This recipe is adapted from my upcoming cookbook, and is a new favorite recipe in our house. They may look cute and lady-like, by boyfriend/former Food52 test kitchen manager Derek hoards these whenever I make them! They take a little time, but they aren’t just for show – they taste crazy delicious, and thanks to the icing, stay moist for several days (making them super make-ahead friendly). You can change up the jam flavors however you like, and add other flavors to the cake or icing – and when it comes to decorating: the sky’s the limit! —Erin McDowell
about 20 petit fours (depending on the size of the cutter you use)
(227 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups
(298 g) granulated sugar
large (170 g) eggs
2 1/4 cups
(271 g) all purpose flour
(2 g) baking powder
(1 g) fine sea salt
(181 g) whole milk
FILLING + FROSTING:
(57 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
(113 g) powdered sugar, sifted
(3 g) vanilla extract
(60 g) heavy cream
(170 g) apricot jelly
(907 g) powdered sugar
(156 g) corn syrup
(161 g) water
(2 g) vanilla extract
a few drops of food coloring (store bought or homemade - optional)
sprinkles or colored sugars, for finishing (optional)
In This Recipe
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9 x 9 inch pan.
Make the cake: in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 4-5 minutes.
Add the eggs gradually, scraping well after they are incorporated. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer and mix on low speed to combine, 1-2 minutes. Add the milk and mix to combine, 1 minute more.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. The cake will not spring back when you touch it in the middle, but that’s ok! Cool the cake for 15 minutes inside the pan, then invert onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
While the cake cools, make the frosting. In a small bowl, mix butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and cream and mix to combine.
When the cake is cool, cut it in half horizontally with a serrated knife into two even layers. Separate the layers, and spread the jelly on top of the bottom layer. Finish by placing the top layer on top of the jelly.
Spread the frosting into an even layer on top of the cake (use this as an opportunity to help even out any ripples or marks in the surface of the cake to make a flat, even surface). Refrigerate or freeze the cake until it is thoroughly chilled, at least 30 minutes – the colder the cake is, the easier and cleaner it will cut!
While the cake chills, make the icing: fill a medium pot with about 2 inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium low heat. In a medium, heat safe bowl, whisk the powdered sugar, corn syrup, and water to combine. Place the bowl over the pot of water and heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is smooth and homogenous. You want the icing to be fluid, but not too warm – if you have a thermometer, make sure it doesn’t go over 100°F.
When the cake is chilled, cut the edges off to create flat edges – about ¼ inch off of each side. Then use a small oval cutter to cut the cakes into little egg shapes! Don’t worry if your cake seems taller than the cutter, just keep pressing firmly.
Transfer the cut petit fours to a cooling rack on a parchment lined baking sheet. Use a ladle to pour icing over each cake. The icing should easily fall down the sides of the cake. If the icing seems too thin, it may be too hot – let it cool for a few minutes at room temperature. If the icing gets too thick, you can re-warm it up slightly. You can reuse the icing that falls onto the baking sheet, just lift up the parchment and squeeze it back into the bowl and keep glazing until all of the cakes are covered.
Garnish the cakes with sprinkles and let sit for at least 30 minutes until the icing is set.
I always carry three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's pie. My first cookbook, The Fearless Baker, is out on October 24, 2017.