In the realm of sweet indulgences, few delights can rival the grace and elegance of petit fours, those miniature cakes that command the center stage at high teas, bridal showers, and on the most romantic day of the year, Valentine’s Day. As if plucked from a fairytale and set upon our tables, these tiny treasures are a testament to the artistry of baking. Today, we will embark on a culinary journey to create heart-shaped petit fours, enveloped in a delicate pink fondant, resembling a dreamy vision of confectionery perfection.
Table of Contents
The magic of petit fours lies not just in their taste but also in their presentation. With their origins tracing back to the royal French kitchens of the 18th century, petit fours have long been a symbol of sophistication and a way to showcase the finest in baking craftsmanship. Their name, translating to “small oven,” harks back to the days of petite baking sessions in the residual heat of brick ovens. These dainty bites have since evolved into a beloved treat worldwide, captivating all with their intricate layers and delectable flavors.
Creating these pink heart-shaped petit fours is a labor of love, a process that invites patience and precision. It begins with a tender cake, light and buttery, baked to golden perfection. Each heart, carefully cut, becomes a canvas for a sweet glaze, followed by a smooth layer of fondant, tinted the softest hue of blush. These petit fours are not simply desserts; they are edible tokens of affection, meant to be shared with those who touch our hearts.
In this guide, we’ll walk through the steps of crafting these charming bites, from mixing and baking the perfect sponge cake to applying the fondant with a gentle touch. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or a novice in the kitchen, this recipe is designed to help you create a batch of petit fours that will look as if they’ve been delivered straight from the window of a Parisian pâtisserie.
As we delve into the intricacies of these pink, heart-shaped delights, remember that each step is part of the joy of baking. The scent of vanilla that fills the air, the soft texture of the fondant beneath your fingers, and the final touch of a chocolate drizzle are all part of the enchanting experience. Let’s begin this sweet endeavor and craft a confection that’s as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the palate.
Ingredients for the cake
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Ingredients for the fondant coating
- 1 pound ready-made rolled fondant (pink or you can color white fondant with pink gel food coloring)
- Apricot jam or seedless raspberry jam (for glaze)
- Corn syrup, for thinning the jam
Instructions for Petit Fours
Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
Prepare the cake pan
Grease and flour a heart-shaped cake pan or use a heart-shaped cookie cutter for shaping later.
Stir wet ingredients
In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla extract.
Combine dry ingredients
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add to the creamed mixture, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Cut the cake
Once the cake is cool, use the heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out the petit four bases.
Heat the jam
Warm the jam slightly, and strain it if it has fruit pieces. Thin it out with a bit of corn syrup to make a smooth glaze.
Glaze the cake
Brush each cake heart with a thin layer of the jam. This will help the fondant to adhere to the cake.
Roll out fondant
Roll the fondant to about 1/4 inch thickness on a surface dusted with powdered sugar.
Cover the Cakes
Cut out heart shapes from the fondant with the same cutter used for the cake. Drape the fondant over the jam-brushed cakes, smoothing out any wrinkles or bubbles.
Melt white chocolate and tint it with pink food coloring to a lighter pink shade. Use a piping bag to drizzle stripes over the petit fours. For the heart-shaped decoration on top, use a smaller heart cutter to cut out pieces of fondant, or craft them by hand. If desired, brush them with a bit of edible glitter for a shimmering effect.
Tips for Petit Fours
- If the fondant is stiff, knead it with a bit of shortening until it becomes pliable.
- Use a thin spatula to help lift and position the fondant over the cakes.
- If you make a mistake, don’t worry! Petit fours are meant to be a handmade gift, and a little imperfection adds character.
Video recipe for Petit Fours
What are petit fours?
Petit fours are small, bite-sized confections, typically made of cake and icing or fondant. They come in various flavors and are often elaborately decorated. Their name comes from the French term “petit four,” which means “small oven.”
How do I achieve a smooth fondant finish on my petit fours?
To get a smooth finish, make sure the cake surface is flat and the jam glaze is even. Roll out the fondant thinly and carefully place it over the cake, smoothing out any air bubbles or wrinkles with your fingertips or a fondant smoother.
Can I use store-bought cake mix for petit fours?
Yes, you can use a store-bought cake mix to save time. Just follow the instructions for a dense cake, as it’s easier to cut and handle when making petit fours.
How far in advance can I make petit fours?
Petit fours can be made 2-3 days in advance. Keep them in an airtight container at room temperature. Avoid refrigeration as it can cause condensation and make the fondant weep.
My fondant is cracking, what can I do?
Fondant can crack if it’s too dry. Try kneading it with a little bit of vegetable shortening to add moisture. Also, avoid rolling it out too thinly.
Can I freeze petit fours?
Yes, you can freeze petit fours. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet to freeze individually, then transfer to an airtight container. Thaw at room temperature before serving.
What kind of jam should I use for the glaze?
Apricot jam is traditional because it’s clear and won’t affect the color of the fondant. However, you can use any seedless jam that complements the flavor of your cake.v
How do I add color to my fondant?
If you’re starting with white fondant, knead in gel food coloring a little at a time until you achieve the desired shade. Remember, the color will deepen slightly as it sets.
Can I make petit fours in different shapes?
Absolutely! While heart shapes are perfect for romantic occasions, you can use any cookie cutter shape you like to suit the theme of your event.
What’s the best way to store petit fours after they’re made?
Store them in a single layer in an airtight container at room temperature. If you need to stack them, use parchment paper between layers to prevent sticking.