Mother’s Day is less than a week away, which means that everyone is breaking out the flour and sugar in hopes to create beautifully decorated sugar cookies, cupcake bouquets, and other sweet treats! My mother happens to live across the country, but if she were here I would definitely make her some of these gorgeous, delicious miniature cakes.
Now, there is a name for tiny cakes covered in poured fondant: Petit Fours. However, I decided against calling them by that name because traditional petit fours are small enough to eat in 1 or 2 bites. These cakes are more like 3 American bites, or 5 dainty French bites.
You may be thinking, “But Amanda, when you average American and French bites you still get four, so why does it matter?” Petit fours are simply named after the small oven they were baked in; the freakish nibbling habits of the French have nothing to do with it!
Anyway, although there are several steps to making these, there isn’t a whole lot of actual baking going on. The cake itself, which can also be used to make swiss or jelly rolls, takes about 15 minutes or less in the oven. Super easy. If you decide to make your own jam that is relatively quick too. The poured fondant is as easy mixing some ingredients together and then warming it up until it is pourable. Buttercream is even easier! Scout’s honor: It took me longer to write this blog post than it did to actually make these cakes.
My one regret is coloring the fondant a pale yellow and then filling some of the cakes with a dab of nutella. This gave these particular cakes a bit of a “burger” look. But the beauty of this recipe is that you can easily change up the fillings and the color of the poured fondant. You can even do multiple fillings and multiple fondant colors. The possibilities really are endless.
These cakes essentially consist of three or four small, simple recipes: The cake, the jam (unless you use store-bought), the poured fondant, and the buttercream. To make this easier to follow I will list the ingredients and directions of each recipe separately.
For the Cake (Courtesy of Real Housemoms):
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 3/4 cup (150g) of granulated sugar
- 2 tbsps (30g) of oil (I used vegetable)
- 2 tbsps (30g) of buttermilk (I used 2 tbsps of regular milk mixed with 1/8th tsp of lemon juice)
- 1 tsp (5g) cider vinegar
- 1 tsp (5g) vanilla extract
- 1 cup (120g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp (5g) baking powder
- 1/2 tsp (2g) salt
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350º F (175ºC), or 325ºF (160ºC) for dark pans.
Step 2: Spray a cookie sheet (with sides) or jelly roll pan with baking spray, line with parchment, then spray again.
Step 3: Lay a tea towel on a flat surface and generously sprinkle it with powdered sugar. Immediately upon the cake coming out of the oven you will need a run a knife along the sides of the pan and then invert the cake onto this tea towel (sounds scarier than it is).
Step 4: In a small bowl whisk together your flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
Step 5: Using a handheld or stand mixer, beat your eggs on high speed until they are thick, pale, and have reached the ribbon stage (About 4-5 minutes using a stand mixer, possibly longer if using a handheld mixer). Keep beating as you slowly pour in your sugar.
Step 6: Add the oil, vanilla, buttermilk, and vinegar and beat for one more minute. The eggs will deflate a bit, but don’t panic (like I did). Slowly sift your dry ingredients into the bowl in 2 or 3 batches, using a rubber spatula to fold them in.
Step 7: Pour the mixture into your prepared pan and even out the batter the best you can. Bake for approximately 15 minutes. Don’t leave the kitchen! Keep the oven light on and peek in (without opening the door) every 5 minutes or so. The cake will rise, it will be nice and golden on top, and it will spring back when you touch it.
Step 8: Invert your freshly baked cake onto the tea towel! Can you tell I forgot to run a knife around the edge of the pan? Luckily it came out in relatively one piece.The edges were a little crispy, but that is because I didn’t even out the batter as well as I would have liked. I also think I overbaked it just a tad. The middle was soft and springy, though. Just perfect.
Step 9: Allow the cake to cool for a few minutes, then use a 2-inch cookie cutter to cut several circles. Allow these little beauties to cool while you make the jam (optional).
For the Strawberry Jam:
(Note: I used this homemade strawberry jam for half of my cakes, then used leftover [purchased] blueberry jam for my remaining cakes).
- 90g chopped strawberries
- 90g granulated sugar
A note about jam: This recipe (intentionally) makes a very small amount of jam. There was basically enough to add a teaspoon to about 8 cakes and then cover 2 slices of toast. Why am I using gram measurements here? Jam follows a 1:1 ratio, or equal parts fruit to sugar.It is easier to ensure this ratio when weighing, but if you do not have a scale feel free to use 1/2 cup of strawberries and 1/2 cup of sugar (just keep in mind that it may not be a perfect 1:1 ratio).
