Petit Fours


Ahh, petit fours.  Something I have always, always wanted to make.  They are so tiny and pretty and delicate.  Finally, I decided to give it a go and make them as favors for my friend’s baby shower.  They turned out very well, and people seemed to really enjoy them but, will I ever make them again?  Probably not.  I actually think my downfall was being too ambitious by making two types of petit fours – two cake flavors, two simple syrups, two jams, and two colors of poured fondant.  If I had not done that, I think this wouldn’t have taken the insane amount of time that it did.  The flavor combinations were lemon sponge cake with vanilla buttercream, raspberry jam and raspberry simple syrup, and almond sponge cake with vanilla buttercream, blueberry jam and blueberry simple syrup.  I have to admit, the end result was very impressive, especially when topped with cute little sugar flowers and bumblebees from Baker’s Nook.  The theme of the shower was “Mommy-to-Bee” so these fit in nicely.  The recipe below is basically what I did, although I made more batches of poured fondant than I care to count to cover these cakes.  Quite a bit is wasted in the process of ladling over the cakes, and I don’t know that it can be salvaged.  It was easier to work with than most sources I have read led me to believe, so that is one small saving grace of this experience.  As painful as this all was, as long as Rachel enjoyed it then it was all worth it 🙂

Petit Fours

Ingredients:

For the Lemon Sponge Cake:

6 eggs

2 tsp. finely shredded lemon peel

¼ cup lemon juice

¼ cup water

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup sugar

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

½ tsp. cream of tartar

½ cup sugar

(For Almond Sponge Cake, prepare as directed except omit lemon peel, use ½ cup pineapple juice instead of lemon juice and water, and add a ½ tsp. almond extract with the juice.)

 

For the Raspberry Simple Syrup:

1 cup sugar

½ cup water

fresh raspberries (a handful or two)

(For Blueberry Simple Syrup, prepare as directed except substitute fresh blueberries for fresh raspberries.)

 

For the filling:

one recipe Easy Vanilla Buttercream

seedless raspberry jam, heated or stirred until easily spreadable

 

For the poured fondant:

4 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar

½ cup water

¼ cup light corn syrup

½ tsp. vanilla

¼ tsp. almond extract

food coloring (optional)

 

Directions:

To make the cake, separate eggs.  Allow egg whites and egg yolks to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.  In a medium mixing bowl, beat egg yolks on high speed about 5 minutes or until thick and lemon-colored.  Add lemon peel, lemon juice, water and vanilla; beat on low speed until combined.  Gradually beat in the 1 cup sugar at low speed.  Increase to medium speed; beat until mixture thickens slightly and doubles in volume (about 5 minutes total).

 

Sprinkle ¼ cup of flour over egg yolk mixture; fold in until combined.  Repeat with remaining flour, ¼ cup at a time.  Set egg yolk mixture aside.

 

Thoroughly wash beaters.  In a large mixing bowl beat egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peaks form.  Gradually add the ½ cup sugar, beating on high speed until stiff peaks form.  Fold 1 cup of the beaten egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture; fold egg yolk mixture into remaining egg white mixture.  Pour into a 9×13” baking pan, sprayed lightly with cooking spray.

 

Bake in a 325° oven for 27-30 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched.  Immediately invert cake onto cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

 

To make the simple syrup, combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.  Stirring frequently, heat until the sugar has dissolved in the water.  Turn heat up to medium-high and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat, pour through a sieve to remove fruit, and allow to cool completely before use.

 

To assemble petit fours, slice cake horizontally into two equal halves.  Brush the cut side of each layer with simple syrup.  On one cake layer, spread a layer of buttercream.  Top with a thin layer of jam.  Lay remaining cake layer on top of jam.  Brush top layer with more simple syrup.  Carefully cut layered cake into desired petit four shapes.

 

To make the poured fondant, combine all ingredients in a double boiler over simmering water.  Heat until lukewarm.  Remove from heat and stir in food coloring.  Ladle over petit fours (multiple coats are likely necessary).

Sources: sponge cake adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook; simple syrup from Annie’s Eats, vanilla buttercream from Cook’s Illustrated, poured fondant from Use Real Butter

18 Responses

  1. Your petit fours were so adorable! I’m so impressed with the two flavors, even if it almost killed you!

  2. They look really great. I’ve been wanting to try them as well, inspired by Use Real Butter. She also warns that it’s a major project though.

  3. Wow! They look so pristine and beautiful! I hope you do make them again (just be easier on yourself!) because you sure did make one hell of a presentation!

  4. Annie!! THESE LOOK AMAZING! I’m sure you’ll never want to do all this again (the work sucks), but in my opinion, these are TOTALLY worth it. They are GORGEOUS!! Great job!

  5. Those look amazing! I love the flavor combinations as well. You are such a great friend!

  6. These are so beautiful!

  7. You did such a great job. Kudos for knocking yourself out with the time element involved in such a great outcome. You’re far more ambitious than I so hats off to you.

  8. oh Annie, these are just magnificent!! excellent job!! i’m sorry they were such a PIA to make but i’m sure your friend really appreciated them.

  9. Those are adorable. Great job. I’m sorry about the poured fondant. Working with it makes me cuss a lot. I usually catch the drips (because so much of it winds up on the pan below rather than on the petits fours themselves) and scrape it back into the pan and reheat it and keep recycling, otherwise I would be making a ton of poured fondant. To avoid crumbing, I sometimes try to freeze my petits fours so they don’t much up the runoff fondant. Although the last batch I made didn’t require freezing and there weren’t any crumbs that fell off. Hope that helps some next time. I always say I won’t make these again, and then somehow I do 😦

  10. I’ve never made them either, but they definitely fit that “super cute” category. Perfect for a baby shower for sure. Well worth the effort and headache!!

  11. Oh so sweet! I can’t wait for my sister’s baby shower to try these. Or maybe a Tea Party for my daughter. Or maybe Mother’s Day. Darling, just darling!

  12. Wow. These are absolutely beautiful! Great job! I felt the same way when I made Venitian (rainbow) cookies. Lots of work, but so well worth it. You decorated them beatifully.

  13. Annie! You always amaze me; these are adorable!!

  14. Wow Annie, these are absolutely adorable! Cutest little cakes ever. You did such an amazing job and I am sure the “mommy to bee” really appreciated all your hard work.

  15. Those look so good. I’ve always wanted to make those.

  16. WOW, i am so impressed! these are beautiful; though i know they were a lot of hard work!

  17. Yum! Petit Fours, and it looks like without chalk-like marzipan! They look gorgeous. 🙂

  18. Your petite fours are georgeous!!! You did a wonderful job and are a wonderful friend. I am just making some for a church program. They are surely a lot of work but well worth it. I make my own recipe (one-egg cake) and dip into melted chocolate (something different) although I’m going to try the fondant. Thanks for sharing!

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