Week 9 of The Great British Bake Off, the semi finals and Patisserie week, was a good one. I think it might be one of my favourites this series. I never imagined I’d be making Fondant fancies but I found myself in the kitchen with a ruler and a lot of sugar.
The 3 bakes this week were:
Signature: Savoury Palmiers
Showstopper: Fondant Fancies
Palmiers to those not in the know (that included me) are a biscuit made from puff pastry. That’s a no from me. I simply do not have the strength to roll out pastry and butter. A Savarin is a cake that includes yeast. It also requires a pretty intricate baking tin along with a bit of chocolate work, making a caramel, piping cream…..no.
So that left Fondant Fancies. Now I know that they involve a few processes but I actually enjoyed making these and am a little bit proud of the finished result.
I am slimming at the moment and so baking every week makes that quite hard. My way of managing this is to only make a small amount and so I adapted and halved Mary Berry’s recipe.
This is how I made Rainbow Fondant Fancies with a secret pot of ‘gold’.
First I made my cake batter. I used my gorgeous new Vonshef Mauve Stand Mixer from Domu. I used it last week but this week it was really tested and used for each stage. I have never owned a free standing mixer before and it made baking so much easier.
I baked the cake and left it to cool. Next, I made the butter cream and was excited to try the splash cover. It was perfect and unlike when I make buttercream with my hand mixer, there were no clouds of icing sugar when I began! I could also add the almond essence and milk without having to remove it.
When the cake was completely cold, I measured it and trimmed it before slicing it into 12 4cm x 4cm squares (sort of as some are a little wonky!)
Now it is time for the secret surprise. I call it the pot of ‘gold’. If you can find chocolate gold nuggets, thats what I was hoping to use but in the end I had to make do with mini chocolate smartie type sweets. I actually used an icing nozzle to gently cut out a cylinder of cake from the middle of each square. I then filled the hole with chocolate treasure, trimmed the piece of cake that I removed from the middle and then placed it back on top.
Then it was time to coat them with buttercream. I found that the best way to do it is to cover each side of the cake on one board, then, put a scrape of buttercream on the board I would like the cakes to dry on, place a cake on it and then cover the top of the cake with buttercream.
Whilst the icing dried a little (I’m not sure if you should ice them with fondant icing when wet or dry but this is what I did), I made the rainbows. I totally underestimated how long this would take but I loved the result.
I took pre made fondant in red, yellow, green and blue and then mixed to make orange and purple. I rolled them into thin lines – about the thickness of a cocktail stick and then lined them up next to each other. Next, I gently curved the strips to make a rainbow shape, trimmed and gently patted with a slightly wet finger, I used the water as glue to stick all the colours together and then left them to dry.
The next step is to make a liquid fondant icing.
Chop the block of fondant icing into small cubes and then using a paddle attachment if you have one, beat the fondant unit it starts to soften. Add the water, a few drops at a time, waiting for them to be combined properly until you add more. When you have a liquid smooth icing, add a small bit of food colouring and mix until the colour is mixed in properly.
Now it’s time to ice the cakes. I tried 3 different ways and the last was definitely the easiest.
First, I set a small jar inside a ramekin, placed a cake on top and then used a spoon to pour the fondant icing on top, the dribbles then being caught in the ramekin to reuse if I needed. When it had finished dripping, I used a pallet knife to move the cake to a cooling rack with a tray underneath.
The second technique was to gently put the cake on top of a fork and then again, use a spoon to pour the icing on top. This made me worry though as the cake wasn’t stable and felt like it might break off the fork.
Finally, I took my big pallet knife and balanced it across my mixing bowl with the fondant in. I then put the cake on the knife and spooned the icing on. I then slid a fork ‘onto’ the knife and scraped the excess off before using the fork to slide the cake onto the cooling rack to set. This was the easiest and most secure method of icing the cakes without a doubt.
Finally, after the fondant had had a minute or two to set, I placed the rainbows on top and left them to dry.
12 Fondant Fancies, done.
My son had been out walking the dog with my Mum when I placed the secret pot of ‘gold’ into the fancies and so I was eager to see his face when he tried one. Hs reaction was gorgeous.
I am so, so pleased with the way that these fondant fancies turned out and I hope you like them too.