Valentines Petit Fours

Feb. 7, 2024, noon

Petit fours are small bite-sized cakes. The word petit four in French actually translates to "small oven." In France, bakers would bake their breads first, and then as the ovens cooled, they would bake smaller pastries. The lower temperature was called baking "a petit four" and thus, the cakes were named!

Petit fours are very expensive in bakeries! However, they are very easy to make at home. Your children will love this project!

Petit Four Cake Recipe
Yields 2 dozen approximately
4 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons water
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Separate eggs and whip egg whites until fluffy and set aside.
Mix egg yolks and water and cream in a mixing bowl until smooth.
Add sugar, vanilla, and salt and beat well.
Add flour and baking powder and beat until batter is smooth.
Fold egg whites into batter until smooth.
Grease pan and pour batter into pan. Baking times will vary based on the size of the pan you use – anywhere from 12 – 20 minutes.
Allow to cool in pan and when completely cool, put in freezer for at least 15 minutes to overnight.
Remove from pan and set on a flat surface. Using a serrated knife or cookie cutters, cut the petit fours and set on a rack over a parchment-lined sheet pan.
Put back in freezer.
Set a bowl over simmering water and make the icing.
Remove the cakes from the freezer and pour icing over to cover. If at any time the cakes get soft, put them back in the freezer.
You can scrape the run-off icing back into the bowl and reheat to use again.

Petit Four Icing
2 pounds powdered sugar
2/3 cups water
½ cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Food coloring, if desired

While the cake is freezing, bring a pot of water to boil, then turn down to a low simmer. Then place a larger glass bowl over it.
In the glass bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, water, corn syrup, extracts, and food coloring (if using).
Continue whisking or stirring until the mixture becomes smooth and consistent. It should be thin enough to drizzle from a spoon, but not so thin that it all runs off the cake. You can also check the temperature and when it reaches 90 to 95 degrees, it's good.
Working quickly, start ladling the petit four icing over the cakes.
If your icing begins to thicken, set it back over the simmering water for a moment. If you heat it too much, let it cool.

If you're adding sprinkles or any decorations that need to stick, add them before the icing sets (which is quick because the cake is cold).
Otherwise, let them set then decorate.
Can petit fours be made ahead of time?
Yes! There are two ways. First, you can go all the way through the steps of baking, filling, and frosting the cake, then wrap it whole and freeze it for up to 2 months. Then thaw it overnight in a fridge before cutting, dipping and decorating.

Alternatively, you can go ahead and cut and dip the petit fours, then freeze them in a freezer-save container. Hold off on decorating until just before serving.
Can you freeze petit fours?

Yes, finished petit fours can be frozen for up to 2 months if stored in a freezer-safe container. Keep the cake in the sheet pan that it was baked in and wrap it in several layers of plastic wrap before freezing. Then cut and dip them straight from the freezer.