Mini Blood Orange Cakes and Treat Petite Review
The pictures of little dainties in the book really do look rather appealing and I had airy and unrealistic visions of hosting elegant cocktail parties serving decorative sweet and savoury canape sized bites. As I turned the pages of the book, my dreams became even more grandiose: cinnamon meringues made to look like mushrooms, tiny French macarons, gold dusted caramel shortbreads, biscuits done up in ribbons, mini croquembouches and tiny little savoury tarts. How hard could it be?
I took one look at the page of basic tools and equipment and came back down to earth with a bang. Squeeze bottles to dispense exact amounts of liquid and to flood biscuits, piping tubes for dainty choux pastry, mini pastry brushes for dusting on edible lustre – I was starting to tremble. However, as I turned the pages, my breathing slowed and I realised this particular Cinderella might make it to the baking ball.
Treat Petite is divided into eight chapters and I was very glad to see that Chocolate was one of them. Strangely that was the first place I headed. I breathed a sigh of satisfaction; a book with a recipe for chocolate brownies with salted caramel frosting, could not be a bad one. And I was right, the recipes are interesting and sound tempting too. I have a particular abhorrence of pretty cakes that have the taste and texture of cardboard when you bite into them – all style and no substance. Chocolate cups with mango mousse reinforced my thoughts that the flavours and recipes used were not going to be run of the mill ones. Profiteroles with blue cheese mousse anyone? The other chapters were sensibly categorised: Sponges, Meringues, Pastry, Choux, Biscuits, Cupcakes and Savoury.
I found the forms these little treats took were also rather original. There is endless fun to be had with the coconut noughts and crosses, the noughts being one colour and the crosses another; cute square chocolate pastry cases filled with white chocolate ganache looked both rustic and chic at the same time; coffee bean biscuits which are the same shape and size as a coffee bean struck me as particularly wondrous. Part of me wanted to try making some immediately, but my more realistic side put a brake on things. I am not good at faffy activities and quickly lose patience.
The instructions are simple and easy to follow. I had a go at making chocolate cupcakes to celebrate Chocolate Log Blog’s 5th birthday. The only change I made was to add coffee to the mix rather than water. They were a great success and tasted delicious, although I used my own icing rather than the peanut butter one suggested in the recipe. The amount of mixture also gave the correct number of cakes stated, something I find is not always the case in baking books.
As these Treate Petites are all about the show, pictures are essential. Each recipe comes with enticing photographs on one side of the page, together with a handy picture showing the actual size of the final bake on the recipe side of the page.
All in all, I think this is a delightful little book. It has a hardback cover, is attractive and full of good ideas. Handy tips, such as making chai-spiced palmiers with leftover bits of puff pastry, are scattered throughout. If like me, you find dainty a little daunting, you can always scale up the sizes to make something a bit more substantial.
I hadn’t come across the author, Fiona Pearce, before, but this is apparently her second book and the about page declares that she “teaches cake-decorating classes at Cakeology in south-west London and has written and contributed to a number of baking and craft books and magazines”. She also has a number of cake decorating tutorials on her blog Icing Bliss for those keen to learn how to make sugar flowers, ruffles and other such fancy decorations.
Although I have a number of recipes bookmarked, I decided to go completely off piste with my bake for this post. The book was my inspiration, but I used my own recipe. I wanted to make some elegant mini sponges in the style depicted by the Miniature Victoria Sponges, but when it came to it, I couldn’t quite make them as tiny as 4-5 cm in diameter. I went for something a little more substantial, but still very dainty for me, 6 cm in diameter. I’d recently made some blood orange curd that I was keen to use and I of course had to get chocolate in somehow. I’ve found that white chocolate works brilliantly in baking and gives a bit of stability and richness without taking away from the lightness of the sponge. My downfall came when putting the cakes together. I had not got an even rise on the sponge, so most of the discs were slightly wonky; this meant that as soon as I put them together, the top started to slide off the bottom. This wasn’t helped by the curd being runnier than I expected, so the intended elegance was marred by something a little messier – it was more akin to Accident and Emergency. Hey ho, I was secretly pleased anyway.
I am entering these blood orange sponges into Treate Petite over at CakeyBoi. The theme this month is love and as I always bake with love and these were destined for both CT and friends, I’m hoping they count. This event is co-hosted by The Baking Explorer.
As orange, specifically blood orange was the main flavour used in these sponges, I am entering them into Victoria’s Feel Good Food over at A Kick at The Pantry Door.
I’m also sending these over to Javelin Warrior’s Cookin W/ Luv Made with Love Mondays. Everything was made from scratch, including the blood orange curd.
I was super excited to get hold of these luscious organic blood oranges which have such a short season and aren’t that easy to come by. This is the season, so I’m pleased to enter my blood orange curd into Simple and in Season over at Ren Behan.
Thrilled as I am with my blood orange curd, I am sending it off to Recipe of the Week with Emily over at A Mummy Too.
The theme for Family Foodies this month of February is Love of course and what could be more loving than making scrumptious tiny cakes for all to enjoy. This event is hosted this month by Louisa of Eat Your Veg and alternately with Vanesther of Bangers & Mash.
Thanks to Ivy Press for sending me a copy of Treat Petite. I was not required to write a positive review and as always all opinions are my own.
- 150g unsalted butter
- 400g golden granulated sugar
- 3 organic blood oranges – zest & juice
- 1 organic lemon – zest & juice
- 3 large eggs (I used duck eggs)
Total time: Yield: 4 small jars
- 50g white chocolate
- 100g unsalted butter
- 100g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs (I used duck eggs)
- 125g flour (I used half wholemeal spelt & half white)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ blood orange
- 100 ml double cream
- 2 tbsp blood orange curd
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6