9Jordan almonds for mini cakesor 18 for petit fours
Preheat the oven to 425° F. Grease a 17×11-inch sheet pan with vegetable shortening. Line the pan with parchment and lightly grease the paper.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the 2 whole eggs, confectioners’ sugar, and almond flour. Beat until the mixture is pale yellow, about 5 full minutes. Sift the flour over the mixture and fold together to combine.
In a separate mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar. Beat again until soft peaks form. Gradually add in the 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar as you mix. Beat until stiff peaks form. Add 1/3 of the egg whites to the pale-yellow batter and fold together with a rubber spatula. Add the almond extract and remaining egg whites; fold together until a consistent batter is achieved.
Pour the batter into the prepared sheet pan and distribute it evenly with an offset spatula, making the layer as level and smooth as possible. Batter will be spread thin.
Bake for about 5-7 minutes, or until the cake is just firm with lightly browned edges. Keep an eye on the cake, my genoise baked in 5 minutes exactly.
Sprinkle a tea towel with powdered sugar (about 3-4 tablespoons). Run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen, and then turn the cake out onto the tea towel. Remove the parchment paper and let cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the cream filling.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the confectioners’ sugar, butter, and extract. Mix until crumbly. Keep mixer running.
Place the water in a small microwave-safe bowl and mix in the gelatin. Let stand until absorbed, about 3 minutes. Microwave the gelatin mixture until liquid, about 10-20 seconds. Add the mixture to the mixer bowl as it runs. Beat until well-combined. Mixture should be thick.
Grease a 13×9-inch baking sheet with shortening and line with parchment paper (the shortening helps the paper stick to the pan. Transfer the frosting to the baking sheet and spread evenly. Top with a second sheet of parchment paper and press the frosting evenly down into the pan. Transfer the pan to the refrigerator to chill about 45 minutes, or until very firm.
Meanwhile, stamp out the cake pieces from the genoise cake.
Use a 1 3/4-inch x 2 3/4-inch rectangular cookie cutter to stamp 27 shapes from the genoise cake.
When the frosting is well chilled, remove it from the pan and remove the top layer of parchment. Using the same rectangle cutter, stamp 18 shapes from the frosting sheet; Lift each piece out using a small spatula. Chilled, the frosting should stamp easily, if it begins to get warm and shapes become soft, chill again for about 15 minutes or until firm.
Place 9 cake pieces, evenly spaced, on a grid cooling rack. Top each with a frosting rectangle. Repeat this step again and end with a cake piece on top (order should be cake, frosting, cake, frosting cake). Gently press each cake down to help the layers stick together. If making 18 petit fours, cut each cake in half now. Place the cooling rack with cakes inside a large baking sheet, or place the rack over a sheet of parchment paper.
For the glaze, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, milk, and extract. The glaze should be thick and stiff at first, and it should take some effort to mix together. Add extra milk or cream drops at a time until a thick glossy glaze holds in the whisk balloon and slowly falls in a ribbon back into the bowl. This should be thick, viscous glaze, and not thin runny glaze.
Top each cake with a spoonful of glaze. Use the spoon to push the glaze toward the edges of the cake so it runs down the sides but doesn’t completely cover the cakes. Top each cake with a Jordan almond. Allow the cakes to rest about 15 minutes, or until the glaze hardens slightly.
Transfer the melted chocolate to a zip top bag with a tiny hold snipped in one corner, and pipe a zigzag of chocolate across each cake. Use tweezers to apply small bits of edible gold leaf, if using.
Store cakes at room temperature under a cake cloche. If making these cakes ahead, assemble the cakes the day before and store them in the refrigerator; glaze and garnish the day of serving. (Glaze will wrinkle over time in an airtight container.)