Saturday, July 16, 2011

Poured Fondant Petit Fours



Honestly, folks.  These are no walk in the park to make.  Poured fondant has been my baking nemesis since I coated my entire kitchen and dining room in the stuff two years ago.

 Fact: it is messy!

Recently I've been working my way through a host of poured fondant recipes in hopes of finding one that is easy and not so messy.  What did I find?  Most poured fondant recipes are easy to make and all are equally messy.  The hardest part is getting a good even pour over the sides of the cakes without wasting all the fondant you've just made.  I've tried every way under the sun to apply poured fondant to these cakes - piping, spooning and pouring - and I've found the "dip and spoon" method  is best with this particular fondant.  Since it is nearly impossible for me to document this process in pictures, I made a little video to show you my method.


The poured fondant recipe I'm sharing is my favorite because it tastes the best of all I've tried. When applied to the cakes, it is semi transparent but dries smooth and opaque; the color lightens slightly as it dries. I almost bought into a white chocolate version that I will most likely use again, and may even post in this blog, but to me it seemed like a substitution for the real thing.  It didn't have the classic look and taste I wanted it to have.  The worst recipe I came across was made from a boxed rolled fondant that is softened in hot water for 15 minutes then melted in the microwave. It tasted like old perfume smells and had a slimy consistency that never fully dried.  I almost gagged trying to get a single bite down.

So why go to all the trouble?  When executed correctly, these cakes are incredibly delicious.  When  poured fondant hardens around a cake it seals in moisture and gives ordinary sponge cake a divine texture.  There's nothing quite like biting into one, and  mastering the art of poured fondant petit fours is a true notch on the baking belt.  Making them takes time, practice and sometimes, intuition.  It is full of rules and takes patience and the willingness to try and try again.




In this video you will see somewhat-boring-but-informative footage of  properly whisked eggs for the sponge cake, the correct consistency for poured fondant dipping (messy, though it may be), and gratuitous shots of Biscuit the Pug being cute at the end.
You've been warned.
(Email subscribers may need to click over to the Sprinkle Bakes site to view the video.)





One negative about this fondant - it hardens quickly.  Work close to your microwave so you can nuke it at 20-30 second intervals to keep the consistency thin.  In the video you'll see how loose the consistency needs to be when I spoon it over the cake.  It looks incredibly messy, but if you let gravity do its thing your cakes will even out and end up looking fab when they are dry.

Note: this recipe was adapted from the book "The New Pastry Cook" by Helen S. Fletcher.

Petit Fours with Poured Fondant   
                                                                                                                                                                              [click for printable version]
Yield: approximately twelve to fifteen 1 ½  x  1 ½  or 2 x 2" petit fours
(or, just enough for practice but enough to make it worth your time and effort)


Special tools:
Candy thermometer
Food processor
Small-grid wire rack - like this one
Parchment paper
Pastry brush
Decorative cupcake papers for display
Ready-made rolled fondant *optional
Jumbo nonpareils *optional
Daisy fondant cutter *optional
Pearlized luster dust and soft paintbrush *optional

Make the cakes:
4 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup seedless black raspberry jam
8 oz. marzipan (canned almond paste will do in a pinch)
Confectioners' sugar for dusting
Shortening for greasing pan

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease an 11 x 17" pan with shortening and line with parchment paper
3. Using an electric hand mixer, beat eggs and sugar together at medium speed in a heat-proof bowl until thoroughly blended.
4. Place bowl over a simmering saucepan of water and continue to beat with the hand mixer on high speed until the mixture is thick and pale.
5. Remove bowl from the saucepan and add vanilla. Continue to beat with the hand mixer until mixture is cool and leaves a thick trail of batter on the surface when the beaters are lifted out.
6. Sift flour over the 4 egg mixture and fold together with a rubber spatula until smooth.
7. Pour batter into prepared jelly roll pan and spread evenly with an off-set spatula.  Bake until cake springs back when pressed in the center, 7-10 minutes. Check at 7 minutes, this cake is thin and can burn easily.
8. When cake is done, let rest in the pan for a few minutes before removing.
9. Remove cake and cut into four even rectangles.
10. Place raspberry jam in microwave for 20 seconds to loosen, then brush the tops of the cake rectangles with the jam and stack them, one on top of the other, jam side up.  You may not have to use the entire 1/2 cup of jam.
11. Lightly dust a work surface with confectioners' sugar.  Roll marzipan into one large flat piece, about 1/4" thick, then place on top of cake.  Trim marzipan evenly around the top of the cake using a small plain edge knife.
12. Cut the marzipan-topped cake into 12-15 squares.  Some people like to freeze the whole cake before slicing so the pieces cut evenly.  I do not prefer this, but if you use this method, be sure to bring your cakes to room temperature before dipping them in the fondant.  If you dip frozen cakes, it will quickly lower the temperature of the fondant and cause it to harden - worst case you'll end up with a bowl of chunky fondant and at the very least it will ruin the evenness of the fondant coating.
13. Set cakes aside and make the fondant.

