Sweets of Paris

Mes Amis,

In just six months I return to Paris. In honor of this great city, I am making petit fours this holiday season to share with my cookie exchange friends. Each year for the past 15 years we have exchanged cookies during the holidays.

Full Disclosure: I have never made petit fours before. Actually, I have never made a cake from scratch before. But I’m up for the challenge and excited to bake these elegant little cakes. The recipe says you can used pound cake purchased from the store but that seems like cheating . Afterall, how hard can it be?

Professional petit fours

I found a recipe online.
• Petit Four Ingredients
o 2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
o 1 cup sugar
o 2 cups flour
o 2 teaspoons baking powder
o 1/2 cup milk
o 5 tablespoons melted butter
o Butter and flour for pan
• How to Make Petit Four Cakes
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Butter and flour a jelly roll pan.
3. Beat the eggs, yolks, and sugar until light and fluffy. This should take about 10 minutes with an electric mixer.
4. Sift the flour and baking powder over the egg mixture.
5. Add the milk.
6. Fold the flour and milk into the egg mixture gently.
7. Add the melted butter and combine until well blended.
8. Spread the batter in the pan, and bake for 12-15 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
9. Turn the cake out onto a cutting board, and cool completely.
10. Cut the cake into squares, rectangles or triangles.

OK first I assemble my ingredients.

My ingredients are neatly assembled

I start beating the eggs, yolks and sugar for ten minutes but the phone rings, it’s my friend Anne and when I pick up the phone I have an accident and drop the blender on the floor. I wash it off and now have lost track of time.

Blender on the floor, quelle disaster!

So I start over timing the blender ten minutes until the batter is “light and fluffy.” I’m not sure what light and fluffy looks like but when it sort of looks like meringue I stop beating.

Light and fluffy

I add the flour but don’t have a sifter so I just dump it in. Someone in my family has taken my measuring spoons so I use a plain old teaspoon to measure the baking powder. Then I add the milk and butter but the batter looks like the texture of fudge. I watch a YouTube video by a professional baker for assistance.

The professional baker says this recipe makes a very dense cake batter—mine is the texture of fudge. So I must be o.k. I try to spread the batter onto the pre-floured jelly roll tray but there isn’t enough batter. I’ll be cutting off the edges so I guess this doesn’t really matter, I just spread it as far as it will go and cross my fingers. While the cake bakes I watch the YouTube video. Comments posted about the video complain that the chef touches the fondant (what I call frosting) but these are germaphobes. So what if I dropped the blender, I washed it thoroughly. I’m sure the chef washes his hands.

Beautiful cake

The next step is to turn the cake onto a cutting board and cool. But the YouTube chef says to freeze the cake to make it easier to cut. Stay tuned tomorrow when I return to cut my petit fours. (I tasted a sample piece of cake and so far…delicious!)

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