chocolate macaroon cake with orange buttercream

i spent some time this week with my old friend, mr. vibraphone! i snuck into the university of north dakota practice rooms, took off my shoes like the good old days, and started regaining my right big toe muscle, the one that ends up doing most of the vibe pedaling. (note to self: get a pedicure.) it was fun and it felt real good that i didn't completely forget everything about this opera that i'm playing in a few weeks and it brought back wonderful memories of when i played it last, at the very beginning of eggboy. oh yeah, i'm going to texas to play an opera in a few weeks!

(do you live in texas? do you enjoy contemporary opera? do you have a babysitter for your kiddos since there is more (fake) blood in this opera than i have ever seen in my entire life? come see me play music in this awesome dark thing! it is amazing!)

other than that, the big news is that from what i've been able to tell in the 1-2 times that i've left the house this week, spring is here! eggboy came in yesterday smelling like he does in the spring and summer, slightly sweaty and kind of dirty. not dirty, like unclean, but dirty like actual dirt on his face that makes him look like a raccoon. i think he's about to put seeds in the ground. i think. 

how kind of spring to show up right in time for passover and easter! i love a springtime holiday. even though it looks like our passover guests are going to be: mr. mumbles the stuffed penguin, mcnugget the stuffed sunny side up egg, ernie, and elijah. maybe elijah will bring a plus one? oh well, more brisket and an automatic afikoman win for me! 

and cake.

*of course*

i made this cake for my friend nina, who is turning 30 this weekend!!! i imagine that a passover birthday can be a little bit like a chrismukkah birthday. presents magically get combined into chrismukkah/birthday presents, birthday cakes on passover magically... don't happen? or are not good? or are actually a macaroon with a candle in it? ok this is kind of that, but a good macaroon. a danny macaroons-inspired macaroon. with a slathering of orange buttercream, because what's that tale about having an orange at your seder? i wanted to make nina a classy tasty cake for a very special birthday, because the person behind egg roll hamantaschen and taco hamantaschen deserves such a thing. and so do you!

happy birthday, nina!!!! 

chocolate macaroon cake with orange buttercream

makes one 8-inch cake



2 14-oz bags sweetened shredded coconut

1 1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp kosher salt

4 large egg whites

4 tsp vanilla extract

2 14-oz cans sweetened condensed milk*


2 c unsalted butter, softened*

4 c powdered sugar

a pinch of kosher salt

zest of one orange

2 tsp orange juice


chocolate shavings

cocoa powder

orange slices

*if you're looking for dairy free/kosher alternatives, here is a recipe for condensed coconut milk and here is a recipe for homemade dairy condensed milk. i have not tested these, but i will let you know if i do! for the frosting, feel free to sub the butter for your preferred vegan butter.



preheat oven to 350. grease four 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment. (it's ok if you don't have four pans, you can just bake the layers in batches.)

in a large bowl, mix together the coconut, cocoa powder, and salt. in a separate bowl, whisk together the egg whites, vanilla, and condensed milk. add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. spread one fourth of the batter into each cake pan (these will be very thin layers) and bake for about 18 minutes, until they're no longer shiny. let cool for 5-10 minutes in their pans and then turn onto a drying rack to cool fully.


beat all frosting ingredients together until smooth.


stack up your layers with a thin layer of frosting in between them and then frost the cake all over. decorate with chocolate shavings, cocoa powder, and oranges slices as desired.



pictured: cake stand // wooden utensils