Petits Fours. These little dainty cakes conjure up images of elegant parties and gatherings, don't they? Even the name *petit four* sounds fancy, doesn't it? So they must be beyond difficult to make, right???
Naaaaaahhhhhhh. Not really. Not MY way. (Which is the Wilton way...I think. I don't know...I've been doing these so long I don't remember exactly how I learned to do these things...but odds are it was from studying a Wilton yearbook years and years ago....)
But ANYWAY, without further ado, here are Lisa's Easy Petits Fours Instructions:
1) Bake 1 Pillsbury or Duncan Hines white cake mix in an 11 x 15 pan sprayed with cooking spray then lined with waxed paper at between 325 and 350 degrees. (Tip: because the cake is so thin, it should take no more than 15 minutes to bake. Keep an eye on it and pull it out when it is *light* golden brown on top.) Flip cake out of pan onto wire rack to cool.
2) Once cake is completely cooled, ice only top part of cake with a thin layer of buttercream. Apply a sheet of waxed paper over the buttercream making sure to get all the wrinkles out of the waxed paper. Wrap well in plastic wrap and put in freezer.
3) Next day mix up poured fondant ingredients in a 3 qt. pot with handle. (My poured fondant recipe is 2/3 to 3/4 cup water stirred in a measuring cup with 3 TB clear Karo syrup, then mixed in the pot with 2 lbs. confectioner's sugar...add 1 tsp. almond extract right before pouring...)
4) While fondant is warming on stove on lowest heat; remove cake from freezer. Unwrap and cut off all edges with a long, sharp knife dipped in hot water then wiped dry. (Tip: keeping the knife hot and clean will give cleaner cuts. I dip my knife in water and wipe dry after every 2nd cut.)
5) After edges are cut off take a ruler and toothpick and measure 1 1/2" increments around the cake. This will insure uniform- sized cuts. Make cuts by again using sharp knife dipped in hot water then wiped clean.
6) ***In the process of making these cuts I periodically stir my poured fondant. The bottom of the pot should never get so hot you can't put your hand on it comfortably. If you feel it is getting too hot while you are cutting your cakes take it off the burner for a bit. (Tip: If the fondant gets too hot you will notice that the fondant looks dull and not shiny when on the cakes. It will also have a gritty texture; so be careful...never let the fondant get too hot!) ***
7) Put individual cakes on a wire rack placed over a 12 x 18 cake pan. Make sure they don't touch sides.
8) After all cakes are cut and placed on the wire rack, stir fondant again making sure all lumps are gone; then add almond extract; mix well and begin pouring. (Tip: I find it easiest and fastest to pour directly from the pot; starting in the middle of the petit four cake and then circling around the edges until all sides of each cake are covered.) Continue this process until all fondant is poured from the pot. The first round I usually get about 22-24 petit fours coated.)
9) Take wire rack off of 12 x 18 pan so that you can scrape fondant from the pan with a plastic spatula back into pot ; reheat; adding just a drop of water if necessary to thin it a bit. Reheating shouldn't take more than 2-4 minutes. Remember, bottom of pot should not get so hot you can't touch it. Repeat pouring process until all cakes are coated.
Fondant Being Scraped Back Into Pot to be Reheated:
10) Transfer cakes to cupcake papers using a wide icing spatula and decorate as desired.
Hope this helps someone!