With our cakes and filling prepared, we can now move forward with cutting, filling, and stacking our petits fours. While these next steps may look a little intimidating, they aren’t.
You will want to start by pulling out one your frozen cakes (two if your are making these for a large group). It needs a good 15 minutes to thaw.
In the meantime you will need to pull out some hardware: a cookie sheet to place your cakes, a cookie/biscuit cutter to cut your cakes, a serrated knife to cut the layers, and a pastry brush.
Don’t forget you can reference the King Arthur post on these as well.
Alright, let’s get into this.
Take your cake and with a serrated knife, gently remove the top crust of the cake. Try not to cut out too much of the cake, nor cut off your hand in the process.
Now this is where I had an interesting challenge with the unevenness of my cakes. While you can use this step to level out some of your cake, mine were so uneven that I would have ended up losing a significant amount of cake. So at the suggestion of Will, I decided to keep the curves and salvage as much cake as possible. Besides, it gave my petits fours some character.
Can you tell I’m a noob at this stuff? You don’t have to worry about removing the sides of the cake as the cutter get right up to the edge of it. Now you can remove the bottom crust of the cake, I chose not to as it would be covered up with the icing (and on the bottom for that matter), but in hindsight, it did produce a bit more crumbs. It’s up to you.
Now, to cut these babies out, I used a 1 1/2 inch round cutter from a set of graduating ring cutters I have. It is pretty deep, about 1 3/4 inches from top to bottom. This where you can get real creative with whatever shapes you want.
And then keep going round.
Once all the way around, move into the center.
You should end up with about 19 small cakes. I say about because one round resulted in 19 and the other I got 20. It’s all in how you cut them and how big your cutter is.
Now we have to create the layers. I took one cake, laid it on its’ side and cut it into threes. Like so.
Then holding the cake together with one hand (I didn’t want to misalign the layers), I brushed away all the loose crumbs. Now you can place the cut cake on a cookie sheet and proceed to cut the layers for the rest of the cakes, or you can proceed to fill the cake you just cut layers into.
So moving forward with the filling. Set the stack cake down, and remove the layers so that they will re-stack in the same way they were cut. This isn’t as much of an issue when your cake is flat and even, but with my angular cakes I had to be very careful in how I re-stacked them.
Place about 1/8th – 1/4 tsp of your filling on the first layer. A word of caution, don’t over fill. If you do, the filling will ooze out a bit and be quite noticeable after icing.
Put the middle layer on top.
Add another 1/8th tsp of filling.
And place the top layer on top and press down to squish the layers together.
How do you know if you over filled a layer? Well it will look a bit like this.
But since we aren’t necessarily trying to be gourmet pastry chefs, it’s not that big of a deal. If anything, crumbs are your enemy, any chance you get to brush them away, do so!
Once you’ve finished cutting the layers, filling the cakes, and re-stacking them, throw them back in the freezer while you make the poured white chocolate fondant.