Saturday 1 March 2008


Hey, how many kitchen gadgets and specialty baking pans do you have stashed away at home unused?

I am ashamed to say that I don't have the time--though I do have the inclination--to make use of the stockpile of cake tins, molds and pans I have purchased over the years. I even have an authentic okonomiyaki pan from Japan which my dear friend J-11-hamburgers-"Kobayashi" mailed to me in Vancouver (it was cast iron. yikes!)

For the month of March and from now on, I promise I will endeavour to make use of the cool gadgets, the nifty bakeware and specialty tools I have squirreled away for so long in various parts of my house.

For March, I'm going to try and make Petits Fours in the Nordicware pan I purchased a while ago at Williams Sonoma. Yes, shame shame on me for not having done anything with it for so long. The little intricate flower molds are so beautiful and I was told by the salesperson that she had one and her petits fours turned out very well. The pan mold is so pretty you could display it.

The Nordicware pan comes with a recipe and I intend to try it out because it should fit the capacity of the pan quite well and I won't have to dicker around with locating a suitable one. It even has an icing recipe too which calls for 8 cups of confectioners' sugar! I'll have to head out to buy some and stockpile the confectioners' sugar as I don't think I have enough right now.

These look perfect for a spring tea party. I really ought to have a "High Tea Party". It's such a civilized thing to do! I can't wait until my little girls are both big enough to come with me to my favourite place for High Tea in Vancouver, The Secret Garden Tea Company in Kerrisdale. They provide a 3-tier plate where the bottom two plates are filled with little finger sandwiches, and mini savouries, English scones with Devon cream and raspberry jam. The top plate is a selection of desserts, cakes and other such sweets. Each person has their own personal tea pot with their choice of loose tea. They have a huge selection of teas from which to choose.
Let's just say I rarely see the male of the species sitting in this room. It's a very dainty place where ladies meet with their girlfriends for birthdays and showers; where women take their grandmothers and daughters and where pinkies automatically point up while raising the delicate bone china teacups. It's not to say that men don't ever set foot in here. However, when confronted with the itty bitty delights on the plates, they scarf their share down in a wink and are still hungry for more. I'm thinking I want to relax and enjoy my mini sandwiches and don't want to worry about protecting my portion of goodies from the hungry man across the table. It's a woman's sanctuary. I don't invite my guys here. Ever.

(designed by Williams Sonoma. Manufactured by NordicWare.)
For the Cakes:
1 1/3 cups (170g) cake flour
3/4 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
8 T (1 stick/125 g) unsalted butter
3/4 cup (185 g) granulated sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
1/3 cup (80 ml) milk
1/2 cup (155 g) seedless raspberry jam (optional)

For the Glaze:
8 cups (1 kg) confectioners' sugar, sifted
4 egg whites
1/2 cup (125 ml) milk
2 T vanilla extract
Food colouring as desired (pastel pink, green or yellow)
*NB: If desired, meringue powder can be used instead of egg whites in the glaze. Omit the egg whites and substitute 1/4 cup (35 g) meringue powder; increase the milk to 1 cup (250 ml).
  • Have all the ingredients at room temperature
  • Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 350degrees F (180degrees C). Using a stiff brush, grease and flour the 20-well petits fours pan; tap out the excess flour.
  • To make the cakes, over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the granulated sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla just until incorporated, about 1 minute.
  • Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour. Beat each addition just until incorporated, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Spoon 1 T of the batter into each well of the prepared pan. Gently tap the pan on a flat surface to eliminate any air bubbles. Bake just until the cakes are no longer sticky on top, about 10 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cakes cool upright in the pan for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Set the rack over a sheet of waxed paper, invert the pan onto the rack and lift off the pan. Let the cakes cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, wash and dry the pan and repeat with the remaining batter.
  • If desired, using a serrated knife cut the cakes in half horizontally. Place about 1/2 t jam on the bottom half of each cake, then replace the tops.
  • To make the glaze, in a a large bowl, whisk together the confectioners' sugar, egg whites, milk and vanilla until smooth, about 1 minute. Whisk in the food colouring.
  • Using a rubber spatula, transfer the glaze to a bowl with a pouring spout. Slowly drizzle the glaze over each cake, allowing it to completely cover the top and sides before glazing the next cake. Gently tap the wire rack on a flat surface to remove excess glaze. Let the glaze dry completely, about 1 hour, before serving. Makes 40 petits fours.


Lemon: Make the cake batter as directed, adding 1 1/2 t lemon extract along with the vanilla. For the glaze, substitute 4 t lemon extract for the vanilla

Almond: Make the cake batter ad directed, adding 3/4 t almond extract along with the vanilla. For the glaze, substitute 1/2 t almond extract for the vanilla

check out the results here.


Anonymous said...

Very cute Nordic pan! I always have to tell myself no when I see that kind of stuff in the shop. Like you I have enough pans that I either never used or barely. Looking forward to the petit fours!

cakewardrobe said...

I love pretty new pans - even though I'm always constantly shuffling for space! I hate that! I'm always afraid to make petits fours cause they seem so delicate. I want to see how they turn out. Maybe I'll give them a turn in try!

Megan said...

I have this pan too but never made that recipe. I have a tea party comming up so I guess it would be smart to dig out my pan. Thanks for the reminder! Good luck with the petits fours!

Anonymous said...

Oooh! i can't wait to see the finished product. I love petits fours with a passion!

Deeba PAB said...

Got here from your blog. I'm a huge fan of petit fours & am drooling at your beautiful Nordic pan!! can just visualise how lovely the end product will be!!! GREAT BLOG!!

Anonymous said...

In your recipe for the lovely chocolate tarts, I plan on making them mini for a party, can the tarts be frozen? Or possibly, freeze the shell?


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