So the Great British Bake Off came back on to our screens a couple of weeks ago! This makes me very happy; the Bake off has to be my favourite program, and I tend to get very attached to the contestants. I love all the ‘drama’ that comes with it, it is so very British, as was demonstrated by the custard theft of this week’s episode!
This year my favourites have got to be Frances and Beca; Frances’ squirrel cake in week one was amazing, and I love all her creative ideas, especially the sugar-plum fairy petit fours. Beca’s petit fours also looked really yummy, and she is always so enthusiastic about her baking! I was inspired by her seriously cute baby macarons to make some for my own petit fours.
This week was dessert week, and having been inspired by the Bakers anonymous website (over at http://bakersanonymous.com/), I decided to try out a recipe from the show. So here is my recipe for one batch of cake-based petit fours, my biscuit ones will be in another post coming soon. They are quite time consuming to make, and I don’t know how the bakers managed to do it all in the time they were given. But they were fun to make and turned out very cute!
Lemon, almond and raspberry petit fours
For the lemon cake:
100g softened butter
100g caster sugar
Zest ½ lemon (keep the other half for the lemon curd)
75g self-raising flour
25g ground almonds
½ tsp baking powder
20 x 20cm square cake tin, lined with beking paper
For the lemon curd:
60ml lemon juice
60g caster sugar
Zest ½ lemon
1 egg yolk
60g butter, chopped into small pieces
For the mini macarons:
1 egg white
25g caster sugar
43g ground almonds
56g icing sugar
Red gel food colouring
Baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper
For the raspberry buttercream:
20g softened butter
75g icing sugar
For the lemon icing:
200g icing sugar
- First make the macarons. Put the ground almonds and icing sugar in a food processor and whizz until they are really fine, then sieve into a mixing bowl.
- Whisk the egg white in a bowl until they form peaks, but aren’t over mixed. Add the caster sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking in between every addition. Once you have added half the caster sugar, add a few drops of gel food colouring, until it is slightly darker than the colour you want the end result to be.
- Give the mixture a final whisk once you have added all the sugar, and then gently scrape it on top of the ground almonds.
- Gently, with a spatula or large metal spoon, fold the egg whites and almond mix together in a figure of 8 formation. Stop when your mixture is the same consistency as cake batter, and drops off your spoon, but is still thick.
- Fill a piping bag with this mixture and pipe lots of small circles onto your baking paper, about 3cm diameter.
- Then drop your tray onto the work surface from a height of about a foot. Do this a total of 3 times, then leave the macarons for an hour in a cool dry place, to gain a shiny shell-like coating.
- Now make the cake. Heat the oven to 180°C, then put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix with an electric whisk until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and cook for about 25 minutes, until the cake is golden and springy, then remove from the tin and cool.
- For the curd, bring a medium saucepan half filled with water to a gentle simmer, then put the egg, egg yolk, sugar, lemon juice and zest in a bowl over the water and whisk well.
- Keep the curd over the hot water, stirring continuously, until it thickens and coats your wooden spoon. Then remove from the heat and stir in the butter.
- Make the raspberry buttercream by putting all the ingredients into a food processor and whizzing until you get a fluffy pink icing.
- After the macarons have had half an hour to rest, preheat your oven to 160°C/Gas mark 3.
- After the hour of resting, put the macaron shells in the oven and bake for 2 minutes, then open and shut the oven door rapidly. Do this again twice, so they have 6 minutes in the oven in total.
- Remove the baking sheets from the oven and allow the macarons to cool completely before VERY gently removing them from the baking paper.
- Cut the edges off your lemon sponge, and then cut into 20 pieces. Sandwich with some lemon curd and leave to set for a little while.
- Fill your macarons with the raspberry buttercream and leave to set too.
- Make your lemon icing by adding just enough lemon juice to the icing sugar to create a thick but spoonable icing.
- Gently spoon some icing over each petit four, and top with a mini raspberry macaron.