Quilted Petit Fours

Have you ever heard of the children’s book, Le Petit Prince? I hadn’t paid much attention to it until just a few weeks ago, when my very good friend asked me to create a celebratory cake for her sister’s baby shower.

Today’s recipe for Quilted Petit Fours are the miniature version of the Petit Prince cake that I created last weekend. The cake recipe is adapted from Sweetapolita’s Fluffy Vanilla Cake recipe, which works great for regular sized cakes or, in this case, one half-sheet pan cake. The texture of this cake is light and fluffy, and yet it keeps a tight crumb, which makes it ideal for making petit fours.

The key to getting your petit fours to look distinctively French is to use food coloring in shades of pale pastel, very sparingly. Here, I’m using a blue food coloring named Delphinium Blue, a shade very much like a color you’d find on a box of tea at Ladurée in Paris.

Luxurious gold dragées are placed on the points where diagonally scored lines on the fondant intersect. By lightly piercing each intersection with a toothpick, the large gold sprinkles will easily tuck into the fondant to create a tufted diamond pattern. The softer the frosting under the fondant, the more pooufy the pattern will look.And here is a glimpse of the cake that inspired today’s recipe for Quilted Petit Fours. The double layered cake was frosted with strawberry buttercream before being covered with fondant. The asteroid (middle) part of the cake was made from moulded rice crispy treat, which was also covered in fondant and then sprayed with edible gold dust. Finally, the cake board was covered in gold sprinkles for an extra dose of glitter and glam. With the use of some small cupcake liners, I placed some of these same sprinkles at the base of my petit fours for a similar effect.

Petit Prince himself was made entirely of fondant held together with toothpicks. I gave him a glossy finish by painting him with a mixture of corn syrup and clear colored framboise (raspberry liquor). People remarked that at first glance, he looked like a plastic toy…what do you think?

If I muster up the energy to, I’ll have to do a tutorial for how to build fondant figurines some day soon. It’s a process that requires a bit of improvisation and an incredible amount of patience, but it’s also highly rewarding if you can get it right.

And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.  

-Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

If you haven’t ever read Le Petit Prince, I highly recommend it. Above all, Le Petit Prince reminds us to stay child-like, open-minded, and with a full spirit of inquisitiveness. The drawings in the book are simple yet elegant, which was the look I was going for with these Quilted Petit Fours. Serve these fancy cakelets with Harney & Sons’ Paris black tea, a blend that’s fruity, flowery, and distinctively feminine.

I’m dedicating today’s post to all the lovely ladies that I met at the shower this past weekend, and to one special person in particular–the positively glowing and radiant mommy-to-be…Congratulations Jen!!

French Quilted Petit Fours 

Makes 12 large petit fours.

Ingredients:

{Cake- Adapted from Sweetapolita’s Fluffy Vanilla Cake Recipe}

2 1/2 large egg whites

1/2 whole egg

1/2 cup whole milk

1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp ground vanilla beans

1 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted

1 cup sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

6 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1 Tbsp pieces, chilled

non-stick spray

{Strawberry Frosting- Adapted from Patty Nguyen’s Strawberry Buttercream Recipe}

1 stick butter

3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/2 oz freeze-dried strawberries, ground into a fine powder in a spice grinder

1 Tbsp milk

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp lemon juice

pinch salt

{Decoration}

24 oz. white fondant

Delphinium Blue food coloring

4 mm gold dragées

Equipment:

large half sheet pan fitted with parchment

medium bowl

stand mixer with paddle attachment

large rubber spatula

off-set cake spatula

toothpicks

cooling rack

rolling-pin

2 1/4″ round cookie cutter

disposable, food safe gloves

quilting tool or knife

ruler

spice grinder

Directions:

1.)  Make the Cake. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray sheet pan and parchment evenly with non-stick spray. Mix together 2 Tbsp of milk, egg whites, egg, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl, then set aside. Place all dry cake ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer, then mix on lowest setting for 30 seconds. Add butter, one Tbsp at a time, every 10 seconds to create a sandy mixture. Add the milk, then continue to mix on low for 5 minutes, occasionally using a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides to make sure everything is mixing evenly. Add the liquid egg mixture in 3 additions, waiting for the batter to mix evenly before adding the next batch. Mix for 4 minutes, until the batter is light and evenly mixed. Pour batter into large baking sheet, then smooth the batter out evenly with an offset spatula. Bake the cake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is light golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. When the cake is done, take it out and let it cool for a few minutes, then invert onto a large cooling rack until it cools completely.

2.)  Make the frosting. Cream butter in stand mixer with paddle attachment for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the sifted powdered sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, milk, vanilla, lemon juice, and salt, then mix until evenly incorporated. Grind the freeze-dried strawberries in a spice grinder and immediately add the fine powder into the frosting mixture. Scrape the sides of bowl down periodically to make sure all the ingredients are evenly incorporated.