Make the fondant:
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup corn syrup
Liquid food coloring
Clear vanilla extract (or other clear extract such as almond, orange, or lemon)

1. Combine the sugar, water and corn syrup in a medium saucepan.  Stir well.
2. Place candy thermometer into the mixture and place over medium-high heat.
3. Let the mixture bubble until it reaches 238 degrees.  This is soft-ball candy stage.
4. When temperature is reached, remove from heat and transfer the hot liquid to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.  Do not process yet!
5. Clean the candy thermometer and insert into the hot syrup.  Let cool to 150 degrees, 35-40 minutes.
6. Have a large bowl ready in which to pour the fondant. Also have ready a wire rack with a large jelly roll pan placed under it to catch the excess fondant that falls off of the cakes.
7. When thermometer reads 150 degrees, add food coloring and flavoring, then process for 2-3 minutes until mixture has turned from a clear liquid to opaque.
8. Immediately pour fondant into a bowl for dipping.
9. Hold a cake square with your forefinger on top -the marzipan side - and your thumb on the bottom.  Dip each side in the fondant and place marzipan-side-up on a wire rack.  Spoon fondant over the top of the cake and allow the excess fondant to drip off.
10. Give the fondant one quick stir, then repeat the process with another cake.  Try to dip and spoon as quickly as possible.  This fondant sets up quickly, so half-way through you may need to heat it in the microwave to loosen it up.
11. Let fondant covered cakes stand until completely dry. The bottoms of the cakes will be glued to the wire rack with fondant, so you will need a sharp knife to cut around the bottoms to remove them.  The bottoms of these cakes are rarely perfect, but no one will know when you place them in pretty cupcake papers.
12. If desired, use a daisy fondant cutter to make decorative fondant embellishments for the petit fours. Press a jumbo nonpareil in the center of the daisy cut-outs.  Apply a dot of corn syrup or piping gel to the top of each petit four and place fondant flower on top.  Brush with luster dust or edible glitter if desired.



Tips for Fondant Success:
  • It is of paramount importance that this fondant stays thin when dipping the cakes. Be sure to work near the microwave so you can quickly heat the mixture during dipping. Alternatively, you may place fondant in a heat-proof bowl and have a simmering saucepan of water on the stove in which to place the fondant when it starts to thicken. 
  • Do not add the food coloring and flavoring to the hot syrup before it has cooled.  This will cause the fondant to be grainy. 
  • Dip the imperfect cake cubes first.  Every beginner batch has one or two that are lop-sided.  These can be “test” pieces so you can learn to gauge the behavior of the fondant before dipping the more perfect cubes. 
  • Have a wet dish towel handy to wipe fondant covered fingers between cake dippings.
  • Fondant can be cooled and refrigerated for 24 hours before using.  It will completely harden, but can be re-heated in the microwave (or stove top – just don’t boil it) until thin and pourable. 
  • Instead of dipping cakes in the warm fondant, you may choose to place it in a 4 cup glass measure and pour it over the cakes.   If you have success with this method – God bless you. The dip/spoon method works best for me because I know the sides of the cakes will be evenly coated without wasting too much fondant – but if you find my method too messy or complicated, experiment and find what works best for you. 
  • Don’t be discouraged if your first batches of cakes are messy and lumpy.  This is a recipe that takes practice, so be patient with yourself.





76 comments:

mccoy5 said...

All videos should end with an adorable pug!!! <3

Astrid said...

Oh goodness... I need a reason to try these, that's for sure. Messy, but impressive... :D

vanillasugar said...

very impressive. well you tackled it. i have a few of these kinds of projects that i'm saving till end of summer-ok well maybe i'm just too scared. lol you did good though.

marla {family fresh cooking} said...

how about this Heather....you make these perfectly poured beauties and I eat them. OK? Beautiful & I love the little daisies on top :)

Sue said...

I love your video! I will have to view it again with sound at home...I have my iPad in the car and can't figure out the sound-pretty pathetic. Biscuit is the perfect ending to your petit fours story:) The pink is so pretty! Looks like you nailed it this time Heather.

