I’ve been on a pound cake kick lately. Last weekend I made two of them. One plain and another with strawberries. They both turned out really yummy.
Then, this weekend I wanted to try my hand at petit fours. You know … adorable, tiny layered cakes filled with fruit or frosting and covered in poured fondant or icing. They can be made from sponge cakes, genoise cakes, or pound cakes. Ding. Ding. Ding. That means more pound cake for me. I decided to go the whole nine yards. Little layers, syrup, marzipan… Looking back, I think my kitchen wishes I went the easy way. I should have just sliced 1-inch thick pieces from the pound cake loaf and then then cut out tiny cakes with a cutter. But no … that would be too easy.
Okay, before we get to the petit fours, let me tell you about the two pound cake loaves.
First up. Cream Cheese Pound Cake.
I couldn’t wait to slice into it.
Oh my… help me.
And the top… I could tunnel right through this thing.
But first, a little cream cheese icing.
Yes, it was as good as it looks.
The recipe made enough for two loaves, so on the second one I added some strawberries.
It was pretty fantastic, too.
Every last piece of it.
Strawberry Cream Cheese Pound Cake = YUM!
Here’s the recipe:
Cream Cheese Pound Cake
3.5 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup butter, room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
3 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
6 eggs, room temperature
1 cup milk, room temperature
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Sift flour and baking powder in a medium bowl and set aside.
Using a mixer, cream butter, cream cheesea nd sugar for about 6 minutes.
Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Add vanilla and milk until combined.
Add flour mixture until completely combined.
Pour into two greased and floured 9 X 5 loaf pans.
Stir in 2-cups hulled and diced strawberries for each loaf if desired.
Bake for about 60 minutes or until done.
Update: Ummm… Forgot to mention… some of my strawberries sank to the bottom, You know I don’t bake with fruit so much, but after reading up on it, I think this will help. Try lightly covering the fruit with flour. Let me know if it works for ya.
Cream Cheese Icing
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
2 Tbsp butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp milk
Cream butter and cream cheese. Add sugar and milk until thoroughly combined.
Spread on top of cake.
Store in the refrigerator.
Now for the petit fours…
First, let me say… these were a lot of work. I’m glad I tried them, but a lot of work. Thank goodness they tasted great.
If you want to see a fantastic tutorial, check out this one from veganyumyum. Not only is it a really great step-by-step guide, but her photographs are also beautiful.
Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. You’ll need two sheets to lay sideways so you can lift the cake out when it’s done. Use some butter and coat the paper. Then dust with flour.
I used the pound cake recipe above, minus the milk and strawberries and baked at 350 for about 30 minutes. Also, I accidentally omitted the milk. Turns out that was probably a good thing, because the cake baked right up to the edge of the pan. It might have spilled over with the milk.
After the cake is baked and cooled, trim off the outer edges and then cut it into eight equal sections. Next, use a serrated knife and cut the height of each section in half. Turn each layer cut side up and apply a small amount of syrup. I used a spray bottle, but you can also brush it on. Don’t saturate it though. Then spread on a thin layer of warmed raspberry jam so that you can still see the cake through the jam. Stack the sections three layers high. (three layers of cake and two layers of filling.) Four would have made it too tall, based on the pound cake recipe used here.
Syrup = 1 cup sugar plus 2 cups water. Bring to a boil for approximately 3 minutes. Let cool.
Now, for marzipan. I finally found a reason to use this stuff. It has an almond flavor and is pretty tasty. Marzipan sometimes goes on the top layer of the petit four and I think really helps when you pour the icing on. Roll out the marzipan in a super thin layer. Then place it on top of each section of layered cake. Add simple syrup first to help the marzipan stick. Trim off any marzipan that overlaps the cake sections. Wrap each section in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The next day, cut the sections in small squares. Each three-layer cake section will give you 12 petit fours. And you can get at least 5 three-layer sections. That’s a lot of little cakes. (After the icing dried, I drizzled on some melted chocolate and added a few fondant flowers for decoration.)
The next day, dip these in poured fondant and place on a wire rack. Set a cookie sheet underneath to catch the drippings.
What I used for the poured fondant = 2 lb bag (@7.5 cups) powdered sugar, 1/2 cup light corn syrup, 1/3 cup water, 1 tsp vanilla extract. Heat on low and stir until everything is completely combined.
Pouring didn’t work so much for me. I dipped each of the four sides and then spooned a little over the top. This was by far the trickiest part. Getting the consistency right, covering the cakes smoothly. I made a HUGE gigantic mess.
Here’s a peek…
Again, I suggest visiting veganyumyum for a great how-to as I have no actual photos of the dipping, dripping, pouring or cursing.
I managed to get several out that looked pretty decent, though.
But by the end, I was out of icing, out of my mind and still had a bunch of uncovered little cakes. They stayed that way, too. I’ve convinced myself they taste better uncovered.
Petit fours. Been there. Done that.