Quaran-tea! That’s what I’ve been doing over the past week. My husband and I had wonderful carryout tea time last Saturday in celebration of our birthdays (which are 3 days apart!), and I have had tea on the brain ever since! So this week, I decided to try my hand at the delicate but difficult petit four.
I’ve tried making petit fours in the past, but they ended up being…to put it nicely…a beautiful mess. There is even more science than there is art to these sweet, regal treats, and I have never been one to enjoy intense calculations in the kitchen. But this time, I decided to do some real research in advance and be patient in the process. The results…not too shabby, if I do say so myself. I might even say that making them this time was actually, sort of, well…fun!
I’ll walk you down the path I took this time to making petit fours (as there are multiple ways to make them). Step one was to prepare the cake. I made a pound cake batter and then spread it into a rimmed half sheet (about 10 1/2 x 15 1/2 inches) lined with parchment paper on the bottom and sprayed with non-stick spray on the sides. I took ample time to smooth out the batter to try and get an even layer (I could’ve tried even harder, as the final result was just a tad lopsided in places).
I baked my cake for 20 minutes, removed the pan from the oven, and let it rest for about 15 minutes. I then took the cake out of the pan (lifting it out by the parchment paper), and set it on a wire rack to cool completely.
I got a nice, thin, perfectly baked pound cake! I then left it to cool while I prepared the buttercream.
As part of the filling, I made a half recipe of my fav buttercream (which you can find over here: https://allisonswonderland278267426.wordpress.com/2020/01/25/pink-floral-gradient-cake/). Once prepared, I set half of it aside for decoration and the other half for the cake’s filling.
At this point, the pound cake was just about cooled. I cut the cake in half widthwise, got out some raspberry jam, and spread the jam all over one half of the pound cake. Then I brought over the first half of the buttercream I made earlier and spread that on top of the jam. Finally, I topped the frosted half with the unfrosted half, and popped it in the freezer for about 30 minutes.
Once the 30 minutes was up, I pulled the cake out of the freezer, ready to cut. Using a 2-inch round cutter (and the help of a small knife), I cut out about 18 small cakes, placing them on the rack of a bacon pan (I used this pan to catch the liquid fondant for when I got to the pouring). Keep the little cakes in the fridge until pouring time.
Lookin’ good so far! Now for the fondant icing. I combined all the ingredients (minus the powdered sugar) in a medium saucepan and brought it to a boil. I then removed it from the heat, whisked in the powdered sugar, and tinted it pink with a bit of red gel food color.
You have to make sure that the fondant is warm while pouring, so once it was ready, I poured it from the pan into a better pouring instrument (I used a glass measuring cup). I got the cakes out of the fridge, and started pouring the fondant! You’ll want to pour quite a bit over each cake, making sure that the entire thing gets an even coat. Now for the fun part (strong hints of sarcasm)! At this point, I wondered how I had used up all my fondant on just the first round of pouring. What happened?! Then I realized that most of the fondant I had poured over the cakes had now dripped down into the pan (duh!). So what I ended up doing was scraping out the excess fondant (after each round of pouring) back into the saucepan, heating it up a bit, and pouring it back into my measuring cup. Some of my cakes needed more layers than others, but at last, all were done!
So satisfying! I let the cakes rest and set for quite some time, and then I added the finishing touches.
Taking the second half of the buttercream that I had set aside earlier, I used a bit of red gel food coloring to color it a lovely shade of pink. I then scooped out a large spoonful of the pink into a separate bowl, adding more red color to it to get a more reddish-pink. I prepared two piping bags, one with a flower petal tip and the pink buttercream, and another with a tiny round tip and the reddish buttercream. Then I decorated the cakes! I first piped a pink flower onto a cake, and then I filled the center of the flower with red dots, finishing it off with three gold pearls. I repeated this process until all petit fours were topped with a buttercream blossom!
I would recommend letting the petit fours set completely overnight for best results. I was very pleased with my finished products when they were well set the next day!
So pretty and delightful! These turned out MUCH better than my first attempt all those years ago. I am so glad I finally had the courage to try them again!
Cherry Blossom Petit Fours
For the Pound Cake:
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Fondant Icing:
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Pinch of salt
- 5 cups powdered sugar
You will also need:
- 1/2 recipe of Buttercream, found here: https://allisonswonderland278267426.wordpress.com/2020/01/25/pink-floral-gradient-cake/
- Raspberry, cherry, or strawberry jam (seedless)
- Red gel food color
- Edible gold pearls
For the Pound Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Prepare a half sheet pan by greasing the inner edges with cooking spray and lining the bottom with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Stir in vanilla and salt.
- Gradually stir in flour, mixing until just combined.
- Evenly spread batter into prepared sheet pan.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and let cool 15 minutes.
- Remove from pan to wire rack to cool completely.
For the Fondant Icing:
- Combine the water, corn syrup, vanilla and salt in a medium saucepan.
- Bring mixture to a boil, and remove from heat.
- Whisk in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time (icing should be slightly warm).
Petit Fours Assembly:
- Bake pound cake and let cool completely.
- While cake is cooling, prepare buttercream and divide it into 2 equal portions.
- Once cake is cooled, cut in half widthwise.
- Spread jam over one half of the cake, and spread 1st half of buttercream over the jam. Top with the other cake half.
- Place cake in freezer for 30 minutes.
- Remove cake from freezer and use a round, 2-inch cutter to cut 15-18 cakes; place cakes on the rack of a bacon pan.
- Place cakes in fridge, and prepare fondant icing.
- Use a glass measuring cup to pour warm fondant generously over cakes. Repeat until icing layers reach desired thickness on cakes.
- Color buttercream pink (using the red gel food coloring), then remove a large spoonful of the pink into a separate bowl, adding more red color to it to achieve a reddish-pink.
- Prepare two piping bags, one with a flower petal tip and the pink buttercream, and another with a tiny round tip and the reddish buttercream.
- Pipe a pink flower onto a cake. Fill the center of the flower with red buttercream dots. Finish with 3-4 gold pearls. Repeat on all cakes.
- Let petit fours set overnight, and enjoy with a delicious cup of tea!
Makes 15-18 two-inch petit fours