Anh said...

thank you for this informative post!! I have viewed the video - very clear.

Sarah (Snippets of Thyme) said...

I will never eat another petit-four again without realizing the laborious process! I was so tickled to see another video. Darling little cakes!

linda said...

these look p-r-e-t-t-y!
took a workshop in petit fours & my finished "fours" were not "eye candy."
think i will give your recipe & tips a go! thanks heather!!

Adena said...

Thank you so much for posting this. I have made petit fours in the past but honestly, I am pleased with less than half of the ones I do. It is so hard to get the cake evenly covered when you pour it.

Lili said...

Everything about this post is pure artistry Heather! It's so amazing to see the wonderful color that develops after the fondant dries. I adore your video, the music is so perfect, and that sweet shot of Biscuit at the end just melts my heart. xoxo ~Lili

Dru said...

I watched this video and the video for the pink velvet roulade and I want to try both! And I would love to know where you found the music for them; both songs fit the videos perfectly :)

Maureen said...

I loved the video! I watched it twice just to listen to the music and wait for the dog. :)

Jenny said...

Gorgeous!!

persnicketyhall said...

I love the video! So cute! Thank you for sharing this with us. :)

Диана said...

ooo cool video)))
I like your video recipes - always easy to cook wiht them^)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

So pretty! A delightful teatime treat. Beautiful.

Cheers,

Rosa

warmvanillasugar said...

These are simply beautiful! The video is really nice! I like the music, and find it really easy to follow. Thanks for going through all this trouble!

CookieCrazedMama said...

Petit fours are up there with macarons for me. I eventually took the time to do macarons, and now I love to make them. You are inspiring me to finally try my hand at petite fours. Yours are beautiful! As usual with everything you make!

Anonymous said...

This is such a nicely done video. Thank you so much!

Julie said...

These look beautiful! I was born and raised in Alabama and so I have spent the last few years hunting for the petit four recipe I remember from all those bridal teas and baby showers I attended as a child. I have had no luck but these look perfect! I daresay I think you may have solved my dilemma! Thanks so much Heather! I adore your blog!

Heather Ozee said...

They turned out lovely! I love having these and had no idea that they were so difficult to make. That's one recipe I won't be trying.
Love You! The girls and I are sending you big hugs from Georgia :)

Jennifurla said...

OMG that video is really great, production value love it! Also your pups appearance gives it great personality.

Thumbs up!

chefpandita.com said...

Heather, as a fellow pink lover I ADORE your blog! Do you make your own videos?
These petit fours are too cute to eat, tho my sister just said she'd like a few of those for breakfast. Happy Sunday :)

Lora said...

Such beautiful little cakes and the video is fab! I've had my share of struggles with poured fondant. I will try your recipe next. And of course Biscuit is a star.

dwidlebug said...

Love your color choice, so lovely!

Lynne @ 365 Days of Baking said...

Beautiful work, and the daisies are perfect!

Trish - Sweetology101 said...

Fantastic! I have been a stalker for a long time...often "too busy" with work and life to comment but just know your blog just inspires me so much and I just wish I could have the time to do what you do! I love all things tea party and sweet...this post was just fabulous...I dream to make my own petit fours some day and this just might be the inspiration I needed. Your photos are so amazing~! xo TS

Gloria (The Little Red House with the White Porch) said...

Fantastic video, Heather! Your taping of the steps was A+ and the music choice A+ as well! Not to mention that these little pieces of heaven look so delicious. Wonderful job.
Best,
Gloria

geekkate said...

Heather, these look AMAZING! Ohmygosh I am so impressed. These petit fours bring back memories from when I was little of going to the American Girl Tea Party that my mom and sister took me to. Every little girl had her American Girl doll there, I brought Kristen.

You inspire me with every post you do, and this one was no different. I might just have to throw a tea party so I have an excuse to try this recipe!!

♥ Kate

aricooks said...

I really couldn't love this one bit more! This will be my go-to recommendation for people who want a poured fondant tutorial. Delightful video too!

Rituparna said...

This looks amazing and yummy. I wanna try this very soon.

Caroline @ chocolate and carrots said...

Genius! Your video is so helpful. I 'attempted' petit fours a couple of months ago with very little success. My kitchen was a total mess. I'm definitely going to give this a try though! :-)

Lauren at Keep It Sweet said...

These are so gorgeous! That is the perfect shade of pink, too!

Erin said...

