When it comes to high tea treats, lovely little bite sized delicacies, also known as petit fours, are the unbeatable favourite. As a baker, you might grimace at the thought of how labour intensive making these might sound, but as a Super Baker, you also know that CAB Foods has your back with straightforward and elegant solutions to make baking a breeze. Put the kettle on and let’s start at the beginning.
The story behind petit fours
Traditionally speaking, a petit four is an individual cake that is carefully prepared and exquisitely decorated by hand and can be consumed in no more than two bites. Translated directly from French, the term petit four means “small oven”. It is widely believed that this name for sweet, single serving cakes originates from the specialised ovens the boulangerie bakers and pastry makers of 19th century France installed to separate their finer bakes from more robust loaves of bread made in the crudely heated main ovens. The reason for installing such ovens was a surge of popularity among the ruling class of those days to serve delicate bakes with their afternoon tea. The popularity of petit fours soon grew as all hosts and hostesses, who could afford it, insisted on serving only the most superb edible delicacies to their guests.
There are three classifications of baked petit fours, namely petit four sec, petits fours frais, and petit four glacé. Petit four sec, sec meaning ‘dry’, consists of an endless variety of small biscuits, and macarons that are baked at a low temperature for a long time. Petits fours frais, refers to eclairs and fresh cakes that are made to consume within the day, as they contain ingredients like fresh cream and cut fruits. Savoury tarts, or petit four sale, containing ingredients like cheese, ham, and egg also falls under the classification of frais.
Petit four glacé, on the other hand, traditionally consists of cake, that has been covered in marzipan and iced with fondant to preserve its softness. These exquisite little cakes, coveted by sweet tooths across the globe, are often decorated with royal icing twirls, piped chocolate, glazed fruits and crystallised flowers. The whimsical appearance of Petit four glacé has now put them back on the map as the trending 21st-century sweet snack of choice. They are commonly served at events like bridal showers, stalk parties, and weddings. So naturally, every Super Baker must know how to make these little taste explosions.
DIY Pink Velvet and Marshmallow Petit four glacé
The original method for making petit four glacé calls for genoise or frangipane cake, covered in layers of apricot glaze or marzipan, as well as fondant made from sugar, water, glucose and gelatine. As there are many types of Super Bakers out there, some will prefer to stick to this method, and others will prefer a more time-economical version. The latter is easy to achieve and all you’ll need is the following:
4 x Large Eggs
Bake your Pink Velvet Cake Premix as per the instructions on the packet, taking care to whisk the batter thoroughly.
Once baked, allow the sponge to cool completely and cut into two layers. Prepare your Marshmallow Icing as per instructions on the packet, and spread a thin layer on the bottom layer of your cake before replacing the top layer.
Set the leftover Marshmallow Icing aside and now cut your cake into bite size blocks, roughly 25x25mm each.
Spoon your Pouring Fondant into a ceramic bowl and heat it up in the microwave for a few seconds. The fondant will be very gummy whilst it is still cold but becomes runny as soon as it is heated. Be very careful though, as the fondant consists mostly of sugar, it reaches high temperatures very quickly and can cause a nasty burn. Avoid touching it with your fingers, licking spoons and dripping on your bare skin. It is also best to work with hot sugar away from children or animals who can inadvertently cause a painful spill.
While your fondant is soft, stir a drop of your colour gel and about four or five drops of the flavoured essence into your fondant. It is best to start with very small amounts of colour and flavour as both are very intense. You can always add a bit more if you feel the fondant needs some more pizzazz.
Place a few of your cake squares on a wire rack, propped over a clean tray or cookie tray to catch drippings. Once everything is ready, heat your fondant in the microwave again for about a minutes until it is runny. Remove it from the microwave and immediately start spooning over your cake. You’ll notice the fondant thicken as it cools. Once you find it difficult to dribble over your cakes, reheat whatever is left in your bowl and continue. You can also intermittently scrape the excess from your drip tray back into your bowl for reheating.
You may find your tools and surfaces are soon caked with hardened fondant, but luckily clean-up is a breeze. Just soak all utensils and bowls in warm water until the fondant dissolves.
As your iced petit fours cool, carefully remove them from the wire rack, cut off any access fondant drippings with a sharp knife, and place them in mini cupcake wrappers.
Pipe a few small of the Marshmallow Icing you’ve set aside onto each petit four and decorate with your Pastel Sprinkles to add that final touch.
Voila! Just like that, you have created flavourful and beautiful homemade Petit four glacé to enjoy with your afternoon tea.
Time to turn your pinkies up and enjoy.
Thanks to the brilliant range of premixes and ready-to-use products from CAB Foods, many traditional recipes that are considered to be complicated or time-consuming to bake can be created quickly and easily at home, regardless of your baking experience. Visit any of our five stores, or shop online to discover these wonderful products for yourself, and have fun baking your own creations with confidence.