Fondant fancies are a bit of a British thing! Very elegant and since I just made them (and tasted them) for the first time they can be time consuming in the making especially if you choose the fancy version (and the best) where you sandwich the cake with jam inside.
They certainly make a good impression on the guests especially if they’re nicely decorated (please excuse my first time experience dealing with these little things, I’m sure you can do better with a steady hand and no 3.5 months old baby asking for attention).
While reading about the different fondant fancies out there and ideas to decorate them, I learned that Mr. Kipling, a British brand has started this whole thing. According to this reference, “Mr Kipling French Fancies are small sponge cakes, resembling petits fours, topped with a hemisphere of vegetable-oil “buttercream“. The cakes are coated with fondant icing, with several varieties drizzled with a second colour“.
Then the part where Fondant fancies got in, they say “in September 2008, Mr Kipling announced the Big French Fancy, a large cake which can be sliced into portions. Supermarket and homemade copies are called Fondant Fancies“.
The other good thing about this recipe is that it can be a few days made ahead, stored in the freezer. However icing can be made the same day or 24 hours before serving and left to dry in room temperature. I find this very convenient.
Note I made these fondant fancies with 2 fillings: one with berry jam and the other with orange marmalade, which is why you see the centered ones with orange peels.
|I didn’t use a square cake for this one (with orange marmalade), so the trimming ended up in my tummy..|
Makes 25 fondant fancies
Prep: 3 hours – Baking:35 min
- 200g unsalted butter
- 200g caster sugar
- 4 medium eggs
- 200g flour
- 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder
- A pinch of salt
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 5 tbps of water
- 70g of caster sugar
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract (or any flavouring of your choice)
- 150g icing sugar
- 75g butter at room temperature
- 3 to 4 tbsp of berry jam (I used homemade jam with blackcurrants, raspberries and strawberries and 1/3 of their weight in sugar, cooked on medium heat for 15-20 min)
For the topping and decoration
- 2 tbsp apricot jam, warmed gently, then passed through a sieve
- 200g marzipan
- 450 -650 g fondant (or ready-made liquid fondant) + a few spoons of hot water to get a thick consistency
- purple, pink and yellow food colouring
- sugar flowers (I made the ones I used), to decorate (optional)
- Petal dust and edible lustre dust (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and line a 20cm square cake tin.
Beat together the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well combined. If the mixture starts curdling, add a little bit of flour.
Fold in the flour at low speed until combined.
Spread the batter evenly into the cake tin and level using the back of a spoon or a palette knife. It’s important that you spread slightly higher around the edges because the dough will tend to rise in the centre, so this way you help the cake staying somewhat flat.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden-brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. The cake is cooked when it springs back to the touch and the sides are coming away from the tin.
Remove the cake from the oven, set aside to cool for 10 minutes, then turn out and allow to cool completely upside down, on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, for the sugar syrup, bring the sugar and water in a saucepan to a boil. Once cooled, stir in the essence or flavouring you are using.
For the filling, beat the butter in a bowl until soft and smooth, slowly beat in the icing sugar. Continue to beat until fluffy.
Garnishing the cake
|Different steps from sandwiching the cake until covering the little rectangles with buttercream|
With a long knife, try to cut the cake horizontally.
Drizzle or brush the bottom cake layer with the sugar syrup and then spread with the jam and carefully sandwich with the top half of the cake.
Wrap the cake in cling film and chill for 2-3 hours (I froze it), this will make it easier to cut the cake later.
Lightly dust the work surface with icing sugar and roll out the marzipan to the same size as the cake.
Once the cake is chilled, brush the top with the sieved apricot jam.
Carefully lift the marzipan onto the cake smooth it flat along the top of the cake and cut off any excess marzipan as well as the borders of the cakes which might be uneven.
Cut the cake into equal 25 x 4cm/1½in squares (I’ve cut into rectangles, for some reason). Chill or freeze for 1 hour minimum.
Smear the buttercream on the sides only. You may also pipe 1/2 to 1 cm diameter dollop of buttercream on the top of each mini cake.
Freeze to set for about 30 min. Then you need to use an offset spatula that you dip in hot water and dry with a cloth, and level the buttercream layer (I suggest from bottom to top of each side, it’s easier).
Chill (or freeze).
Break the fondant into small pieces and mix in a few tablespoons of hot water and beat until you get a smooth icing thick enough to coat the cakes.
If you are using liquid fondant such as the one for eclairs then you only need to go to the next step.
Reserve three tablespoons of the icing into another bowl, cover with cling film and set aside.
Divide the remaining icing into three bowls. Colour each one with a few drops of the different colours you are using and mix until smooth.
Finishing and decoration
Coat the cake squares with the icing, easing the icing down the sides of the cakes until you have an even coating all over the cakes. I actually did it 3 times. I waited 15 min between each (I collected all that icing falling underneath and re-iced again)..
|Mini sugarpaste flowers in the making|
Sit the cakes on a cooling rack until the icing is set (this could take 1 hour to more depending on the humidity, the quality of the icing and the temperature).
Spoon the reserved icing into a piping bag with a very fine nozzle and pipe simple decorations onto the fondant fancies.
Squeeze a little of the icing onto the sugar flowers and use them to decorate the fondant fancies.
Once set, carefully place the fondant fancies in appropriate cases.