These are adorable! Petit Fours are on my list of great kitchen mountains to climb and I will have to bookmark this recipe!

Sanna said...

It looks sooo good :) can't you give me some?

Rachel @ the Avid Appetite said...

Wow, these are unbelievable. Almost to gorgeous to even want to eat. Almost.

Your hard work paid off :)

Yaneri said...

I love your video tutorials!! Your puggy is so stinkin cute!!!!!

Heidi D said...

Wow! That video was really great Heather! Very professional and polished. :)

Of course I love the pug in the end, but I'm partial to pugs.

Monica said...

Hi Heather, what an awesome video! : ) There was obviously a lot of effort here but it's so worth it - I think you made all of us smile! Your family and friends are very lucky. Thanks for a beautiful post.

Heather said...

Your pug is absolutely gorgeous!! I guess the Petit Fours are pretty nice too ;)

Joy said...

I always wanted to try this but I have been scared. One day :D

Misbah said...

I had given upon poured fondant. Now Imust try again. Thx for all the tips. :)

marda said...

I must try it...thanks for the recipe....:))

The Slow Roasted Italian said...

Wow! Love these!

Jay said...

omy goodnes...I'm impressed..
chanced upon your space while blog hopping..
very interesting space you have..
awesome posts..
Am your happy subscriber now..:)
do stop by mine sometime..
Tasty Appetite

Marina said...

Why go all the trouble?? Because it looks so amazing!!

Essay Writing said...

Oops I just licked my computer screen. :-)
I feel strongly about it & love learning more on this topic....The video were nice touch..

Darla @ Bakingdom said...

Oh, Heather! Your video is the sweetest! Love the music choice, and Biscuit the Pug, of course! Excellent little tutorial, and your petit fours are too lovely to eat!! Although...I'm sure I could manage to have one or two. :)

Esme said...

Do you have a recipe for this?

Get Off Your Butt and BAKE! said...

Heather,
Everything you make turns to gold! The video along with the perfect music and the cutest pug, is so delightful. Love your blog. Thanks so much for sharing all of your talents.

Haniela said...

this is priceless, I love your video tutorial, and I have to say I've been wanting to try poured fondant for years, maybe this will be the year.
I also use the spoon method when covering with chocolate/ganache.
Addition of you pug at the end made me smile, so adorable!!!

Dora said...

Thanks so much for posting.
I thought that I was the only whose nemesis was poured fondant. This will be the next recipe that I try, even though every time I make petit fours I swear that it will be the last.

Anonymous said...

i love the video. What is the name of the song in the video?

sophistimom said...

I've been looking for a good recipe for this for years. Once, when I couldn't find a good recipe anywhere, I made up my own using melted butter. The only catch was, they had to be cold. Thanks for doing all the messy work for us and giving us a good recipe. These are lovely.

crumblescookies said...

Wonderful video, and the cutest part is Biscuit the Pug!!!
Love your writing and expertise!
Petit Fours have always been a favorite of mine to make, and certainly, as you say, they are worth the effort!
Thank You

Anonymous said...

What is that scrumptious-looking cup of something next to the second pic of the petite fours?

Susan said...

Where did you find the cute flower embellishments? Job well done on the petit fours!

Danielle said...

This was a wonderful recipe!! Tasted fantastic, even my picky boyfriend approved!

Deborah said...

First time, easier than the read, rather intimidating. They turned out perfect, shiny. Kept the icing over very low flame while dipping.

Anonymous said...

First of all BRAVO! I have always wanted to make these but never found the right combination of recipe/directions that sounded doable to me. So for that, THANK YOU!
I made these yesterday and a few things were not clear to me. For the fondant, what amount of flavoring is added? I used 1/2 tsp.
I used a fork to dip into a bowl and tap off excess to help keep the mess contained. Worked like a charm. I want to try these again with a cream filling of some kind and maybe a chocolate coating. Any suggestions on recipes?

Deborah said...

I've always wanted to make these, and I have to agree, it is always messy. I love your pup at the end. "Hey mom, can I have some, pleeeeeese?" :)

dina said...

That was wonderful! I'm not sure which parts I liked best, the directorial, the sweet little guy at the end or that great music! I've been wanting to do this for ages and have a dessert mixer coming up for my business group...guess now is the time :O) Thanks sooooooo much!

shuswapcakes said...

Those are beautiful - perfect for mother's day or a tea party. Thanks for posting a great tutorial :)

Sandy said...

