Classic Petit Fours
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cup sugar (1 cup + 0.25 cup)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
2 cups pastry flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
6 egg whites
2/3 cup raspberry jam, stirred
8 oz rolling marzipan
1 egg white
1 1/2 lb. rolling fondant icing
decorations such as sugared flowers, silver candy balls, etc
For cake, preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and line a 9 x 13-inch cake pan with parchment, so that paper overhangs the long sides. Cream together butter and 1 cup sugar until fluffy. Add extracts and stir in. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk. Whip egg whites until foamy, then gradually add ¼ cup sugar and whip to stiff peaks. Fold a third of whites into batter then remaining two thirds. Scrape batter into prepared pan and gently even out. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.
To assemble, run a knife around edge of cake to loosen and lift out using the parchment paper to pull out. Brush a layer of stirred raspberry jam over cake. On a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar, roll out marzipan to ¼-inch thick, into a 9 x 13-inch rectangle. Place over jam and trim edges. Rub surface of marzipan gently with your hand to ease out any possible air bubbles. Cut cake into 1 to 2 inch squares, or cut desired shapes with a cookie cutter (hearts or rounds).
Be certain that work surface and rolling pin are well-cleaned. Cut off about ¼ cup of fondant icing and shape into a ball (kneading will make it easier to roll). Roll on work surface lightly dusted with icing sugar to 1/4–inch thick. Brush top of petit four with egg white. Lift fondant disc and cover petit four completely, pressing down to eliminate any air bubbles. Trim edges at bottom of petit four and rub entire surface of icing gently with fingertips to smooth out. Repeat process until all petit fours are covered. Fondant scraps can be re-rolled many times. To decorate, brush bottom of decoration with a little egg white and fasten to petit four.
Pour icing over cakes. This is easiest by pouring a little in the centre and as it starts to spread pour a thin stream around the edges of the petit fours, so it drips down the side. While still sift, you can use a palette knife to smooth icing over. Depending on consistency of icing, or desired thickness, let petit fours dry for 15 minutes, then pour another thin layer. Garnish tops of petit fours with flowers, or candy décor. Let sit for an hour to dry.
Petit Fours will keep in an airtight container for 4 to 5 days.
Yield: 3 to 4 dozen petit fours.