Fancy Little Cakes

I have made quite a few new dishes in the last couple of months, but either haven’t got any good photos yet or am still tweaking the recipes. This recipe, however, turned out perfect first time, and the sun even came out for some photos too.

French Fancies, Fondant Fancies or Petits Fours… whatever you fancy calling them, these little cakes are scrumptious!

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Ooh la la!

Sweet bites of buttery sponge cake, with a strawberry jam and buttercream filling, a thin layer of marzipan on top, and then icing drizzled over each individual little cake. Top with decorations of your choice and this would be a fabulous treat for Easter weekend, afternoon tea, or any spring gathering. Or, if you are feeling adventurous, make them with children/grandchildren and make a lovely sticky mess with all that coloured icing!

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I didn’t put the buttercream all round the edges as the original recipes say, nor did I put a blob of it on top. I also had no luck finding fondant icing sugar in my local stores, so I used normal icing sugar instead; even if they aren’t perfectly coated in a smooth layer of fondant I still think they look irresistible. So can I still call them Fondant Fancies? Probably not. But I think Fancy Little Cakes describes them well enough!

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They are actually a LOT easier to make than they look, but you do need a bit of time to assemble them in advance. I made the cake the evening before and did the filling and decorating the next morning – it took me about an hour (plus extra washing-up time!).

For the cake you will need:

  • 175g (6 oz) butter, softened
  • 175g (6 oz) sugar
  • 3 free-range organic eggs
  • 175g (6 oz) SR flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2-3 tbsps milk
  • 20cm (8 inch) square baking tin

Grease and flour your baking tin and preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).

Cream the butter and sugar together with a mixer and then add the eggs, one by one, mixing in each well. Sieve the flour and raising agents and then fold in to the batter carefully with a metal spoon. You may need to add the milk now, to achieve a “dropping” consistency, so the batter just about drops off a spoon. Pour it into your cake tin and even it out. Bake for about 25 minutes until firm to the touch and golden brown. You can test it by sticking a toothpick in the middle – if it comes out clean the cake should be done.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Allow to cool completely and then trim the edges so they are straight. Wrap in clingfilm and chill. (I left it in the fridge overnight).

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For the filling and topping you will need:

Buttercream – 75g (5 tbsps) butter, softened and 150g (1 and 1/5 cups) icing/powdered sugar, sieved

Strawberry jam

225g (8 oz) marzipan

Icing: 400g (3 and 1/5 cups) icing sugar, sieved and food colouring of your choice

Decorations: sugar flowers, sprinkles, mini eggs, let your imagination free run!

Cut through the cake horizontally so you have two layers. Spread the lower layer with strawberry jam. Beat the butter and icing sugar for the buttercream until soft and fluffy (you can add a drop of milk if necessary), then spread this over the strawberry jam. Put the top layer of the cake back on. Spread a little jam on the top, just enough to make the surface sticky. Roll out the marzipan to the shape of the cake and place this on top of the cake. Trim the edges and place on a large piece of clingfilm. Now mark lightly with a knife where you want to cut the cakes – I divided mine into 5 across, 5 down, so I had 25 little squares. Cut through with a sharp knife and wrap in clingfilm. Chill for at least half an hour.

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Now make the icing by mixing very little warm water with the 400g of icing sugar, a drop at a time, until you have a thick pouring consistency. Divide into different dishes if you are using different food colours. This is the fun bit! Use a spoon to dribble the icing over each cake. Place them on a cooling wrack with a tray beneath it to catch the drips. Put your decorations on while the icing is still tacky. Once the icing has set a little you can put the cakes on a plate and place in the fridge to firm up.

Just before serving, put them in little cupcake cases.

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This was something I had wanted to make for ages, and I really enjoyed it, despite the sticky fingers!

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Happy Baking!

😀