Step 1: Chop up your strawberries super fine and add them to a small pot with the sugar. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium, allowing the mixture to bubble for approximately 5-10 minutes, until it coats the back of a spoon. Don’t overcook! Mine took closer to 5 minutes. If you go for too long the jam will get too thick.
Step 2: To quicken the cooling process, set the bowl in an ice water bath and stir every few minutes. When it is no longer hot (but still slightly warm) remove it from the bath.
For the Buttercream:
(I didn’t bother taking pictures since I was making such a small amount.)
- 1 stick (113g) of softened butter
- 2 cups (200g) of powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp (2g) of vanilla
- 1-2 tsp (2-5g) of milk
- Pink and green gel food coloring, or different colors if you wish!
Step 1: Whisk the butter in a bowl until creamy.
Step 2: Add your powdered sugar a little at a time and whisk to combine, about 3 minutes. It’s only a tiny amount of icing but you want it to be fully incorporated and fluffy!
Step 3: If needed, add milk to thin it out. You don’t want it too thin though, since you’ll be piping flowers.
Step 4: Add a few tablespoons of icing to a small bowl and add green food coloring. Divide the remaining icing into two bowls and color one pink. Transfer all colors to their own piping bags: leaf tip for green icing, rose tip for pink icing, and round or star tip for white icing.
Step 5: Pipe your rosebuds on some parchment squares and then place them into the freezer (you’ll add the leaves after the buds are on the cakes). How do you make a rosebud? Just try to pipe a rose and then stop when it gets difficult. Haha. Not even kidding. In all seriousness, Vanessa over at Cake Style gives a pretty awesome tutorial, starting at 1:25.
For the Poured Fondant (Courtesy of the King Arthur Flour website):
- 1c (175g) of white chocolate chips
- 4c (400g) powdered sugar
- 1/4c (78g) of light corn syrup
- 1 tsp (5g) of vanilla extract
- 1/4c (2oz) of hot water
- gel color of your choice
Step 1: Microwave your white chocolate in 30 second intervals until melted, stirring each time.
Step 2: Sift your powdered sugar into a bowl, then add the corn syrup, vanilla, and water. Mix until smooth.
Step 3: Fold in your white chocolate and add your desired amount of food coloring.
King Arthur claims that this poured fondant is easiest to use at 100º F (37º C), and that you can add a few teaspoons of water if it is too thick. I recommend microwaving it for a few seconds right before you use it. You want it relatively thin and easy to pour.
Alright, recipes done! Shall we put these pretties together?
First, figure out how many cakes you can make based on how many circles you cut. I think I was able to make 16 2-layer mini cakes. 8 of those cakes I filled with a ring of vanilla buttercream and a dollop of blueberry jam. I filled the remaining with a ring of nutella and a dollop of the homemade strawberry jam.
How cute are these? Next, take a baking sheet and line it with foil (This is so you can reuse any poured fondant that drips on the pan; simply scrape it back into a bowl and reheat). Place your little cakes on a cooling rack on top of the baking sheet and foil.
Pour your fondant over each cake. But do it very slowly and meticulously, doing one cake at a time and making sure each cake is completely covered. As you can see above I did not do this, which is why you can see exposed cake in some areas. I thought I would be able to heat it up and go over it again with no issues, but no. See below:
Although I was able to cover the sides of the cakes, fondant dripped over the tops again, ruining the smoothness I’d achieved on my first pass. So, yeah. Avoid doing that if you want smooth tops! And as I mentioned way earlier, avoid the nutella and yellow combination if you don’t want them to look like burgers. 😛 I have no idea why they look so white here (I was in front of a window). Perhaps the color deepens while they set.
It’s okay if you mess up though because once your place your rosebuds and pipe some little leaves many of your mistakes are hidden. Since the roses have been frozen you can easily peel them off the parchment squares and place them directly on the cakes. Here they are in new lighting (outside). The yellow really shines through now!
So you can take pretty pictures to show off what you made.
Then you can cut into one and look at all that sweet, spongy vanilla cake and brightly colored jam. My mouth is watering because I already know what it tastes like.
The poured fondant is super sweet. Like insanely sweet. Make sure you have a glass of tea, milk, or even coffee. My mom loves coffee, but these don’t really fit the “coffee cake” bill.
Even so, these are what your mom wants for Mother’s Day! What the Queen of England dines on away from her peasants! What the French nibble on like little mice!
I’m sorry. I’m half French so it’s okay.
I hope you’ll give these a try, if not for Mother’s Day, then any other day! If you do, please let me know how they turned out.
Until next time!