After working up the courage for a few months, I made these last night. I loved the sponge cake/raspberry jam/marzipan combo, but I didn't care for the fondant. I wasn't able to achieve a nice thin layer on my cakes - it ended up really thick and the sugar overwhelmed the other flavors.

I'm going to make these again, but instead of covering the entire cake with fondant, I'm just going to frost the tops with royal icing. I think it's a shame to cover up the pretty cake/jam layers with fondant anyway. Thanks for posting the video, though...even though mine didn't turn out quite as I hoped, I had a lot of fun making them!

Souffle said...

Petit fours are easily covered if you encircle the top edge of the cake first, then pour directly in the top's center. Use a one-or two ounce ladle. Also, make your life easier by setting the cakes on a glazing rack set over a half-or full sheet pan, and re-using the glaze. I am a pastry chef and this is how the pros do it.

Finally, tempeted white or dark chocolate ganache is a preferred coating among professionals - it is not "cheating" at all. We prefer the crisp coating, the perfect opaqueness and much superior flavor profile to the blah and overly sweet poured fondant. Tempering may reqiure some practice, but it is worth learning one of the techniques (seeding is easiest for beginners) because the flavor and appearance are so much better. White chocolate can easily be colored, and chocolate makes for perfect piping, as well.

Kathy said...

I loved the video and the music you used. Biscuit is ADORABLE! I agree with Souffle with regards to the chocolate. I've tried both and prefer the chocolate ganache.

I've also tried the pouring method suggested, however if you don't want to do it that way maybe you can use chocolate/truffle tools to maneuvre the cake. A lot easier to handle and perhaps a little cleaner!

kvalentin said...

Is this possible without using marzipan on top?

Anonymous said...

The song is called Tout Doucement by Feist :)

Helana Brigman said...

Heather- I just love, love, love this recipe! I made it twice during Christmas (in green and red, of course), and they were a huge hit! I'll be making them again for my birthday, but with black and white fondant (tuxedo style). AND, the video always makes me smile. You pick the best songs for your tutorials (peppy, classy), and I'm going to keep the style in mind when I start editing my first cooking tutorial tomorrow (but I do have a question: how do you know which songs you can legally put online? Are these ones you've purchased rights to?).

-Helana

SprinkleBakes said...

Hi Helena!

Thank you so much! I'm so glad you tried the recipe and it worked for you!

I have a Vimeo pro account, and they have a music store where you can buy music for a small fee ($2-ish US) to use in your videos. https://vimeo.com/musicstore

I've noticed the selection changes slightly over time. But it's a fun place to shop.

You can also go here to find music (mostly very old) that is considered public domain.

http://www.pdinfo.com/Public-Domain-Music-List.php

Hope this helps!

xo
H

GratefulMama said...

Those petit fours look so beautiful and delicious they make me want to cry! Not because I can't virtually bite into one through the screen, but because the video, the demonstration, instructions, music...all the little details, like the pretty old fashioned Pyrex bowl you poured the fondant into, and the double layered white daisies with yellow candy centers: it's all exquisitely perfect!

GratefulMama said...

Those petit fours look so beautiful and delicious they make me want to cry! Not because I can't virtually bite into one through the screen, but because the video, the demonstration, instructions, music...all the little details, like the pretty old fashioned Pyrex bowl you poured the fondant into, and the double layered white daisies with yellow candy centers: it's all exquisitely perfect!

Sarah said...

I just tried this recipe, amd it did not turn out for me. I am a very experienced baker, and I followed all the directions, using the thermometer (the same one you have in the video, in fact). The poured fondant was not thin. It collected into a stiff ball in the food processor, and after 3 minutes was a thick, stiff paste, very hard to scrape into a bowl. I tried to microwave it, but it would set up instantly against the sides when I tried to stir it. I now have 16 little uncovered cakes and no poured fondant to put on them.

Sarah said...

I ended up covering my cakes with tempered whote chocolate instead... I inserted a skewer into the bottom of a cake, dipped it in the chocolate, then used a fork underneath the cake to carefully lift it off the skewer and place on the rack. Worked great, and I think tastes much better than poured fondant as well.

CS Moran said...

I tried this recipe. The cake was perfect. But the poured fondant hardened at room temperature and even when I heated it, it was too thick to spoon or dredge the petit fours in.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled across this after trying to coat Twinkies with melted Candy Melts for Despicable Me cupcakes. That was a nightmare, as it just peeled the "skin" off of the cupcakes which then just dropped down into the bowl of melted candy coating. This has to work better than that - THANK YOU!

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xo
H

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