How to Make Perfect Petit Fours
Simple Butter Cake for Petit Fours
- 2¾ cups sugar
- ¾ cup salted butter, softened
- ¾ cup shortening (The closest thing to shortening are Holsum or Wooden Spoon Margarine)
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 5 eggs
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup evaporated milk
- ¼ cup sour cream
- Cream together the sugar, butter and shortening until smooth then beat in vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, until fluffy.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt). Add this flour mixture and the evaporated milk to the original mixture alternately. Beat for 2 minutes on medium speed, then fold in the sour cream.
- Spread onto a parchment lined half sheet pan. Bake at 325°F/ 162C until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (25-35 minutes - but check at 25 minutes!).
Today (finally), I’m going to share How to Make Perfect Petit Fours. The first couple of times I made petit fours, they were a serious headache for me. I didn’t love the recipe I was using, the icing was a nightmare and my method for cutting and covering them was a mess.
But then a series of things came together for me (a new recipe (below),and lots of practice) and one day I realized… I had made Perfect Petit Fours.
And I couldn’t stop eating them. For reals. OH – let me clarify my use of the word “perfect”.
They don’t look perfect… far from it. That will take more practice on my part and I’m not quite there yet. But the taste and texture… yep. Perfect!
I mentioned to a client that they weren’t perfect and she said, “If they looked perfect, I wouldn’t believe they were homemade.” Good point. Mine aren’t perfect, but once you bite into one, you won’t care!
So, I kept making them… over and over again… to be sure it wasn’t a fluke and now I can say with confidence that I’m in love with this recipe & method for making them!
They’re delicious. One of my clients declared them “the best cake she’d ever had in her life!”
I won’t say that they’re super easy… you do have to work for them a little bit, but I can say without hesitation that they’re worth every minute of work!
Okay… so here we go. First, you’re going to make up the recipe below for a simple butter cake. This is a scratch recipe (which ya’ll know is rare for me) but it’s soooo worth it! It’s also actually a pound cake recipe – courtesy of my friend Angela.
She gave it to me to make her daughter’s wedding cake and told me in passing that it was good for petit fours. I’ll be forever grateful for that tidbit!!
For petit fours, I bake the cake in a 13″x18″ half sheet pan. These Nordic Pans are my favorite… I have about a dozen of them! I line it with parchment paper, then spray down the edges with non-stick baking spray.
After the cake is baked and cooled… I like to flip it out onto a work surface on another piece of parchment paper.
Then I torte it. Ya’ll… torting (or splitting cake layers) is pretty new for me, but you really should for petit fours. You get to add in a little extra special bit of flavor and it makes them pretty too!
Torting is easily done with my Agbay (which I LOOOVE) but if you don’t have a leveler like this, you’ll have to get a little more creative with the torting step.
There are some great tips in this Craftsy class on how to do it without any fancy tools and I’m sure you could also find some great ideas by searching online or on YouTube.
I set my Agbay to a level that splits it as close to in the middle as possible. It doesn’t always work out but I’m getting better!
To remove the top half without breaking it, I slide a flexible cutting board into the cut, then simply lift it off.
For the filling – I highly recommend raspberry. You could make your own raspberry filling (here I’m using some which was also made with a recipe from my friend Angela), or you could buy it pre-made or use raspberry jam.
You could also fill your petit fours with other flavors… lemon curd or strawberry or blueberry or really whatever suits your fancy! I do recommend a tart filling to balance some of the sweet but if you want to go all sweet, I won’t argue with you
Okay… so back to the steps!
I like to spread a thin layer of frosting over the filling. You could skip this step, but why would you?? It’s FROSTING! I prefer cream cheese buttercream here (because it’s not as sweet) but you could also use vanilla buttercream or whatever your favorite frosting is.
After you have whatever fillings you want all spread out – go ahead and put your cake back together. This is SUPER easy to do with the flexible cutting board. Just line up the ends and slide it off!
Last step of putting them together – more frosting on top! You could make this as thin or thick as you like but the purpose is for it to be smooth so your poured frosting will also be smooth! Again… I’m using cream cheese frosting.
Once I have it all spread out and smooth, I cut off the edges so I’ll have really nice squares. Plus, we get to eat the edges and I have to tell you – they’re much fought over in this house!!
At this point, I freeze the cake. I lift it (with the parchment underneath), put it back on the sheet pan I baked it on, put a lid on (love these with lids!!) and then I put it in the freezer for around an hour.
While it’s freezing, I work on the set-up and the frosting. I use this Petit Four Icing recipe (be sure to start prepping it before you take the cakes out of the freezer) and for my “set-up”, I line another baking sheet with parchment or wax paper and lay a cooling rack over it.
I like to use cooling racks larger than the sheets so there’s good space between the cooling rack and the paper beneath (you’ll see in pics below).
When it comes out of the freezer, I cut it into squares… around 1.25″. Sometimes I just eyeball it, sometimes I use my sewing ruler and/or a straight edge to get them perfect. Do whatever makes you happy!
Working quickly (they’re easier to keep pretty and square when they’re cold), I move them to the prepped cooling rack and immediately start dipping the icing with a small ladle over the cakes.
Here’s my icing set up… a make-shift double boiler:
And I cover them by ladling it quickly around the edges and then the middle.
The excess runs off and onto the paper below… and can be re-used. Just let it firm up and you can peel it off and put it back into your bowl to re-melt! No waste… which I love!!
For some reason I didn’t get the one last step in a picture – of the finished petit fours on the racks, but just let them firm up for a few minutes – the icing sets fast because they’re cold – and then you can move them to a platter or individual baking ups (my favorite way to present them).
Here are a few orders I’ve done…
These finished with edible gold and silver stars (love!!!)
These were finished with royal icing drizzles to match the cookies and the rest of party sweets
And for these I piped on tiny pink rosettes for a baby shower!
This post has gone way too far beyond long so I won’t repeat the icing recipe – find it HERE –> Petit Four Icing
You can use my cream cheese frosting recipe if you like… it’s HERE –> Cream Cheese Buttercream
You can make your own raspberry filling or Lemon Curd or buy Icing Fruits!
NOTE: This recipe will yield ~130 petit fours at the size listed above. You can absolutely use a portion of the sheet and freeze the remaining. If it’s wrapped up tight and/or covered well, it will keep in the freezer for 3-4 weeks!