocolate chip cookie, and a scrumptious piece of cake. You can have them both!! I decided to make my favorite white cake base, layered with cookie dough, and frosted with a fluffy vanilla buttercream.
Cake Base:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cookie Dough Filling:

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon plain greek yogurt
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Vanilla Buttercream:

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Begin by making the cake batter. Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare three 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick baking spray. Cream together butter and shortening until light and fluffy with a hand mixer. Add sugar, one cup at a time, making sure to fully incorporate each cup before adding another. Next, add the eggs one at a time. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Pour milk and vanilla into measuring cup and whisk together with a fork. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternately with the milk mixture (always remember to begin and end with dry ingredients). Gently stir all ingredients, until combined. Stop mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl, making sure to have all ingredients mixed well. Evenly distribute cake batter between cake pans and place pans into oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in cake pans for about 5 minutes, then remove and place on a wire rack to allow them to finish.

As the cakes bake, make the cookie dough filling. Begin by browning the butter. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, until it begins to foam. Make sure you whisk consistently during this process. After a couple of minutes, the butter will begin to brown on the bottom of the saucepan; continue to whisk and remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to brown and give off a nutty aroma. Immediately transfer the butter to a bowl to prevent burning, and let it cool.

025 026

With an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars. Beat in the egg, yolk, vanilla, and yogurt until combined. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt,  and beat on low-speed just until combined. Gently fold in all of the chocolate chips. Place the cookie dough in the fridge to allow it firm up slightly, and to help the flavors develop.

As the cookie dough cools, prepare the vanilla buttercream.  Beat the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low and slowly add the vanilla and heavy cream. Add powdered sugar, a little at a time, until it has all been incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for an additional two to three minutes, until light and fluffy.

Divide the cookie dough in half, and mold into two large disks. Place the cookie dough layers on top of two of the cooled cake layers, and finish molding to completely cover the cake. Stack the layers on top of each other, so that the cookie dough topped cake layers are the bottom two layers. Cover the cake with the vanilla buttercream, creating a thin crumb coat. Place the frosting in the fridge for 30 minutes, to allow it to harden. Proceed by covering the cake with the remaining frosting, and decorate as desired.

I decided to place half cookies (baked with some left over cookie dough) around the base of the cake, and top the cake with chocolate ganache. I let the ganache set fully by placing the cake in the fridge, then piped on buttercream swirls around the top of the cake, and placed little bits of cookie dough on top of the swirls.


Chocolate Banana Birthday Cake


There are so many reasons to celebrate this week! No, not because we are in the depths of busy season…but because this week is filled with birthdays!! Brandon’s birthday was next on the calendar, and he asked for a banana cake. I was thrilled when he said he would like a chocolate banana cake, because it’s a flavor combination I’ve never tried before. So here it is! I used my favorite banana cake recipe, threw in some chocolate chips, and frosted the cake with a chocolate buttercream.

Banana Cake Base:

  • 2 cups bananas, mashed, ripe (about 6 medium sized bananas)
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips


  • 2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 8 cups confectioners sugar
  • Bananas, sliced (placed between cake layers)

Ganache Topping:

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate
  • 1 cup cream

Chocolate Curls (optional):

  • 6 oz. semisweet chocolate
  • 2 Tbsp. shortening

Begin with the banana cake base. Preheat oven to 275°. Butter, flour, and place parchment paper circles in four nine-inch, circular cake pans. In a small bowl, mix the mashed banana with the lemon juice, and set aside. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt, and set aside.  In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla. Slowly incorporate the banana mixture in the batter, then alternate the flour mixture with the buttermilk. Pour the batter evenly between the  prepared pans, and bake for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

While the cake layers cool, prepare the chocolate buttercream frosting. Place the chopped chocolate in a heat-proof bowl, and bring the cream to a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate pieces, and let this sit for a minute. Stir thoroughly for two minutes, until the mixture is fully combined. Set this aside until it has cooled. In a separate bowl, Beat the butter until it is light and fluffy. Mix in the salt, then add the powdered sugar in three installments. Stir in the vanilla, cocoa, and melted chocolate. Add additional powdered sugar or cream as needed, until desired consistency is reached.

I layered the cooled cake layers with chocolate frosting and banana slices, then applied a thin crumb coat. I let the cake sit in the fridge until the crumb coat had hardened (about 30 minutes), then applied another layer of buttercream to get a smooth exterior. While the crumb coat hardened, I decided to make the chocolate ganache, and top it with chocolate curls. To make the ganache, bring the cream to a boil, then pour over chocolate. Let the chocolate sit for a minute to melt, then mix thoroughly. Let this cool, and the pour over the cake. I like to let some of the ganache cascade over the edges 😀


The Secrets Behind a Perfect Macaron


In honor of Macaron Day NYC 2014, I decided to whip up a batch of these delicious little treats. This holiday of sorts began in 2010 by François Payard, chef and owner of François Payard Bakery and FP Patisserie in Manhattan, NY. The day was created in honor of the Jour du Macaron (Macaron Day) in France, and falls on the same day.

