Delicate Orange Fondant Fancies
If you have always wanted to make fondant fancies but were put off by tales of how 'difficult' they are to make, do try my much easier recipe and technique. No need for fondant icing or crumb coating each individual cake - the secret is to freeze the sponge so that is is nice and firm before starting on the icing.
These pretty, delicately orange-y cakes can be adapted to any flavour you like – substitute orange for lemon zest, if you prefer, or try floral flavours such as rose water or lavender.
If you can, give yourself plenty of time. The cake only needs to freeze for about two hours, but you can bake it days in advance if you want to – just wrap in clingfilm until you need it.
A microwave is useful to loosen the glacé icing, although you could certainly improvise with a bain marie if you prefer. Try to prepare a little for the decorating process: set up a work station near both freezer and microwave as you are likely to find yourself travelling between the two quite regularly. Work in small batches of 3 or 4 cakes at a time, leaving the remainder in the freezer until you need them. Finally, make sure you have a slotted spatula, mini palette knife and soup ladle to hand so you can can grab them when you need them.
Chopping board/portable flat surface
Large sharp knife
For the cakes:
4 free-range eggs
200g caster sugar
200g baking margarine/softened butter
240g self-raising flour
zest of one small orange
2tbs whole milk
For the decoration:
Small quantity of buttercream
500g icing sugar
7 tbs orange juice (the juice of the zest orange plus extra)
2 drops orange essence
Small quantities of white and orange glacé icing for drizzling
15cm diameter greaseproof paper circles (x16)
Ribbon of your choice (at least 6.5 metres)
16 small cakes
50 minutes in the oven
60 minutes decorating time
To bake the cake:
1. Preheat the over to 150 degrees Celsius (307 degrees Fahrenheit).
2. Cream caster sugar and margarine, add the eggs and orange zest and mix again. Finally add the flour and milk, mix thoroughly and spoon into a lined 20cm square cake tin.
3. Bake for 20 minutes, turn the tin 180 degrees and bake again for a further 20 minutes. The cake may need another 10 minutes or so until golden brown, risen and springy to the touch.
4. Allow the cake to rest in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto the rack to cool completely.
5. When cool, level the cake so that it is as flat as possible then rest on a flat surface, such as a chopping board, wrap in cling film and freeze for at least two hours.
To decorate the cakes:
1. Remove the cake from the freezer and use a large sharp knife to cut the cake into 16 equal square mini cakes before replacing the clingfilm and returning to the freezer.
2. Ensure that the buttercream is very soft then place into a piping bag fitted with the large open nozzle. Pipe a neat blob in the centre of each small square cake, using the mini palette knife to tamp down any peaks formed, so that the blob is smooth and domed. Return the cakes to the freezer.
3. Prepare the glacé icing by placing the icing sugar, orange juice and orange essence in a large glass measuring jug or microwavable bowl and mixing thoroughly.
4.Position a wire cooling rack close to the slotted spatula and soup ladle and bring 3 or 4 cakes out of the freezer ready for icing.
5.Warm the icing mixture in the microwave for 5-10 seconds until the mixture is nicely fluid and tap the jug on the work surface to burst any bubbles.
6.Place the first cake on the slotted spatula, fill the ladle with icing and then pour it over the cake. Tilt the cake this way and that to cover the top as much of the sides of the cake as possible, then use a mini spatula to slide the cake onto the wire rack to dry off for a couple of hours or overnight.
7. Prepare two coloured batches of glacé icing (I left one white and coloured the other a delicate shade of orange) and transfer into disposable piping bags. Snip off the ends of the bags and drizzle each in zig-zag patterns over the tops of the cakes. Decorate with white sprinkles.
8. When dry, place each cake onto the centre of a 15cm greaseproof circle and 'scrunch' the paper upwards and around the cake, securing with a length of ribbon (about 40cm works best) tied in a bow at the front. Package in a cake box or basket and keep at room temperature until serving.
• Work quickly during the cutting and piping stage, returning the cakes to the freezer swiftly so that they don't defrost.
• Try to only just one ladle full of icing to cover each cake as the finish will be neater.
• When covering the cakes, hold them over the icing bowl to catch the drips.
• Decorate with sprinkles as soon as possible as the glacé icing loose its stickiness quickly, which means sprinkles bouncing onto your clean kitchen floor!