I have a confession. You know those pretty macaroons I made the other day? I sort of maybe didn’t tell you the whole story.
After the vanilla macaroons came out of the oven all pretty, I decided to make some chocolate ones. I hate almonds, but chocolate seems to be a strong enough flavour to disguise the taste of almonds, so I figured I might actually like chocolate macaroons. Plus I was on a macaroon ROLL. Anyway, my mum called just as I was about to make them, so I weighed out the ingredients while she was on the phone. The scales told me I had 175g of icing sugar. Then 176g. Then 177g. Then 450g. Then -115g. Undeterred (because I am an idiot), I weighed out the cocoa powder and added the ground almonds. Same thing happened. I was puzzled, and also a little worried that I might have to return to old-school baking again. This was followed by me exclaiming to all who would listen (Chris) that my scales were broken, until Chris solved the mystery and declared the phone to be the culprit. Don’t measure ingredients on electronic scales if you’re on the phone!
As I’d weighed out all these ingredients and it would have been impossible to separate them, I decided to just use them anyway. Needless to say, the macaroons turned out wrong. They looked like whoopie pies with little air bubbles all over them. I meant to take a photo to show you, because they looked WEIRD. But then I forgot. Sorry.
Feeling a little less like a macaroon master, I stared forlornly at my flat macaroons, put them in a tupperware tub (I don’t throw away food) and promptly forgot about them. And then! Then I came across this recipe for failed macaroon cake. “Ooo”, I thought, ” that looks good! I should make some macaroons just to use in it!”. As I began planning when I would make said macaroons and cake, I suddenly remembered: I have failed macaroons at home already!
But then! I decided to make my own failed macaroon cake. A torte, in fact, with a little bit of help from Gordon Ramsay. Yeah, I totally just called him and said “hey, Gordon, I’m making a torte with ground macaroons, any tips?” and then he was all “I’ll be right over and we can design this recipe together” and then this didn’t actually happen, I just looked through my copy of World Kitchen SHUT UP. Make some rubbish macaroons! And then this cake.
You could make some not-rubbish macaroons, of course, or use some other chewy biscuit in place of the macaroons. Smarty pants.
Chocolate Tia Maria torte/Failed macaroon cake
175g dark chocolate (72% cocoa solids)
175g plain chocolate (about 50% cocoa solids)
4 large eggs, separated
150g caster (superfine) sugar
100g macaroon shells (mine were chocolate, or use another biscuit of your choice)
2 tbsp Tia Maria (feel free to replace with your favourite liqueur, or omit it altogether)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 160C (320F) fan oven/170C (340F). Grease a 20cm round loose-based cake tin and line the base and sides with baking paper.
Put the macaroons shells or biscuits into a food processor and whizz until fine.
Melt the chocolate in a large bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In another bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale. Add this to the chocolate mixture, along with the macaroons, Tia Maria and vanilla. Fold and stir together until well combined. The mixture will be very, very stiff and look a bit unsaveable. Don’t panic! Just get on with the next part.
Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. Beat about 1/5th of it into the chocolate mixture to loosen it up a bit (it will still be pretty stiff). Fold in the remaining egg whites in four batches. The mixture should get looser with each addition until it is thick, smooth and just about pourable.
Scrape the mixture into the tin and level the top with a spatula. Bake for 35 minutes until firm to touch. Turn the oven off and open the door but leave the torte in there for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove the cake from the tin. Invert the cake onto a plate to remove the base and baking paper, then invert onto another plate so it’s the right way up again (if you like. Obviously if you don’t mind it being upside down then leave it on the original plate and save yourself some washing up). Enjoy!