Wish you all a very Happy and a Prosperous New Year!
Phew! Time just flies. My husband and I were talking about the year that went by so quickly. The year for me started with the birth of my little nephew followed by an eventful spring and fun filled summer! We made sure we were out making hay every single day of the summer:-). There was a lot of traveling too this year as we explored a lot of new places. Last but not least, my friends helped me with my blog and gave it a much needed facelift! There is this stupid belief that I’ve been having over the years that whatever I do/ happens to me on the 1st of every year, it continues to happen throughout the year. For eg: If I am productive on day 1 of the year, It usually ends up being a good year for me. I know it sounds silly but this has been in my head for a very long time now. On the same note I hope I actively blog through out the year since I am posting this one on the first:-)
Just like Panettone, I’ve had a small obsession with Petite Fours. It all started mainly because of their looks. Who wouldn’t want to have tiny beautiful frosted little cakes? Umm…just one bite and its…..yumm truly delicious! A Petite Four can be virtually any miniature sweet thing never more than a bite or two – usually served our dinner or coffee. Though they are a bit time consuming, but once done they are such a treat to the eyes…delightful to look and fun to eat. Any sheet cake is good for making these little luxurious cakes. I made an Almond Flour Sponge Cake, drizzled with simple syrup, sandwiched them with Apricot preserves and frosted with buttercream icing and made simple chocolate filigree using melted chocolate for decoration. The Buttercream frosting was the best one I’ve ever made. It was so buttery and tasted yum…I think it was an apt frosting for the miniature cakes.
ALMOND FLOUR SPONGE CAKE
Makes 2 sheet cakes(13 by 7 by 3/8 inch) or 1 sheet cake (13 by 7 by ¾ inch); makes about 50-60 Petite Fours
1 ½ cups almond flour
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon cake flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
6 egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
¼ cup apricot preserves
2 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoon hot water
Mix the two ingredients and using a pastry brush gently brush each layer with the syrup.
1.5 cups butter at room temperature
1 ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
And dark chocolate melted for filigree decoration
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment,beat butter for 5 to 10 minutes until smooth and easy to work. Slowly add the sugar and beat until smooth,starting on low so the sugar does not fly around and then turning the mixer to high. Switch to the whisk attachment and beat until butter has the consistency of sour cream.
It gets firmer once it’s on the cake and chills somewhat.
CAKE – Preheat oven at 375F. Line the baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine almond flour,cake flour, ½ cup of granulated sugar in a food processor. With the motor running add the eggs,two at a time,until the mixture is smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl large enough to hold all the batter.
Beat the egg whites with cream of tartar on medium high speed in am stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until medium peaks form. Add the remaining granulated sugar and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. Mix one-fourth of the egg white with the almond mixture until smooth, to lighten the mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold this mixture with the remaining egg white mixture.
Transfer the batter to the sheet and bake for about 12-15 minutes. Watch out as it burns very quickly. Bake until its firm and they bounce back to the touch. Sprinkle two sheets of parchment paper with confectioner’s sugar. Run a knife on the edge of the sheet pan. Quickly flip out the cakes over the parchment as soon as they come out of the oven by placing the cakes right next to the parchment. Peel away the parchment from the bottom of the cake. Cut the edges on all sides. Flip the layers. Cut into half.
Using a knife gently spread the apricot preserves over one layer, sandwich with the other layer. Spread a thin layer of buttercream frosting on top of the cake. Reserve some butter cream for the sides. Cut the cake into 1 inch wide strips. Transfer the strips to a parchment lined sheet pan and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Spread the sides with thin layer of buttercream. Cut the strips into 1 inch cubes. Decorate the petite fours with chocolate filigree. You may also use colored royal icing for the same.
FILIGREE– Melt chocolate(about 1/ 2 cup should do) in the microwave/use a double boiler method. Pour the chocolate in a pastry bag/ a zip lock. Make a small hole on the bag and make small designs on a parchment paper. Keep it refrigerated for about ten minutes. Gently remove the chocolate from the parchment and place it on top of each miniature cakes.
Chill in the refrigerator before serving.
Note – I have adapted the recipe from James Peterson’s book BAKING.