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Feb 1, 2010 10:32 PM

Making Petit fours without layers or filling.

I would like to make petit fours for the first time. The ones I really like are square pieces of cake without any layers or filling. I would like to know of the type and size of pan they should be made in since they aren't going to be in layers and also how to make them into squares? Are cookie cutters used? If so what size? I am trying to figure out if sponge or pound cake would be best to make so they are nice and moist sponge or pound cake. Also what kind of frosting, tip type and size are used to decorate the top. Please simplify this process if possible. Thanks.

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  1. OK-
    The petit four base is usually a sponge or genoise, often almond flavored. If you're not going to fill them or brush on a flavored syrup, a pound cake would be fine.

    If you bake the batter in a 12 x 16 x 2 sheet pan, you'll get the depth you want without layering and there will no need to split the cake horizonally. A rectangular or square pan cake pan, 8 x 8 x 2 for example, is more economical than a round pan; you'll be able to use most of the cake, unless you've chosen a odd-shaped cutter.

    You can use cookie cutters, such as small diamonds, squares, rounds, hearts, but I cut the squares with a serrated knife, measuring off the size I want, marking the cake at the pan edges, before cutting. A ruler or rigid measuring tape comes in handy. It takes a bit of an eye and a steady hand. Bite size, one-half inch is the general rule. Think sweet and petite.

    Pouring fondant is the type of icing you use on petit fours. The fondant really needs something under it to make it adhere to the cake, like apricot glaze or buttercream. Tip style is what you want for your desired decorating effect; leaf, round, star, it's up to you. A small tip would be the size choice. You can purchase small sets of basic tips, or buy them individually. #1, #2, #4, and #5 tips should get you started but I'd ask the professional where you buy your cake decorating supplies.

    See this reliable link for more tips, tricks, hints, decorating suggestions, etc:

    A link with sponge and pouring fondant recipes and assemble instructions, some photos:

    I offer these links as a example; you may find info and links more appropriate for what you want to accomplish. Google petit fours.

    5 Replies
    1. re: bushwickgirl

      Thank you for your help. The petit fours I have had are white cake. I will search the websites you suggested and if you can offer any additional help I would appreciate it.

      1. re: tantan

        OK, just post here if you have more questions. I'll be sure to check this thread periodically. Hope I've helped.

        1. re: bushwickgirl

          Yes you have helped me. The petit fours I like are always square white super moist cake with white icing. So I am not sure the pound cake would be the right thing. Also are there cutters similar to cookie cutters to cut the petit fours in squares I am not very talented in this area. Thanks for your time and assistance.

          1. re: tantan

            Petit four cutters are available through a cake decorating supply, Amazon, and cookware stores like Willams Sonoma and Sur la Table.

            1. re: tantan

              Your pouring fondant will be white.
              For the cake you'll want a white cake recipe that calls for egg whites only, no yolks that'll tint the cake even a bit yellow, and use clear vanilla for flavoring, rather than the brown extract, although it's not totally necessary. The extra butter in a white cake recipe makes up for the lack of fat from the egg yolk and the cake flour will give a tender crumb. I suspect that the cakes you've had were brushed with a flavored syrup before being iced, which is a common procedure with petit fours and makes the cakes quite moist.
              I have a link here to show you a sample recipe (although this one looks quite basic and ok:)


              Here's another recipe for comparison, which is also very nice and pretty easy:

              18 tablespoons (2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
              4 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising) plus more for pans
              1 1/2 cups whole milk, don't sub anyother % of milk
              9 large egg whites, lightly beaten
              1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
              1/2 teaspoon almond extract
              2 tablespoons baking powder
              1 1/2 teaspoons salt
              2 1/4 cups sugar

              1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour three 9-by-2-inch round cake pans, tapping out excess flour; set aside.
              2.In a medium bowl, stir together, milk, egg whites, and extracts. Into a second medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
              3.In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds. With machine running, gradually add the sugar. Continue beating until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl as necessary.
              4.Add one-third of the flour mixture and one-third of the milk mixture, and beat on low speed until just incorporated. Add remaining flour and milk mixtures in 2 separate batches beating between additions to fully incorporate. Scrape down sides of bowl, and stir by hand to finish.
              5.Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Smooth surface with a rubber spatula. Bake until top of cake springs back when lightly pressed and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
              6.Let cakes cool in pans on wire racks for 5 minutes. Run a small metal spatula around the sides of the pan, and invert cakes onto greased racks. Reinvert cakes onto cooling rack. Let cool completely before filling.

              The above recipe will fill a 12 x 16 x 2 sheet pan half full twice over, for a double batch, but you might not want your cakes to be so high. Filling the pans by less than half will give you a thinner layer. You will want something around 1" thick. If you do a tinner layer, keep an eye on the cake in the oven, as it will bake quickly.

              For the cutters, I like Sur La Table, as Maxie recommended and Amazon has the best deal on them, $$-wise. Williams Sonoma does not carry them. If you're located in NYC, go to or call Bridge Kitchenware, or you could probably get them from a restaurant/bakery supply house. Using cutters will make your life much easier, plus you can get some nice shapes.