Macarons are incredibly finicky. Sometimes, they develop those cute little feet and are just perfect. Other times, the feet are all over the place! I’ve tested out a few different recipes, and while some tips do help, some of the common “rules” around making macarons can be disregarded. The ideal macaron should be a perfect circle, with “feet” along the edges, where it has risen in the oven. They should comfortably slip off your baking mat. They also should be slightly chewy, yet crunchy, and they should taste like heaven.

Here is what I believe is most important during the baking process:

  • Kitchen scales are very useful for making macarons, as proper measurement of the ingredients ensures the best results. They’re also relatively cheap. That being said, I usually make macarons with cup measurements, and have been successful , so it is not a necessity!
  • I highly recommend buying a silicone baking mat, they’re amazingly useful, easy to clean, and last forever.
  • Use almond meal (finely ground almonds)! It’s not worth grinding up your own almonds. This will save you quite a bit of time, and clearning. Random note, if you do chose to grind  your own nuts, you can use different types of nuts! Common replacements include pistachios and hazelnuts.
  • Most recipes tell you to add the granulated sugar into the egg white gradually, but it’s a LIE! I’ve gradually added, and dumped all the sugar in at once, with no difference in my end product.
  • Aged egg whites are not a must. I’ve made macarons with egg whites at room temperature for about an hour or two and they have turned out just fine
  • Double stack your baking sheets to ensure that the pans heat evenly.
  • Use a piping bag with a round tip. I already have these on hand because of the cakes I bake, but they are pretty cheap to buy if you don’t! Piping bags and tips allow better control when piping the circles onto the mat for baking. You can use plastic bags, as long as they are the sturdier, freezer-type bag. Just cut a hole in the corner about 1 inch wide.
  • If you are going to color your macarons, use gel food coloring instead of liquid. Liquids can mess with the consistency of the macarons, and ruin the texture. Also, make sure you add the coloring  to the egg mixture while beating in the sugar, to ensure even distribution of the color.
  • When you are beating the egg whites, most instructions tell you to beat until glossy/stiff. I’ve found you should take it one step further, and beat them until they literally don’t move when you turn your bowl over. You should be able to hold the bowl over your head, and have NOTHING move. That’s when you know the egg whites are ready!
  • When folding the egg whites with the almond meal and sugar, use a flexible spatula. Make sure you’re folding motion is gentle, and that you repeatedly scrape around the bowl and move batter towards the middle. DO NOT OVERMIX. You should make no more than 50 folds. Many recipes say the consistency should be of lava, but if your mixture resembles runny pancake batter, you’ve gone too far.
  • After piping the macarons, tap the tray against your countertop on the sides of the tray, to make sure any air bubbles are released.
  • After piping the macarons, let the tray sit out for at least 25 minutes, until the tops of the macarons look dried out and are no longer spreading. This is the skin that needs to form in order for the “feet” of the macaron to properly develop.
  • When the weather is humid or rainy, it can negatively affect the macaron shells. The extra moisture can interfere with the development of the skin that should form during the resting stage.
  • Halfway through baking, rotate the pans in the oven. In my experience, my oven heats a bit more on one side more than the other. Most ovens do not bake perfectly even, and this will help ensure consistency throughout your final product.

I  have tried out a lot of online recipes for macarons, and this one has worked the best for me. I have continued using this recipe as a base, altering it to test out different flavors.

Lavender Macaron Base:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 3/4 cups almond meal
  • 1  cup powdered sugar
  • purple gel food coloring, if desired

Honey Lavender Buttercream:

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp lavender milk (milk steeped with lavender)
Chocolate Macaron Base:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 3/4 cups almond meal
  • 1  cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa

Chocolate Cookie Dough Filling:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2   cup brown sugar
  • 1 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (or finely chopped chocolate)
Begin by preheat the oven to 320 degrees Fahrenheit, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, or a silicone mat.
The batters and baking process the exact same for both flavors. To make the macaron batter, place the sugar and water into a saucepan and heat until the sugar melts. Let this boil for about 4 minutes, and occasionally brush the sugar down from the sides with a wet brush (so the sugar doesn’t crystallize). In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with an hand mixer until they form peaks. Slowly add the hot sugar syrup while constantly whisking. Whisk until the mixture becomes glossy, and is very stiff.
 009 012 013
Sift the powdered sugar, cocoa, and almond meal into a bowl. Gently fold this mixture into the meringue mixture, until everything is just incorporated.Pour the batter into a piping bag with a 1cm opening (I used a plastic bag and cut off the corner) and pipe 1 inch rounds onto a lined baking tray. Pipe from one side, at a 45 degree angle. Tap the tray firmly against the table, to remove any large air bubbles. Set these aside until the the tops of the macarons have developed a skin (about  30 minutes). Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the bottom of the macarons are firm. Feet should have developed around the base of each cookie.
In a small sauce pan over medium add butter and brown sugar. Heat until it  has all melted and starts to boil. Remove from heat, and allow to cool to room temperature.Mix butter and sugar mixture, with salt and vanilla extract, until light and fluffy. Turn mixer to low, and mix in flour (1/2 cup at a time), until the dough comes together. The texture should be similar to frosting.  Slightly sticky, thick but soft enough that you could pipe it. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes, or until it stiffens up.
For the honey lavender buttercream, beat the butter with a hand mixer until it is light and fluffy. Slowly mix in the powdered sugar (1/2 cup at a time). Alternate the honey and lavender milk (use a tea bag or tied coffee filter, and let the dried lavendar steep in to the milk over a low heat for about 10 minutes) between powdered sugar installments.
Once the macaron shells and the ganache have cooled, combine the shells using the fillings. You can also use a buttercream, or jelly. The options of fillings, flavors, and colors are endless 😀

