Simple Petits Fours

The definition of “petit four” seems to vary quite a bit so I think these little cakes can just about squeeze under the umbrella that is “petit four”. Considering how simple these cakes are, they actually taste amazing and the lack of butter means that you can justify eating at least 7 at once…
This recipe makes around 26 cakes but the number will vary for a variety of reasons.

Ingredients: (Ounce to Gram Conversion Chart)

10oz Caster Sugar
300ml Oil (vegetable, sunflower, olive, whatever you have really)
4 Eggs
300ml Natural Yogurt
10oz Self-Raising Flour
2oz Cocoa Powder
About 7oz Strawberry Jam (I used 26 half tsps of jam)
300ml Double Cream

Recipe:

Line at least 3 different cake tins with baking paper, using butter to “glue” the paper to the tins. The smaller and shallower the tin the better. I used a square 19cm (7 ½ inch) tin, a round 19cm (7 ½ inch) and a round 21cm (8 inch) tin. You could alternatively use a couple of rectangular baking trays. The shape of the tin doesn’t matter as you will be cutting shapes out of the sponge once it is baked; the lining of the tin doesn’t have to be particularly smooth either as you won’t be using the edges of the cakes.

Pre-heat the oven to 160oC (325oF, Gas Mark 3).

In a large mixing bowl, place the caster sugar and oil and whisk together with an electric whisk. Gradually whisk in the eggs and then the natural yogurt until everything is fully combined and smooth.

Sieve in the flour and cocoa powder, holding the sieve about head-height. Fold the flour and cocoa in with a wooden spoon, dragging the spoon in one complete circle around the edge of the mixture and then pushing the spoon through the mixture from one side to the other, twisting the spoon as you do to fold the mixture back on itself. Repeat until everything is fully combined.

The cake mixture

The cake mixture

Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tins, trying to evenly split the mixture between the tins. Smooth the cake mixture out and then bake the cakes in the oven for 20mins. Take the cakes out of the oven and allow to cool.

One of the baked sponges

One of the baked sponges

Take the cakes out of the tins and place on chopping boards (do one at a time). Using a cookie cutter (or knife if you don’t have one), cut out as many sections of sponge as you can from the cakes. My cookie cutter is flower shaped (I didn’t buy it) and 5cm (2 inch) diameter.

Cutting out the sponge sections

Cutting out the sponge sections

Cut the sections of cake in half horizontally and line them up on the chopping boards, with the top section above the bottom section.

Spoon half a teaspoon of jam onto the bottom half of each cake and gently flatten it with the back of a spoon to spread it out.

The sponge halves with jam on half of them

The sponge halves with jam on half of them

Whisk the double cream with an electric whisk to make whipped cream. Transfer the cream to a piping bag and pipe spirals of cream on top of the jam. You can just spoon the cream on instead if you prefer, but a piping bag gives better accuracy and makes it easier.

The sponge halves with the jam and cream on the bottom half of each cake

The sponge halves with the jam and cream on the bottom half of each cake

Place the top half of the sponge onto its corresponding bottom half and gently press down to squeeze the cream to the edge of the cake. The cakes are now ready for you to stuff your face with.

Simple Petits Fours

There is unfortunately a lot of excess sponge left after the cutting out stage. I ate quite a lot of it whilst assembling the cakes but I used the rest up in what is effectively a cake Eton Mess. Break up the remaining sponge into lumps and layer a third of it in a bowl. Top with a couple of tablespoon’s full of jam and then half the remaining whipped cream. Add another layer of sponge, jam and cream and then top with the remaining sponge.

The cake "Eton Mess" with the leftover scraps

The cake “Eton Mess” with the leftover scraps

Can’t be letting food go to waste now can we.

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