Monday, February 8, 2010

Petit Fours

There are several reasons why these tiny cakes don't fit the pure definition of petit fours, but putting them together this weekend with a friend was lots of fun, and they're definitely delicious!

For the cake layers, I baked up a couple of loaves of Martha's chocolate pound cake. I used this recipe, decreasing the salt to two teaspoons and omitting the glaze.

Chocolate Pound Cake - recipe link - Martha Stewart

After the loaves had cooled completely, we leveled the tops and sides to form perfect rectangles, then split them horizontally and into small square sandwiches.

We filled half of the cake sandwiches with seedless raspberry jam, warmed just slightly until smooth and spreadable. For the other half we whipped up a mixture of about one cup peanut butter, one-half cup confectioner's sugar, and a splash of milk.

For the chocolate ganache, we heated two cups of heavy whipping cream until just simmering, poured it over 3 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips, let it stand for just a couple of minutes, and whisked it until smooth. We allowed the ganache to cool until it reached a thick, but pourable, consistency, and then dipped the filled cakes, coating completely.

We placed the dipped cakes in the refrigerator to set the ganache, and then melted some white baking chips with a spoonful of shortening, filled some decorator's bags, and piped the mixture onto the chilled cakes in various designs.

Fun, delicious, and a good Valentine's Day treat!

Tres Leches Cake

Ree Drummond (otherwise known as The Pioneer Woman) is one of the reigning queens of the internet (or should be), and her site has been one of my very favorites for as long as I can remember. This cake, though, transcends the "great recipe" category in my mental file and reaches the level of life-changing. And for a dessert that contains not a single bit of chocolate...that is a truly exceptional statement coming from me.

I followed the recipe almost exactly, except that rather than removing the cake from the pan after cooling, I loosened the edges but left it in the pan to more easily soak up the milk mixture. I know that cakes of this type are often served with fruit, and Ree tops hers with maraschino cherries, but I actually think it's truly perfect on it's own, with the slightly-sweetened whipped cream spread overtop.

I need another occasion to make this again. Soon!

Tres Leches Cake - recipe link - The Pioneer Woman