Apologies for my absence, I’ve been a little under the weather and I was also away on a make-up course. So, now I’m back to let you know how my French Fancies came out as part of my Petit Fours series this summer. This was my second attempt at French Fancies and they still came out a little wonky though. I think I may nail it the third try (third time’s a charm right?). I took the recipe from Deb over at Maple Spice, I followed it to the letter the first time, then made some changes the second. As I said, I think I’ll nail it the third time as there are a few further tweaks I would make, I will add the notes on these at the end. In the meantime, happy baking :)
250ml soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
30g vegan margarine (I used Pure)
140g soft brown sugar
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
Line a 11″ x 7.5″ Jelly Roll / Swiss Roll tin with baking paper and set aside.
Pre-heat your oven to 180’c
1) Combine the cider vinegar and soy milk in a glass or plastic bowl (not metal as it may give your ‘buttermilk’ a slight metallic tang). Set aside to curdle.
2) Mix together the spread and the sugar, add in the vegetable oil and the vanilla extract.
3) In a separate bowl sift together all of fine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, bicarb), then stir through the sea salt.
4) Alternatively stir in the dry ingredients and your ‘buttermilk’. Be careful not to over mix.
5) Pour into the jelly roll tin and bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes. The sponge should be light golden and have a firm spring when touched.
6) Turn out the sponge once slightly cooler. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for about an hour. This will firm up the sponge in preparation for cutting into our little cubes.
For the filling /top
2 Tbsp shortening (I used Trex)
2 Tbsp of vegan spread (again, I used Pure)
100g icing sugar
1/2 Tsp vanilla extract.
Raspberry jam (smooth)
Marzipan (about a fist sized chunk)
Icing sugar (for dusting the work surface)
7) While the sponge is chilling, prepare your butter cream filling by simply mixing all the ingredients well until fluffy. Put this in the fridge also to firm up.
8) Take the sponge from the fridge, unwrap and cut the crusty sides off so you get a nice neat rectangle (nom the crusts). Cut the sponge in half (I’m a bit finicky so I used a ruler to get mine exact).
9) Spread one half with a thin layer of butter cream and the other with a thin layer of jam. Place one on top of the other and press down gently. Ensure that they fit nicely and that you still have a neat rectangular shape.
10) Sprinkle icing sugar onto your work surface (ensure that it is completely dry first) and roll out your marzipan so it is big enough to cover the top of your sponge. Spread a very thin layer of jam over the top of your sponge to make it sticky. Gently lay the marzipan on top and trim off the excess at the sides.
11) Mark out your 1″ squares on the marzipan and with a ruler and a long, sharp knife cut out your cubes. Be sure to wipe the knife between each slice as it will get covered in butter cream and jam. Put your cut cubes into the fridge while you mix up your fondant.
6 Tbsp of hot water
Pink food colour gel
Yellow food colour gel
Tube of white icing
Tube of chocolate incing
(make sure you check that all colourings and pre-mixed icings you use are vegan).
12) Measure out 125g of fondant icing sugar per colour/flavour. In one, add just a touch of yellow gel colouring (I use the tip of a chopstick for this) and the lemon juice. Stir in the hot water until you get a thick yet pourable icing. Do the same for the others but adding cocoa for the chocolate fondant and pink colouring gel and vanilla extract for the pink fondant.
13) Remove your cubes from the fridge. Set them out on a wire rack over a baking tray. Gently pour the fondant over each cube, being sure to cover all sides. You can re-use fondant that falls onto the tray below. Cover each colour separately so not to get the icings mixed together.
14) Put the now covered cubes back into the fridge and allow to set for 30-45 minutes. Once set you can pipe little squiggles over the top of each French Fancy to decorate. I used chocolate on the yellow and pink ones and white on the chocolate ones. And enjoy!
a) I would use either jam or butter cream in the middle rather than both, as they slid over each other making the sponge unstable, even after chilling for quite some time to firm the butter cream up.
b) I would also use a much thinner spreading of the filling to also reduce the amount of sponge slippage.
c) I will probably cut the cubes 1 1/2″ or 2″ next time, this will also make them more stable.
d) I will also place each cube on a fork over each bowl of fondant and pour over the fondant. I believe this will give a more even coverage, reduce fondant wastage and also be a little less messy. I couldn’t put the ones I made this time onto a fork as they were just too small and unstable to stay on.