Birthday Cake Macarons have a classic french macaron shell topped with sprinkles and filled with a cake batter American buttercream.
Birthday Cake Macarons are always my go-to when I bring macarons somewhere. The recipe is simple and straightforward and people are always so impressed with them! Cake batter is such a popular flavor and it translates extremely well into macarons.
Macarons are one of my favorite things to make, but they are definitely tricky. They have a mind of their own and one wrong step in the recipe can totally change the end result. BUT they are also so fun to make, a major win when you get them right, and delicious no matter how they end up looking.
That being said, it is so possible to master macarons. I compiled a Step-by-Step Macaron post with all of my best tips and tricks for making the best macarons possible. It has all of the steps and tools that I use every time I make macarons and I can promise you it will get you closer to being a macaron master!
Ingredients for Birthday Cake Macarons:
Ingredients for french macaron shell:
- Almond Flour. Be sure that you are using almond flour and not almond meal.
- Powdered Sugar. This will aid in the flavor and structure of the finished macarons.
- Egg Whites. Having your egg whites at room temperature will make it easier to whip them.
- Granulated Sugar. Sugar will give structure to the beaten egg whites.
- Sprinkles. You can use whatever kind of sprinkles you like best, but I used nonpareils.
Ingredients for cake batter American buttercream:
- Unsalted Butter. I always make sure to use unsalted butter when baking because there is no “standard” for the amount of salt they can add to butter. So if you add salt to a recipe and then use salted butter you could end up with a very salty end product.
- Powdered Sugar. See above note.
- Heavy Cream or Milk. This will help bring the buttercream together and make it creamy. You can substitute for non-dairy milk.
- Classic Yellow Cake Mix. I used a gluten-free cake mix so that these naturally gluten-free cookies could stay that way.
- If possible, make your macarons on a less humid day. You will need to rest the macarons for longer and they might not turn out as well on a humid day.
- Don’t over-mix the batter. You only need to macaronage until you can make a figure 8 with the batter. If you over-mix the macarons will spread too much.
- Wipe the bowl down with vinegar before adding the egg whites to whip. Even a speck of leftover dish soap or fat (egg yolk, butter, etc.) will inhibit the egg whites from whipping up properly.
- Let the macarons rest before eating. Macarons are best when they have matured for 12 or so hours. So after you fill the macarons, let them rest overnight for the best flavor.
How to make Birthday Cake Macarons:
STEP 2: In a food processor add the powdered sugar and almond flour and pulse until fully combined and rid of lumps. Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. If you don’t have a food processor you can just sift the ingredients together.
STEP 3: In a medium bowl, prepare the french meringue. Beat the egg whites on low speed until they get frothy. If desired, Add one drop of food coloring at this point. Increase the speed and slowly add the sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form.
STEP 4: Add the french meringue into the dry ingredients and begin to gently fold with a silicone spatula. This process is called macaronage. You will know the batter is ready when the ingredients are fully combined and not streaky. You should be able to hold the spatula above the bowl and draw a figure 8 smoothly without the batter breaking off. Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a piping tip. Pipe 1-inch disks onto the prepared cookie sheet.
STEP 5: Firmly tap the cookie sheet onto the counter 3 or 4 times to bring any air bubbles to the surface. Use a toothpick to pop any remaining air bubbles. Add sprinkles to the top of each macaron. You need to do it at this point so that they will stick to the French macaron shells.
STEP 6: Let the macarons rest for an hour. There needs to be a dry layer on the top. You should be able to run your finger over the top without any transferring to your finger.
STEP 7: Preheat the oven to 280 degrees (F). This is the temperature that I have found works well for my oven, but you may need to play around with the temperature.
STEP 8: Place the macarons on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 5 minutes, rotate the cookie sheet, bake for another 5 minutes, and rotate the cookie sheet again, bake for 5 minutes. 15 minutes in total.
STEP 9: Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. They should peel off the mat easily.
STEP 10: When the macarons are cooled peel them off of the mat and match each shell to another that is the same size.
