french fancy recipe

Lemon French Fancies

By JR, April 27, 2013

I’ve been saying for weeks (months, years actually) that I should try my hand at my own take on popular cakes/desserts. I think everyone at some point in their life will do something like this, it’s inevitable. I will wager that it’ll also be for one of the following reasons too:

1) You’re sick of the same flavours of shop bought treats, and want to tailor a popular classic to your tastes.
2) You want to surprise somebody with a birthday/anniversary/celebration with their favourite sweet with a little more love.
3) Bakesale or charity fundraising, and somebody needs to make the cake.
4) You want to flaunt your inner domestic god(/dess) and impress somebody.
5) You have an afternoon free and you want some cake.

Mine was the latter, maybe I went a little overboard for personal treats, they did take an awful long time. Paired with the fact that I’ve just bought loads of food colour pastes and I was dying to try them out.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, fondant fancies are little squares of sponge, usually vanilla, which is covered in a small blob of butter cream and covered with icing and chocolate. I went for the traditional drizzle pattern, but I didn’t fancy the chocolate so I just stuck with a slightly darker coloured icing.

I’ll keep it short though, if you want to do flavoured sponge, be my guest. I went for lemon, because I had unwaxed lemons I needed to use, but it honestly doesn’t matter as long as you pick complementing flavours.

Fondant Fancies
1 square sponge cake. I used my lemon drizzle sponge, which was pretty yum (which you can find >here<).
1kg box of icing sugar (I didn’t use all of it but it’s good to have spare)
3 or 4 tablespoons salted butter
1 scant tsp of vanilla.
Rind of 1 lemon, finely grated
Gel food colouring of choice (I went for violet and electric blue)

– Make sure that when you bake your sponge, you flatten the mixture down in the pan so it doesn’t rise unevenly. It shouldn’t be too much of a problem in a big pan but still. And let it cool completely. Don’t be impatient with this, it needs to be ‘Steve Austin’! Make it the day before if you can. Plus, the slight staleness will be your friend when you cut it up.
– Cut the cake into equal squares, you can chop off the darker edges of the cake if you like, chef’s treats and all that. And leave the squares on the cooling rack!
– I’m quite lazy with butter cream, if i’m honest, I don’t whip it up until it’s light at fluffy, I basically stir everything together until I get the texture I want. Shameful of me, I know! Stir the butter, vanilla and lemon rind (if you’re doing a lemon batch like I did) into the butter, and slowly keep adding icing sugar until you get a consistency that sticks to the spoon without falling off. If it’s too runny, it’ll slip off the top of the cake once you start to spoon over the icing (which happened a little on my blue set of cakes!).
– You can pipe it on top of the squares if you like, or you can spoon it on the top and flatten it down with a finger that’s been dipped in water, to help round it off a little bit. For the sake of aesthetics, you know how it is.
– Leave the butter cream to form a slight crust in the open air while you’re prepping the icing.
– Empty about 3/4 of the remaining icing sugar into a bowl, and start adding water in tablespoons, stirring between each one. It’s important to do it in small intervals because it’s harder to remedy icing that’s too runny.
– When it’s a really thick consistency, think the texture of acrylic paint, divide it between two bowls. Then get a third smaller bowl, and take out 3 or 4 tablespoons from each half and put it in the small bowl. So you end up with two relatively equal big bowls and one smaller bowl.
– Add food colouring to both big bowls, to make a light pastel colour (or whatever colour you want to use) until it’s just right. Then, using the same colouring, dye the smaller bowl a darker shade of the same colour.
– Add a teaspoon of water to the one big bowl until it’s a little thinner, and keep adding it in bits until it’s almost runny. Not water-runny, but runny icing.
– Put down some newspaper, and put a baking try under the cooling rack you’re working on.
– Drizzle the runny icing over the top of all of the cakes, spreading it along the sides of each one if it doesn’t quite coat it well. And leave them to dry. It’s quite common to do this in baking, it’s like a smaller version of a crumb crust. The thicker icing gives a better finish, but it can drag loose crumbs off the outside of each little square, so using the thinner one helps.
– Once dried, spoon over the thicker icing, you might need to “encourage” it to run all over the cake, by smoothing it with the back of a spoon. It’s kinda messy, but easier than dipping I found.
– Once the thicker icing’s dried, pop your darker coloured icing in a piping bag, and drizzle a lovely little pattern over your cakes, and you’re sorted!

What do you think?

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