If I were to make the cookie dough macarons again, I would make the macaron with more cocoa (or add brown good coloring) to darken the shells, and add more visual contrast between the filling and the shells. The taste was on point though, I wouldn’t change a thing regarding the taste 😀

Milky Way Chocolate Cake


It’s crazy how much you learn about a person when you work with them. One fun fact I learned about my senior from last year was that she loves Milky Way candy bars. Today is her birthday, and I wanted to make her a fabulous birthday cake. Using the chocolate-caramel-nougat goodness of Milky Ways as an inspiration, I decided to make her this Milky Way Chocolate Cake.

Chocolate Cake:

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2 cups strong black coffee, hot
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Nougat Filling:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 3 cups marshmallow fluff
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Salted Caramel Sauce:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon fleur de sel (or any other flaky sea salt)

Salted Caramel Buttercream:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup salted caramel sauce (above)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

Milk Chocolate Ganache:

  • 8 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
  • 4 ounces (½ cup) heavy cream


  • 1 bag of fun sized milky way candy bars (chopped into thirds)

Prep Time:15 minutes

Bake Time: 64 minutes

Cool Time: 1 Hour

Assembly Time: 1 hour (30 minutes of cooling for crumb coat)

Servings: 20

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease four 9-inch round cake pans, and line/grease the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper.

Begin by making the chocolate cake batter. In a very large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix for 2 minutes on medium speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix for an additional 20 seconds (the batter will be very thin).

Divide the batter evenly among prepared pans. Bake for 20 minutes and rotate the pans in the oven. Continue to bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cakes comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs), about 12 more minutes. Cool the cakes (in the pans) on wire racks for 20 minutes, then carefully turn them out onto cooling racks to cool completely.

For the Nougat Filling, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar and evaporated milk, stirring until dissolved, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from heat and add the marshmallow fluff, and vanilla extract, stirring until completely smooth. Let the nougat mixture cool to room temperature before using it in the cake. You can do this leaving it at room temperature or you can pop it into the refrigerator to speed up the process. Be sure to give a stir occasionally as it cools.

For the salted caramel sauce, add the sugar in an even layer over the bottom of a heavy saucepan (with a capacity of at least 2 or 3 quarts). Heat the sugar over medium-high heat, whisking it as it begins to melt. You’ll see that the sugar will begin to form clumps, and that’s okay. Keep whisking and as it continues to cook, and they will melt back down. Stop whisking once all of the sugar has melted, and swirl the pan occasionally while the sugar cooks.Continue cooking until the sugar has reached a deep amber color. It should look almost a reddish-brown, and have a slight toasted aroma. This is the point where caramel can go from perfect to burnt in a matter of seconds, so keep a close eye. Add the butter all at once. Be careful, as the caramel will bubble up when the butter is added. Whisk the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour the cream into the caramel. Again, be careful because the mixture will once again bubble up ferociously.Whisk until all of the cream has been incorporated and you have a smooth sauce. Add the fleur de sel and whisk to incorporate. Set the sauce aside to cool for 10 to 15 minutes and then pour into your favorite glass jar, and let cool to room temperature. (You can refrigerate any left over sauce for up to 2 weeks).

While the cakes cool, make the frosting. Beat together the butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed for 5 minutes. Pour in the salted caramel and beat until combined. Reduce the speed to medium-low and slowly add the powdered sugar, a little at a time, until it has all been incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for an additional two to three minutes, until light and fluffy.


For the cake assembly, place one cake layer on a serving plate. Cover with half of the nougat filling and then spread a couple spoonfuls of the salted caramel sauce over top to evenly cover the nougat filling. Top with a second cake layer and cover with the remaining nougat filling and top with caramel sauce. Frost the cake with the salted caramel frosting, finishing it as smoothly as possible. Refrigerate the cake for at least 30 minutes, until the frosting is set.

While the frosting sets, prepare the chocolate ganache. Place the chocolate in a medium bowl; set aside. Place the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and warm until it just comes to a boil. Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes. Begin whisking the mixture in the center, gradually working your way outward until the ganache is completely smooth. Set aside to cool, whisking occasionally, until it has thickened slightly, but is still a pourable consistency.


The garnish is the final step. Slowly pour the chocolate ganache into the center of the cake, letting it push itself outward and flow over the sides of the cake. Refrigerate the cake for at least 30 minutes, giving the ganache a chance to set up. Drizzle some additional salted caramel sauce over the top and side of the cake, and top with chopped milky way bars.


Keep the cake refrigerated, removing it from the refrigerator about 20 minutes prior to serving. For clean slices, run the cutting knife under hot water (and dry) just before cutting.