Canadians LOVE macaroni and cheese. Did you know that we eat more Kraft Dinner (yes - that delicious stuff in the blue box) than any other country in the world? But every now and again I like to class it up a bit with some good old fashioned, homemade macaroni and cheese. Gooey, melted cheese, crusty bread crumbs, and a sprinkling a parmesan. But this week, I'm going to cake it!
I'm making my mini macaroni and cheese cakes out rounds of orange velvet cake, piped cream cheese icing, white jelly bellies smothered in white chocolate ganache, and melted coloured modeling chocolate. To give it an extra comfort food touch, I baked a mini vanilla cake and cut it into little cubes to sprinkle onto my mac and cheese. Finished off with white chocolate "parmesan" shavings.
For the Coloured Modeling Chocolate
Coloured Modeling Chocolate Ingredients & Tools
1/2 cup clear corn syrup - http://amzn.to/1TBjgi6
ChefMaster Liqua-Gel Colour in Sunset Orange #5440 - http://amzn.to/1IYXcL9
Make this recipe one day ahead as you need time for it to set!
Place your chocolate and corn syrup in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Let them melt together and begin to stir gently. Try not to over stir this. Once your ingredients have come together, stir in your gel colour until you have reached you desired colour and pour the modeling chocolate into small pan lined with parchment paper, and set overnight. I also find it helpful to chill the modeling chocolate once it is completely set. This will make it easier to grate.
For the Orange Velvet Cake
Orange Velvet Cake Ingredients & Tools
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups sugar - http://amzn.to/1Sm38i3
1 teaspoon ChefMaster Liqua-Gel Colour in Sunset Orange #5440 - http://amzn.to/1TBj5TW
3 cups flour - http://amzn.to/1f1mn3M
1/2 teaspoon salt - http://amzn.to/1DfvFPq
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar - http://amzn.to/1M9lUu8
1 1/2 spoons baking soda - http://amzn.to/1M9lVOI
Small and medium mixing bowl
9 x 12” Cake pan - http://amzn.to/1CCLULK
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of your pan with parchment. Place butter, oil, sugar and vanilla in bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until well-blended. About 5 minutes. Meanwhile whisk flour, cocoa and salt into a bowl and set aside.
Beat in eggs one at a time. With machine on low, add orange gel food coloring. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk. Add the dry ingredients in four parts, and the buttermilk in three. Scrape down bowl and beat just long enough to combine.
Place baking soda in a small dish, stir in vinegar and add to batter with machine running. Beat for 10 seconds. Pour your batter into prepared pan, place in oven and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let cool in pan completely.
For the Coloured White Chocolate Ganache
Coloured White Chocolate Ganache Ingredients & Tools
4 oz whipping cream
ChefMaster Liqua-Gel Colour in Sunset Orange #5440 - http://amzn.to/1M9m2Ki
We begin this process by making a white chocolate ganache. Chop your chocolate as finely as you can. Place your whipping cream in the microwave and heat until it just starts bubbling. Pour the cream over your chocolate, cover and let sit for ten minutes. Stir your ganache with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add the orange food colouring until you have reached your desired colour. Because this cheese colour is so specific, I like to put a bit of gel colour on the side of my bowl, and slowing incorporate small amounts using a wooden spoon. Set aside.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients & Tools
Beat cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add your butter and continue to beat another 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of your bowl. Add icing sugar at low speed, until incorporated. Add vanilla and beat your icing for 2 minutes at high speed to remove any lumps.
For the Assembly
Assembly Ingredients & Tools
Piping bag - http://amzn.to/1f1n1xW
#805 round piping tip - http://amzn.to/1f1n6lx
Remove your orange velvet cake from the pan and level it. Cut the entire slab in half horizontally. Use your circle cutters to cut out twelve cake circles that will fit inside your mini cocottes. Six of each size. My cocottes were slightly tapered, so I needed to use six 3 1/4" inch rounds for the top, and six 3" inch rounds for the bottom.
Fill your piping bag with your cream cheese frosting. Place the smaller circles of cake into the cocottes, and pipe your frosting on top. Add the next layer of cake to each one of the pots and press down. Pipe a little bit of cream cheese frosting onto the top layers. Smooth the frosting across the tops with a palette knife.
We need macaroni! Pour your jelly bellies into a bowl and coat them in the white – now orange - chocolate ganache. Spoon this sweet mixture onto your mini cakes. It’s okay if the ganache drips off the sides a bit, because it will look just like melted cheese! Butter the surface of your vanilla cake slices and cut them up into small cubes. Garnish your pots with the cake cubes.
Let’s get out our modeling chocolate and begin grating. Grate enough to top all six pots. You can make your cakearoni and cheese as cheesy as you desire. Time to call on our friend, the brulee torch. Lightly brulee your pots. This takes a bit of patience, you don’t want to get to close and burn them. When you are satisfied with the look, let your pots cool of completely.
Just before serving, use a microplane or a fine grater to grate on some fresh parmigiano cheese. Ooops, I mean white chocolate!