These Pastel Petite Fours are perfect for spring! The cake balances the flavor of almond and lemon with a perfect texture that holds moisture impeccably. A go-to frosting and raspberry jam are encased in a poured fondant.
Petite fours…they are delightful little cakes and individual nibbles.
In an ideal world, Pastel Petite Fours would be eaten by women in swoosh ankle-length dresses and brimmed architectural hats. They’d be eaten by people who still wear Sunday’s Finest and watch polo games on manicured fields.
Well back to these Pastel Petite Fours.
Google petite fours, and you get mixed batch of semi-homemade renditions with store bought pound cake and cans of melted frosting. Then there are recipe of on the other end of the spectrum with fancy frangipane cake. I appreciate the use of almond paste in a frangipane cake, but the texture of pound cake has a better, smaller crumb.
I use a cake with ample butter (one full pound) and 14 ounces of almond paste. An hefty dose of lemon zest in the batter and a lemon soak balance the natural sweetness of the almond.
The key to glazing the petite fours are three factors: an elevated and greased wire rack, warm glaze, and frozen petite fours.
These Pastel Petite Fours are, well, not petite. Blame the ‘Merica in me, but these are more like jumbo petite fours. Heck there are jumbo shrimp, why not jumbo petite fours? You won’t have any problem eating one (or two, or three) of these Pastel Petite Fours!
- For the Lemon Almond Cake:
- 2 cups cake flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 14 ounces almond paste, cut into cubes
- 1 pound unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into cubes
- 1 ½ tablespoons lemon zest
- 10 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- For the Soaking Glaze:
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- For the Classic Buttercream:
- 1 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
- 6 to 7 powdered sugar
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature and cubed
- 1 ½ tablespoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- For the Poured Fondant:
- 2 cups white chocolate chips
- 8 cups (2 pounds) powdered sugar
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- ½ cup hot water
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon fine salt
- blue and yellow food gel
- For assembling Pastel Petite Fours:
- 6 to 8 ounces Seedless Raspberry Jam
- 4 evenly tall cups or cans
- wire rack
- baking spray
- 24 cupcake/muffin wrappers
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13 by 9 inch baking pan with aluminum foil, with the foil going up the sides, this will make removal easier. Spray foiled pan with baking spray, set aside.
- Whisk cake flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, set aside.
- Combine sugar and almond paste in the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with a paddle attachment. Beat on low until completely combined, beating sugar and almond paste together ensures that the almond paste is evenly distributed and broken up. Gradually add butter, a few tablespoons at a time, beat in lemon zest. Raise speed to medium-high and cream until pale and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Scrape bowl and paddle. With mixer on low, gradually add eggs, one at a time, beating well to incorporate, again scraping bowl and paddle as needed. Beat in vanilla.
- Add dry-mixture in two additions, beating to just combine.
- Pour batter into pan, smoothing the top with an offset spatula. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean with a few moist, not wet, crumbs.
- Whisk lemon juice and sugar together. When cake finishes baking, poke holes into the cake and drizzle glaze on top of warm cake.
- Let cake cool completely before assembling.
- Cream butter and powdered sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until pale, fluffy, and lump free about 4 to 5 minutes. Scrape bowl and paddle as needed. With mixer on low, add cream cheese, a cube at a time, beating to incorporate. Beat in vanilla and salt. Switch out paddle attachment for whisk attachment and whip frosting on medium-high for 4 minutes.
- Melt white chocolate in a heat-proof bowl in the microwave, heating for 20 second intervals, stirring frequently until melted.
- In a large bowl whisk powdered sugar, corn syrup, hot water, vanilla, and salt until smooth and lump free. Add in melted chocolate whisking to combine. Divide into two batches and tint with food gel. If the mixture is too thick, you can more hot water, a tablespoon at a time.
- Once cake cools, lift foil out of pan and peel back sides.
- Use a serrated knife to cut dome off of the top and to divide the top and bottom in half. Apply an even layer of frosting onto the bottom half, followed by a layer of raspberry jam. Secure the top layer onto the bottom and apply remaining frosting. Use a bench scraper or an offset spatula to smooth out the frosting. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours. Once cold, use a chef knife to cut the cake into even squares. Clean the knife’s blade between cuts, this will make for a cleaner looking petite four. Place petite four squares onto a baking sheet and into the freezer. Chill for 1 hour.
- In the meantime set up the wire rack. Place aluminum foil or parchment paper onto an even counter top. Set the wire rack onto 4 identically tall cups or cans. The height will allow excess to easily fall off. Spray rack and bottom with baking spray, this will make it easier to remove the excess from the rack and bottom.
- Have fondant warm and ready. Dunk the top followed by the sides of the petite fours, picking it up from the bottom side. Don’t worry about the bottom too much, it’ll be covered by wrapping. Place on elevated-greased rack, allowing to drip completely. If decorating with sprinkles, garnish while fondant to still wet.
- Scrape the excess fondant glaze from the surface below the rack and reuse and reheat as needed. Once complete, wrap petite fours in muffin liners. Refrigerate until ready to serve.