I know I said that I would save half the batch of my last attempt at Petit Fours in the freezer for take two, but the truth is… they got eaten. Despite the first batch’s frosting and ganache disaster, they were still delicious and I ended up serving them for dessert when I had company in town. So, in order to make these renaissance inspired treats again (and hopefully improve upon my baking skills), I had to make a brand new batch.
I’m glad that I ended up having to make a second batch of cake. The first batch I made was moist and delicious, but the cake itself was too crumbly for the dense richness of Petit Fours. The powdery texture of the cake made the last batch really difficult to ice. The recipe I used this time around is the same cake recipe, however I decided to leave out one critical ingredient that actually makes cakes rise; baking powder. Leaving out this ingredient added the density I needed for this vintage inspired treat. And guess what?! The cake itself was still delish. I cooked the cake in a 9” x 13” pan and it was still thick enough to cut into two layers as I had done previously.
After I cut the cake in half, I used a round cookie cutter to cut the cakes into little circles. I have recently watched a ton of baking videos online, and I learned that a round cake is actually much easier to ice than a square cake, so that’s what I went for.
For the frosting, I used the same measurements as last time, except I added milk instead of using only butter and powdered sugar. The milk made the frosting easier to spread over the cake. I decided to only ice four cakes and I placed the rest of the cakes in the freezer for a third and final attempt at these renaissance delights. I only worked with four because these cakes are very rich and I didn’t want that temptation in my home all week! The frosting turned out really well and icing a cake on a round surface as opposed to a square one is much easier. Unlike last time, the aqua frosting came out smooth and looked professional.
For the ganache, I used butter instead of whipping cream. I’ll tell you right now, it was again a disappointment. It did not come out to the consistency needed to fully cover the Petit Fours in a thin chocolate layer. Of the four cakes that were iced, only two survived the ganache process. The first two toppled over after I tried to remove them from the cake rack. There was melted chocolate everywhere and a lot of frustrated yelling. The final two made me so happy though! They turned out beautifully and were almost exactly what I had envisioned them to be. I feel very proud because even though I’m a terrible baker, I managed to figure out the cake density needed and the frosting texture for these delicate cakes.
I’ve included the link to the cake recipe I used below and the instructions for the cake and frosting. I will share the ganache steps once I have that mastered.
P.S. This series is my last baking project where I will use dairy products! I plan to only bake vintage inspired desserts with vegan ingredients from now on. Any tips for that challenge?
Whenever I need to bake a cake, I always turn to Sweeta Polita for amazing cake recipes. This blog is fantastic. The instructions are simple and the cakes always turn out perfect. For this recipe, I used the recipe for Fluffy Vanilla Cake.
The only thing I changed to the recipe was that I left out the baking powder so that the cake wouldn’t rise. This will make your Petit Fours much easier to cut and ice. I also baked the cake in a 9” x 13” pan.
Time to Cut the Cake!
- Once your cake is baked, leave to cool at room temperature for about 20 – 30 minutes.
- When cooled, carefully remove the cake from the baking pan and cut the cake vertically down the middle so that you have two square looking cakes.
- Remove the uneven edges around each cake. If you want to check out pictures for this step, please check out my first attempt at this project.
- Once you have two even squares, take a large knife and carefully cut the cakes into two layers by rotating the cake in a circle and apply pressure as you cut along the cake.
- Using a round cookie cutter, cut the cake layers into circles.
- Using a thin layer of jam to hold each layer together, spread jam around the middle of one layer and place the second layer on top. All together you should have about 12 Petit Fours.
- Chill the cakes in the fridge for 2 – 3 hours.
Tips & Helpful Hints: Because this a time consuming project, I would recommend making the cakes in advance and freezing the cakes in the freezer until you are ready to ice and serve. I used air tight freezer bags.
For the cake frosting, I just used my typical cake frosting method. Ingredients required are powdered sugar (2 cups), vanilla extract (1/2 teaspoon), unsalted butter (4 tbsp) and this time, a bit of milk (3tbsp).
- Place 2 cups of powdered sugar in a mixing bowl
- Add about 3 tablespoons of milk, one tablespoon at a time and stir the mixture with a spoon
- Add about 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, one tablespoon at a time and keep whipping the mixture with a spoon
- Add ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract and keep stirring the mixture until you achieve a smooth creamy texture.
Notes & Helpful Hints: I also added some blue food coloring because I wanted the cakes to match my vintage cake stand.
Taste the frosting before you use the frosting to ice the cake. If it’s buttery, add more powdered sugar. If it’s too sweet, add more butter. It’s dangerously simple!
- Once your frosting is ready, remove the cakes from the fridge and carefully ice each cake using a butter knife. Ice the sides of the cake first and then the top.
Once you have frosted the cakes, let them chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes while you prepare the ganache, which I’ll have posted by next week!