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Author Notes: This recipe is inspired by the 1940s Canadian cookbook Les Meilleures Recettes de la Collection d'Anna Lee Scott, published by the Monarch Flour Company. Petits Fours is a french term, which translates to “small oven” in which they were baked in the 18th century. Originally, these sophisticated little pastries were reserved for special occasions, served at the end of a meal as an assortment of artfully displayed miniature pastries alongside coffee or tea. We have kept the baking steps very simple and the decoration process, while still impressive and reminiscent of classy old times, easy as can be. The result is a beautiful little pastry, a sponge cake filled with fresh raspberries, coated with almond paste and decorated with raspberry frosting and fresh berries. —St-Amand Cassidy
Serves 4 or more
- 125 grams butter
- 185 grams sugar
- 4 eggs
- 150 grams pastry flour, sifted
- 2.5 grams baking powder
- 30 milliliters milk
- 3 milliliters almond extract
- 125 ml grams powdered sugar
- 125 grams raspberries or blackberries
- 22 milliliters milk
- 115 grams sugar
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Butter a 9 x 13 cake pan.
- Dust the pan with flour and tap to remove excess flour.
- In the bowl of a stand up mixer, cream butter until very smooth.
- Add sugar and beat until very light and pale in colour. In a separate bowl, combine flour with baking powder and salt.
- Slowly add flour mixture to butter and sugar mixture in three batches, alternating with milk (make sure to start and finish with the flour.)
- Add almond extract.
- Spread the batter in the prepared pan and smooth the top.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until middle of the cake springs back when gently pressed with a finger and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle of the cake.
- Allow the pan to cool on a cooling rack for 30 minutes.
- Invert the cake gently and remove it from the pan.
- Let it cool completely before icing.
- To make icing, start with the raspberry syrup by heating berries and sugar over low heat until it reaches a simmer.
- Gently cook for one minute and then strain.
- Let cool completely.
- In a large bowl, whisk powdered sugar with milk and 22 ml of the berry syrup until smooth.
- If icing is too thick, add a touch of milk.
- Once the cake is fully cooled, cut in half lengthwise.
- Layer 500 grams of raspberries on the bottom half and press gently with a fork to crush them a little.
- Carefully layer the top half of the cake over the bottom half. Dust a clean work surface with powdered sugar.
- With rolling pin, roll out the almond paste until thin and place over cake.
- With a knife, trim excess almond paste.
- Cut the cake into preferred shapes.
- Holding the top and bottom of the petits fours with two fingers, carefully dip the sides of the cakes into the icing.
- Pour additional icing on top of the cake with spoon.
- Gently place over cooling rack with cookie sheet underneath to catch any drips.
- Leave for 30 min to set.
- Repeat with remaining cakes.