Cake Batter American Buttercream
STEP 2: Add the cake mix and half of the powdered sugar. Beat until fully combined.
STEP 3: Add the rest of the powdered sugar. Beat on medium speed for 5-6 minutes.
STEP 4: If the buttercream is too thick add the heavy cream or milk, 1 tablespoon at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.
How to assemble Birthday Cake Macarons:
STEP 1: Transfer the American buttercream frosting to a piping bag fitted with a piping tip.
STEP 2: Pipe your desired amount of frosting on the inside of one macaron shell. Place another macaron shell on top.
STEP 3: Repeat with remaining macarons.
Can I make macarons ahead of time?
For sure! I make macarons ahead of time pretty often and they always still taste amazing. If I am making french macarons more than a day before I want to serve them I freeze them. They will freeze well for about two weeks. Just pull them out of the freezer about an hour before you are ready to serve them and they will thaw out perfectly.
More Macaron Recipes
- White Chocolate Raspberry Macarons– a classic french macaron shell that is filled with white chocolate raspberry ganache.
- Fluffer Nutter Macarons– a french macaron shell filled with a mixture of creamy peanut butter and marshmallow fluff.
- White Chocolate Rose Macarons– these french macaron shells are filled with white chocolate rose buttercream.
- Chamomile and Caramelized Honey Macarons– chamomile flavored macaron shells filled with caramelized honey buttercream.
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Recipe originally posted May 5th, 2020.
Birthday Cake Macarons
- 1 2/3 cups (200 grams) powdered sugar
- 1 cup (110 grams) almond flour
- 3 large (100 grams) egg whites
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granualted sugar
- spinkles as needed
- 4 tablespoons (56 grams) unsalted butter softened
- 3 tablespoons yellow cake mix
- 1 cup (113 grams) powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream or milk
- Line a cookie sheet with a silicone mat or you can use parchment paper if you don't have one.
- Using a food processor, pulse the powdered sugar and almond flour until fully combined and rid of lumps. Sift the combined dry ingredients into a large bowl. If you do not have a food processor you can just sift.
- In a medium bowl, prepare the french meringue. Beat the egg whites on low speed with a hand mixer until they get frothy. Increase the speed and slowly add the sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form. If you want to add any food coloring, do it now, but use it sparingly or you will make the meringue too liquidy.
- Add the french meringue into the dry ingredients and begin to gently fold. The batter should be fully combined and not streaky. When you are able to make a figure 8 with the batter in one motion, the batter is ready (more information on this process in my French Macaron Recipe). If it is too runny it has been over-mixed.
- Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a piping tip. Pipe 1-inch disks on to the silicone mat.
- Tap the cookie sheet on the countertop 3 or 4 times to get rid of any air bubbles. Use a toothpick to pop any remaining air bubbles.
- At this point, you can sprinkle the sprinkles on top of the macarons. You can skip this step if you want to.
- Allow the macarons to rest for an hour or until the tops of the macarons have dried. You will be able to gently run your finger over them without anyting getting on your finger.
- Preheat the oven to 280 degrees (F).
- Place the macarons on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 5 minutes, rotate the cookie sheet and bake for another 5 minutes, rotate the pan one last time and bake for 5 minutes. 15 minutes in total.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the cookie sheet.
- If the macarons were baked correctly they should easily peel off of the silicone mat.
- In a medium bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter until it is very soft and creamy. The butter needs to be really soft or your buttercream won’t be as fluffy as it should be.
- Add the cake mix and half of the powdered sugar. Beat until fully combined.
- Add the rest of the powdered sugar. Beat on medium speed for 5-6 minutes.
- If the buttercream is too thick add the heavy cream or milk, 1 tablespoon at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.
- Transfer the American buttercream frosting to a piping bag fitted with a piping tip.
- Pipe your desired amount of frosting on the inside of one macaron shell. Place the matching shell on top.
- Repeat with remaining macaron shells.