Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Petit Four Cakes

Last night I went to a Petit Fours class. I had signed up for this class well before I scheduled surgery. I was looking forward to the class but not looking forward to how my foot would deal with sitting in class the whole time. Even at work I can prop it up on my desk with a small pillow under it and wrapped with an ice pack.

The evening didn't start out great, but it ended up being a fun class. It was raining, and I found out when I got there that there isn't any handicapped parking and all of the spaces right in front of the store were taken. I freaked out a little because I'm still on crutches and not supposed to get my foot wet. I managed to get inside and was pretty upset, but then things got better. Heidi, our instructor, helped me get situated with my foot propped up, and everyone was really helpful the rest of the evening.

For those like me who thought that a petit four is just a little square cake with icing around it I learned last night that they are really just any bite sized dessert. You should be able to eat them in just a bite or two. The bite sized cakes are petit four cakes.

First we went over the two cake recipes - vanilla bean cake and chocolate cake. She said we can use a variety of pans to bake them in. In class we used a jelly roll pan, a silicon mold with individual one inch square openings, and a metal pan with small flower shapes. Next we made the icings - chocolate ganache and petit four icing. She also gave us a white chocolate ganache recipe which might be a good alternative to the petit four icing, but if you want to color the chocolate you have to use water based color. For the petit four icing you can use gel based color just like you would use for buttercream frosting. All of the recipes were really simple.

Then we learned how to cut the cake from the jelly roll pan. It's important to be pretty precise when cutting those so you end up with fairly uniform sizes of petit fours. A ruler is a must for that. Our instructor recommended scoring where you want to make your cuts before actually cutting. We spread raspberry preserves without seeds in between two of the 1 inch square pieces of cake.

Everyone seemed to be having problems with the petit four icing. It just didn't want to stay fluid enough. We ended up with some pretty ugly little petit fours. I'm not quite sure if these ones really qualified as petit fours anymore, but my husband still like the ones I took home. He really liked that icing. He already requested these petit fours for his birthday next year.

The chocolate ganache was much more cooperative. It stayed nice and fluid the whole night. Only problem with that was the petit fours were harder to move after covering them because they stayed sticky.

After covering them with the icing we got to do a little decorating with tiny gumpaste flowers and chocolate drizzled with a parchment bag. That reminded me that I really should practice making parchment bags because it's quite a bit cheaper than a plastic piping bag especially for something like this. Besides, with parchment bags you can reheat the chocolate in the microwave to make it a little more fluid. I think mine turned out pretty cute. Fortunately I got help from Heidi and one of the store employees getting to my car after the class.


  1. Your petite fours are adorable! I love petite fours and the bakery charges a mint for them.

  2. Thanks! Yeah, our instructor says people charge around $2.50 per petit four.

  3. Very pretty, Andrea. I used to eat petit fours often (back in my Europe days) but never made them. Is that a vanilla sponge cake?

  4. Hanaa, it's not a sponge cake. I think the cake needs to be sturdier than sponge cake.