C for Cars - and Cakes!
For the biscuit cake, preheat the oven to 170°C.
Combine flour and baking powder in a bowl. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix in the dry ingredients until a smooth dough forms.
Roll the dough between two sheets of baking paper until about 3mm-thick. Chill the dough for 30 minutes. Prepare the egg wash by beating together the egg and milk.
Cut out the shape of the 3 biscuits in a large letter “C”. Chill for about 10 minutes before brushing the biscuits with the egg wash. Bake on baking paper-lined baking trays for 10-15 minutes, or until they are lightly browned around the edges. Cool the biscuits for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the buttercream, using a stand mixer mix the butter and shortening 5 minutes until pale in colour and fluffy. Add half the icing sugar mixture and mix until it’s mixed into the butter, then add the rest of the icing sugar. Mix in 2 tbs milk and vanilla. Continue mixing for at least 5 min until it's beautiful, white and fluffy. Add champagne and more icing sugar if needed to get right consistency.
For the macarons, preheat oven to 180°C. Add the icing sugar and almond meal into a food processor and process until well combined. Do this 2 or 3 times. Place the almond mixture into a large mixing bowl, add the first 110g of egg whites and mix until it forms a paste. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside. Add the sugar and water into a small saucepan. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then turn down to a simmer. Use a candy thermometer to help you measure the temp of the syrup. Use a pastry brush with a little water to brush the edge of the pan as this will help prevent the syrup from crystallising. When the syrup reaches 115°C, add the second portion of egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer and start whisking them on medium speed. When the syrup reaches 118°C, pour it over the egg whites in a slow and steady stream.
Whisk for about 3 minutes before adding the vanilla extract. Continue beating to stiff peaks. Stop the mixer and scrape down, then whisk for an extra couple of minutes. Starting with a spatula full of the meringue and fold it into the almond and sugar mixture, mix until well combined. At this point divide batter and add coloured powders. Then continue folding until the batter gets thin enough that it drips off the spatula and falls in a ribbon. It should take about 10 seconds for the ribbon to disappear into the rest of the batter.
Fill piping bag fitted with round a tip with the batter.
Pipe rounds of batter about 3.5cm in diameter, spacing them 2cm apart on a baking trays lined with baking paper.
Gently tap the tray on the work surface to remove air bubbles. Leave to stand for at least 30 minutes, until a skin forms on the shells. They should be dry to the touch. Bake for 12 minutes at 180°C. Turn the tray around about half way through baking. Once they’re baked, let them cool completely before removing from the tray.
For the ganache, bring the cream, vanilla bean paste and strawberry puree to the boil.
Pour the hot cream mixture over the white chocolate to make a ganache. Cool to 50C. Blitz in the butter with a hand blender. Cover with plastic wrap and chill.
To assemble macarons, with a star piping tip, pipe filling onto one macaron and place the other on top.
For the nougatine, line a baking tray with a silicone mat. Sprinkle the flaked almonds onto a baking tray and bake in the oven for 7-8 minutes. Heat the fondant and glucose in a large saucepan over a medium heat and boil for 10-15 minutes, or until a pale caramel colour. Stir in the toasted almonds and butter and pour onto the lined baking tray. Place another silicone mat on top, then roll out the nougatine to a thickness of 5mm and then remove the top mat and carefully. Working quickly cut strips to make various swirls and shapes for decorations. If the nougatine gets too hard to work, return it to the oven to slightly warm.
For the chocolates, set aside about 25 to 30 percent of the chocolate. Place the remaining 70 to 75 percent of the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on half-power, stirring the mixture every minute until it is almost melted, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the bowl of chocolate from the microwave and stir to cool it slightly. Make sure to remove the bowl before all the chocolate is completely melted. The last bits of solid chocolate will melt when it is stirred. Using a thermometer, check the temperature of the melted chocolate, it should be between 46–48°C. Add remaining chocolate, bit by bit, stirring continuously until chocolate is smooth and 31°C. Wipe moulds with cotton wool to clean and then rub with cocoa butter for the shine. Using a small brush, paint the coloured cocoa butter randomly to make patterns in the mould and then brush with the lustre dust. Tap on bench to remove excess. Let set slightly and then fill with the tempered chocolate. Over a tray tip mould upside down to drain excess. Neaten top by scraping and allow to set. Fill with the white chocolate ganache and allow to set before filling with remaining dark chocolate. Tap on bench to remove chocolates from mould.
To assemble cake, place the first layer of the cake on the presentation platter. Start to pipe small mounds of buttercream to cover the whole biscuit base. Using the straws as support, place the second layer of biscuit on top. Repeat the same process as the first layer. Lay the last biscuit on top and decorate. Firstly pipe the buttercream and then decorate using the macaron, handmade chocolates and the nougatine swirls.
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