The best days for sprinkles, macarons, and celebrations are those that end in -day. So today, let’s all bake a party with these super cute cake batter macarons.
Whether it’s your birthday, or un-birthday, or just Monday, today needs a fun macaron flavor, and one you can make at home. Before you raise those eyebrows any higher, macarons are definitely something you can make at home, promise. Let these cake batter macarons be your reason to try. Why wouldn’t you? They’re not only perfect on their own, they’d make the best topping for a cake or cupcakes!
I’d also like to finally admit that I’ve come full circle regarding box mixes. As a kid, a box was the only way to bake, and when the Godfather and I first married, it’s mostly all I knew. I’d made a mango cake for my birthday party one year – the first time the Godfather met my parents, just before we started dating. The earliest version of the Snickers cake followed a few months later, and after we got married, I’d make peanut butter cake from scratch. But box mixes were still common.
Once I got brave enough, I ditched the box altogether to make cakes exclusively from scratch, swearing off box mix forever. Or at least, swearing off box mix for what I thought was forever. Time and experience have a funny way of changing our minds about certain things. I think it started for me when i made my cake batter cream cheese. This cream cheese spread doesn’t use any cake mix, but it required a lot of work and testing to get something that was remeniscent of the classic “cake batter” flavor.
But I finally caved when I wanted to make the funfetti condensed milk cookie recipe for the blog. I needed a cake mix to get the right texture. Enough time had passed that I didn’t break into hives thinking about the boxed cake mixes on the shelf at the store, and I bought one. Since the cookies turned out so well, playing with flavors in macarons seemed the next logical step. Cake batter cake is just… cake.
A quick note about the cake batter macarons…
This particular macaron recipe, as written, is not gluten free. The reason these macarons are not gluten free is because the cake mix I use in the flavoring is not gluten free. If you need to make gluten free cake batter macarons, you’re going to want to use a gluten free cake mix instead. The substitution is very easy, substitute equal amounts of the gluten free box mix for the regular box mix.
If you don’t substitute gluten free cake mix, I’d recommend noting somewhere when you serve or gift these that they are not gluten free. Since most flavors of macarons are gluten free, most people assume all are, which isn’t always the case. My personal rule for treats is: if you share, care (enough to label).
How do I decorate these macarons?
If you’d like to decorate them with something extra, brush a little clear piping gel on top of the assembled macarons using a stiff food paintbrush and then dip in sprinkles. You may also use a bit of white chocolate or candy melts.
If you want to avoid topping, roll the freshly filled macarons in sprinkles for that very ‘grammable sprinkle sandwich look. The only reason I didn’t do that with the macarons here is that I’m choosing texture over looks. I don’t love the texture of sprinkle coating around the edges, so I don’t do it.
What I wouldn’t recommend is trying to mix sprinkles into your macaron shells. It’s easy to go overboard and then you’ll end up with cracked shells since your ratios are off. This is personal experience speaking here. Adding a little color instead and sprinkles later is a great way to keep your macs looking festive and technically correct.
As far as the cake batter flavor choices, you can choose what you’d like. Personally, I stick to vanilla or funfetti cake mix to get what I think is the most classic/expected “cake batter” flavor. It’s easy to make other macaron flavors without it. Here are some recipes for lime macarons, hot chocolate macarons, and even eggnog macarons.
For today’s recipe I decided to use the Italian method for macaron making with cooked sugar syrup. If you’re more comfortable following the French method outlined here, go for it! Since the flavor in the macaron comes from the filling, either method is totally appropriate! So choose what makes you most comfortable.
Let’s talk about filling
Since this macaron is all about the birthday cake flavor, I wanted to channel that with the filling. To me, there’s nothing more classic birthday cake than American buttercream frosting. It’s the frosting flavor I most associate with childhood and all things “cake batter”. So a simple butter, sugar, cake mix based filling is perfect for the macarons. And as a bonus, it’s very very easy to make.
If you want a really thorough breakdown for how to make American buttercream, hop over to my Moist Vanilla Cake recipe and check out the video that plays on that post.
I hope you enjoy this cake batter flavored macaron recipe darlings. Happy whatever-day!
- 110 grams egg whites, divided
- 150 grams granulated sugar
- 30 grams water
- 150 grams blanched almond flour
- 150 grams powdered sugar
- gel food coloring
- 1 drop almond extract
- 1 drop vanilla extract
Cake Batter Macaron Filling
- 8 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup boxed cake mix
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar (sifted)
- 1/3 cup sprinkles (jimmies recommended)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Layer the confectioners sugar and almond meal in a small food processor. Add half the powdered sugar first, all the almond meal, then the remaining powdered sugar. Pulse 4-5 times until the sugar and almond meal have combined. Transfer to a medium bowl. Top with 55 g egg whites. Do not mix.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with your whisk attachment, place the other 55g egg whites.
- In a small saucepan, combine the granulated sugar and water over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Bring the mixture up to soft ball stage (235 F/112 C) over medium high heat.
- When the sugar mixture is about 10 degrees away from the soft ball stage, start whisking your egg whites on medium speed until frothy.
- Once the sugar has reached soft ball stage, immediately remove from the heat, increase your mixer speed to high, and carefully drizzle in the sugar syrup, avoiding the sides of your bowl as much as possible. Continue whisking until you've reached a soft peak. Add a drop or two of food coloring here, if using, and your drops of extract.
- Dump in 1/3 of the almond mixture and stir in. Repeat 2 more times. Fold the almond mixture into the egg whites using a "J" motion and rotating the bowl to ensure even mixing. Keep going until the mixture is homogeneous and looks like slow moving lava. Be careful not to over mix.
- Place the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a round tip and pipe onto parchment paper or silicone mat lined baking sheets. Set aside to dry at least 20 minutes.
- Heat your oven to 315 F.
- Bake the sheets one at a time for 15 minutes until the shells easily lift off the parchment or baking mat but aren't colored around the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before filling.
- While the macarons are baking, make the filling by beating the butter until light and fluffy, then adding the cake batter, sugar, and vanilla. Beat on medium until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Fold in the sprinkles.
- When the shells are cooled, pair them together. Pipe a bit of filling on one side of the macaron and then top with the other.
- Allow the macarons to rest in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 24 hours before serving (ideally). Remove from the refrigerator a few minutes before eating to allow the filling to soften.
If using unsalted butter for the filling, add a pinch of salt to help balance the flavor.
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