Giant macaron cake

Ingredients

FOR THE MACARON
300g almond flour
300g icing sugar
1 tsp baking powder
8 large egg whites, about 220g
3 drops red food colouring paste
300g granulated sugar
FOR THE CAKE
130g plain flour, plus more for tin
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp flaky sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
150g granulated sugar
70g salted butter, at room temperature, plus more for tin
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 vanilla pod, split
100ml double cream
FOR THE FRUIT LAYER
475ml double cream
450g strawberries, hulled and halved lengthwise
170g raspberries

Instructions

1.For the macaron layers, Sift the almond flour, icing sugar and baking powder into a large bowl. Whisk 4 of the egg whites with the food colouring in a medium bowl just until the mixture is evenly coloured. Set it aside.
2.Combine the granulated sugar with 75ml water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to help dissolve the sugar. Attach a sugar thermometer to the pan and cook until it reaches 118°C, 3 to 5 min.
3.Use an electric mixer set on high speed to whip the remaining 4 egg whites in a large bowl just until they form soft peaks. Still beating on high, slowly pour a stream of the hot syrup into the bowl – do not pour directly into the beaters, or the syrup will splash. Keep beating on a high speed until the egg whites form stiff, glossy peaks.
4.Let the meringue cool until it is warm but not hot, which can take about 20 min. Add the coloured egg whites to the almond flour mixture and use a big rubber spatula to stir them together until blended. Scrape the meringue into the bowl and fold, reaching down to the bottom of the mixture with the spatula and bringing it up and over the rest of the mixture. Turn the bowl one quarter turn and repeat until the mixture is evenly coloured but still light and fluffy.
5.Cut 2 sheets of baking paper. Using a 23cm round cake tin as a template, draw a circle on each baking paper sheet. Turn the paper over so you can see the circle from the opposite side. Spoon half of the meringue mixture into the centre of each circle and use the spatula to spread it evenly towards the edges with a slight dome in the centre. Let the shells stand, uncovered, at room temperature for about 1 hour.
6.Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly butter a 23cm round cake tin, line the bottom with a baking paper round.
7.Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together into a medium bowl. Beat the sugar and butter in another bowl with an electric mixer until it is pale, about 3 min. Beat in the egg, until light. Scrape the vanilla seeds into the bowl.
8.With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with two equal additions of the cream, and beat until smooth. Spread the batter evenly in the tin and sprinkle with flaky salt.
9.Bake on the centre rack until the top of the cake is golden brown, about 20 min. Leave the oven on. Let the cake cool in the tin for about 10 min. Invert and unmould the tin onto the rack and discard the paper. Turn the cake right side up and let cool completely.
10.Bake the macaron shells until they feel mostly set underneath the crust, about 30 min. Turn off the oven, prop the door open slightly with a wooden spoon, and let them slowly cool, 45 min to 1 hour. Remove from the oven, cool completely and remove the paper.
11. For the fruit layer, whip the cream in a large bowl with an electric mixer until it just begins to hold its shape.
12.No more than 30 minutes before you plan to serve the cake, assemble the components. Place on macaron on a cake plate flat side up. Spread it with half of the cream and scatter the strawberries evenly on top. Gently set the cake layer on top. Cover with the remaining cream and the raspberries. Place the second macaron on top of the raspberries, domed side up.
13.Let the cake stand for 15 to 20 min then use a thin, sharp knife to cut into wedges.

Downtime by Nadine Levy Redzepi, published by Ebury Press, £27.