Thursday, September 27, 2012

Carrot Cake Petit Fours

It's hard to believe that my daughter Tricia's bridal shower was almost two weeks ago, and that just two weeks from this Sunday, she and Jeff will be married!  It's been a whirlwind of happy activity.  Today I ordered the silver cake stand that will showcase her wedding cake, and printed inspiration pictures for my next project -- their 3-tiered wedding cake (maybe 4, depending on the final numbers!). They are getting married in ultimate Adirondack style, at a beautiful setting on Brandt Lake at the peak of what appears to be a glorious fall foliage season, and their cake will be a reflection of that natural environment.  I don't want to give too much away, but it will be very "woodland-y" and that's all I can say about it right now.  There will be pictures after October 14th!

One of the highlights of Tricia's shower was a platter of carrot cake petit fours with cream cheese glaze.  These were my daughter Katie's creation, and they were wonderful little mouth-fuls of autumny goodness!  Here's the recipe Katie used for the petit fours, which were more of a carrot pound cake than a traditional cake (for the perfect texture):

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit

Prepare pan/s:  Use a half-sheet pan fitted with parchment paper to cover the bottom, or divide batter between two 9x13 cake pans. Spray parchment and sides of pan with cooking or baking spray.

Ingredients for cake:

1 carrot cake mix
1 box 4-serving size instant vanilla pudding
4 large eggs
1 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Mix cake ingredients together until completely blended (about 2 minutes on medium speed).  Pour batter into pan/s and spread evenly, it'll be about 3/4 inch in depth.  Bake for 20 minutes or until cake tests done.

Let cool completely.

With a very sharp knife, cut cake into squares about 1 1/4 inches wide.  Katie did this by making all the horizontal cuts (with a ruler as a guide) and then all the vertical cuts.  You will be able to use the edges as snacks, since they will not be level as evidenced in the photo below.  This made for happy family members who wanted to taste test (!).  All the interior squares can be moved to a wire rack, bottom side up (it's perfectly flat).  Leave enough space between squares for the glaze to be applied without touching each other, and make sure there's foil or parchment under the rack to catch drips.  There will be drips!

2 lb. bag confectioners sugar (about 9 cups)
8 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, added at the very end after you remove from heat (or you can use almond or lemon extract to taste - a little goes a long way - use maybe 1/2 teaspoon).

Combine ingredients with a hand mixer at very low speed in top of large double boiler (large pot over a little bit smaller pot of water works - just make sure it's stable).  Once all the ingredients are completely combined, allow to get hot over the double boiler, stirring in a few drops of hot water at a time if you need to thin the consistency to a pour-able state.  Remove from stove but keep warm over hot water.

To glaze, we let the mixture cool and then Katie and I used a pastry bag with a writing tip to coat the petit fours while they were on the wire rack.  You can do that, or you can spear each square with a fork over the glaze and with a large spoon pour enough glaze to cover (that seems awkward to me, and I worry about crumbs falling off the cake and into the glaze, and then getting it back on to the rack.  Piping is easier).  If you have freezer space, you can even freeze the squares and then glaze.  You have options.

Anyway, allow the newly-glazed squares to rest undisturbed (hours or overnight) for the glaze to set completely, and then decorate as desired.  We liked piping little carrots to give a hint about the flavor. Just think of the flavor combinations you could come up with - red velvet cake with cream cheese glaze, dark chocolate with peppermint glaze (leave out the cream cheese), yellow cakes with chocolate or strawberry glaze, chocolate with mocha glaze - the possibilities are endless. And these adorable little bites can be decorated for any occasion, so use your imagination!

Photos of the process:

Nothing quite so elegant as a petit four at a tea party!


  1. Love your stories and your recipes Jeannie!

  2. You are an amazing blogger. No wonder they profiled you in the Saratogian.

  3. All that good taste in such a small bite...delish

  4. They were so cute! So much love packed in those little bundles!

  5. They melted in your mouth. Loved the flavor of fall in these tiny delights. Have to say that the lemon scones were delicious also! Oh, heck, everything tasted wonderful!!! LOL

  6. Such elegant little treasures these are! And it's obvious at every step that they're made with love.