So, what do you call a cake that looks like a potato? A potato cake? No, that’s name is already taken by a savory something. Since these are small sponge cakes filled with buttercream and covered in marzipan, they might as well be called petit fours. Right?
I like it. I’m going with it.
Each time I pass by the plateful of “potatoes” on the kitchen counter, I do a double-take. I can’t wait to fake people out serve them!
The filling for these can be endlessly varied. You can use jam, ganache, pastry cream… whatever you find most pleasing. I tinted buttercream green and added a little Irish cream for flavor to keep with the St. Paddy’s Day festivities.
These were so much fun to make! The details – or, the “eyes” – of the potatoes are impressions made in the marzipan with the end of a lollipop stick. I also added a few small dimples with a single fork tine.
Presentation counts! You can pile them up in a little brown paper sack, or serve them individually, wrapped in foil and presented as mini “baked potatoes”. Tricky, tricky!
Potato Petit Fours
Sponge recipe adapted from “The Chocolate Bible”, various authors.
Yield: 15-20 cakes [click for printable version]
3 egg yolks
4 egg whites
1/4 cup fine granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
Filling and coating:
1 1/2 cups buttercream
1 1/2 cups your choice fruit jam (raspberry or pineapple is recommended)
1 1/2 lbs. marzipan or almond paste
Cocoa powder for dusting
1. Preheat oven to 375. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Place egg yolks in a bowl and beat in 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Mix until frothy and lightened; set aside.
3. Beat egg whites in a separate large bowl. Gradually add remaining sugar and beat until meringue is stiff and dry.
4. Sift corn starch over meringues and fold in with a rubber spatula. Add beaten yolks and fold again, being very careful to not deflate the batter. Finally, fold in the flour.
5. Spoon mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip and pipe 1 1/2-inch mounds spaced well apart onto the baking sheet. Bake for 6-10 minutes with the oven door slightly cracked. When lightly brown, remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
6. Pipe buttercream between two same-sized sponge rounds. If using jam, use a sharp knife to make a small hollow in the bottoms of the cakes. Spoon in the jam and sandwich sponge rounds together.
7. Roll out marzipan or almond paste to 1/8-inch thickness -use a little confectioners’ sugar to flour the work surface and rolling pin if paste sticks. Cut into squares and use to cover the potatoes. If paste doesn’t stick to the cake, brush a little melted jelly over the surface (I didn’t have to do this). Make a few indentations to represent “eyes”. Use a fork tine to further pock-mark the potato.
8. Roll the cakes in cocoa powder. Shake off excess and place in paper liners, brown paper bags or wrap in foil to mimic a baked potato.
Note: I used a spoon to hold my oven open just a crack. If you do this, be careful! The spoon will become hot. Be sure to grab a pot holder to remove the spoon.