3.)  Assemble the cake. Using round cookie cutter, punch out rounds of cake. Frost the top of 2 rounds with a thin, even layer of frosting. Stack one frosted round on top of another frosted round, then top this with an unfrosted round to create a stack of 3 cake layers. Repeat this process to create 12 cake stacks, then frost all 12 stacks completely with a thin layer of frosting. Frost the top and the sides of the cylinder-like petit fours, then set them aside.

4.)  Prepare Fondant. Use a toothpick to smear 2 large dabs of food coloring into the fondant. With gloved hands, start stretching and pulling the fondant to create a pale, evenly colored pastel blue fondant. Roll the fondant out to a 1/16″ thickness. Cut out 12-6 1/2″ round circles of the fondant, one for each cakelet. Use the quilting tool to create diagonal lines on each fondant piece. If you prefer, use a ruler to get evenly spaced lines.

5.)  Finish the Petit Fours. Place one piece of fondant on each cake stack smoothing the top and sides down with your fingers. Cut off any excess fondant around the base of the petit four by using a sharp knife to go around the base. Use a toothpick to pierce a small hole in each intersection where the diagonal lines meet. Push one dragée into each pierced hole. Repeat this process for all 12 petit fours. These are best served within a day or two. Store in the fridge in a bakery box or in slightly vented tupperware until ready to serve.

52 thoughts on “Quilted Petit Fours

    • Thank you so much Namrata! The heat is so unforgiving in California right now…the cake was out in the sun for 2 hours before I took the shot…glad it held up! ;)

    • You are so sweet Angie. When you see how nice and tender the cake bakes up and what a beautiful shade of pink Patty’s strawberry frosting comes out to, you get over the pretty factor pretty fast! ;)

  1. Wow that cake and all the details are very impressive! Patience and fiddling about with fondant i not really my thing but yours look so professional! I have read the book and think it’s great and original to have it as a baby shower theme :)

  2. You’ve outdone yourself once again. These cakes are amazing. Working with fondant is not easy but it turned out great, especially the Little Prince figure. He does look like a toy!

  3. Wow, Bonnie, these petit-fours and that cake are crazy beautiful! I love how intricate all the details are and your cake topper does look very polished. Initially, I thought you must have purchased it because it looks absolutely perfect, but when you said you made it, I was just blown away. What a wonderful friend you are for putting such loveliness together for the shower. I have read Le Petit Prince – in French no less – when I was studying the language. Fun little book!

    • Wow Ngan! Le Petit Prince in French…that is so impressive! I’m sure reading it in it’s original language helps you to appreciate the book that much more…very neat! :)

  4. So many things I love about this post! Yes, I’ve read and love the book, your petit fours are gorgeous, and your fondant prince is flawless. Gosh, Bonnie, will you still remember me when you make it big?? Because I know you will. It’s only a matter of time. You mark my words! :D Also, thank you for the buttercream shout out! <3

    • Patty, you are always so sweet and encouraging…I can’t thank you enough for your kind words. Your strawberry buttercream is genius…so yummy and so practical. I like that it tastes of pure strawberry goodness. Fresh strawberries in frosting sounds good in theory until everything starts melting in the California sun. Thank you for the recipe Patty, you’re the best. :)

      • Haha gotta love our sun! Not really because I can’t handle extreme heat! ;) I’ve been wanting to experiment with other freeze dried fruit in frosting. Can you imagine a blueberry one?? I sure can!! And pineapple, too!

  5. Okay, this is beyond gorgeous! These petit fours are pure perfection. I love everything about them from the beautiful pale blue to the interior layers. Amazing job on them, and the cake!

  6. Pingback: Chocolate Framboise (Raspberry) Cake | My Tryst with Baking

  7. For the strawberry frosting, ………. when you adapted it you only use 3/4 cup powdered sugar compared to 3 cups (6 cups is a full cake) and then you added 1/4 cup cornstarch which was not in the original recipe. I’m collecting all the ingredients to make these for my daughter’s baby shower and I want to be sure this icing recipe is correct. It seems the large amount of cornstarch would make this taste pasty.
    Why did you cut back so much on the powdered sugar?
    and
    What is the purpose for so much cornstarch?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Jewel,
      So my recipe is very loosely adapted from Patty’s recipe. One of the reasons why there is so much less powdered sugar is that Patty used a higher ratio of liquid in her icing recipe (a 1/4 cup milk in a half portion of the recipe). I only used less then 2 Tbsp of liquid in mine, and therefore my recipe requires less powdered sugar.

      As for the added cornstarch, I just happen to like using it to lessen the sweetness of the icing a bit. I tend to find petit fours to be cloying, so this is the method I use to tame the sweetness. Feel free to use replace the cornstarch in my recipe with powdered sugar if you prefer…it should still create a consistency appropriate for icing the petit fours.

      Hope this helps and thanks for stopping by!

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