Category Archives: marzipan

White Almond Petit Fours

White Almond Petit FoursI’ve made petit fours for a couple of Easters over the last few years, and I think I might finally be getting the hang of them. These tiny, poured fondant-glazed cakes are a childhood favorite of mine, but past attempts to make them have driven me to dark places. When I tested the carrot cake version I had to take a day off of work to recover! It’s taken me two years to give petit fours another go, and while I expected some agony, these White Almond beauties were surprisingly fun and simple to make.

Don’t get me wrong—these are still a labor of love, but they weren’t backbreaking, day-ruining work this time, and I think I know why. I took my time, y’all. I didn’t rush a thing. Every step in this process was done when I had the time and energy. While you can certainly make these over the course of a single day, the batch pictured was assembled over four days with lots of down time. It was leisurely and practically luxurious as far as petit fours go.White Almond Petit FoursLet me lay it out for you. On Monday, I made the cake—a sprinkle-free, rectangular version of this white bundt recipe—and then refrigerated it. Tuesday is my long day every week, so nothing happened petit four-wise.

On Wednesday, I trimmed the cake, painted on an almond simple syrup, and adhered a thin sheet of marzipan to the top. Then I popped the whole thing back into the fridge.White Almond Petit FoursWhite Almond Petit FoursThe next day (Thursday), I trimmed the edges and cut the cake into 1 1/2-inch squares. Since marzipan is moldable, I scored my squares before slicing—it made the whole process super simple.

Next up, I made the poured fondant coating, which is really just melting a whole bunch of things together. Usually coating is my least favorite part of this process, but these weren’t much trouble. I think using cold, dense-crumbed bundt cake was the secret to my success here—it held together so well that I was able to coat these squares by dipping instead of fiddling with squeeze bottles.White Almond Petit FoursWhite Almond Petit FoursMy process went something like this. I stuck a fork in the bottom of a petit four and dipped it in the warm fondant, quickly moving the bowl around to cover the sides. Then I used another fork to help ease the petit four onto a rack to set before moving onto the next.* I had a few casualties, but the solution was to slightly reheat the fondant and keep going. Make no mistake, this was still a tedious process, but it’s nothing compared to the squeeze bottle nightmares of petit fours past! Are there a few crumbs on these little cakes? Sure! But perfection is the enemy of joy here. Also, toasted almond flowers are quite handy for hiding flaws. Aren’t they pretty? I’m obsessed.

*Here’s a video from another baker whose process is similar to my own.White Almond Petit FoursAs far as flavor goes, White Almond Petit Fours are sweet almond through and through! If you love marzipan, these are for you. The cake is dense and moist, the marzipan somehow both melts and remains distinct, and the fondant is almost too much…but it’s also not enough. I always need a second petit four.White Almond Petit FoursThe petit fours of my childhood were super-sweet so I love the intensity here, but if you need some sharpness to cut through all the almond, you could soak the cake in a lemon syrup, or torte and fill it with a layer of raspberry jam or lemon curd. For me though, it’s all about that moist sweet almond cake, especially when enjoyed cold from the fridge at midnight on Easter Day. Or any day, really. I’m not picky.White Almond Petit Fours

White Almond Petit Fours
makes about 35 1 1/2-inch petit fours

Cake:
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 16 pieces
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
3/4 cup full-fat sour cream, room temperature
1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature

Syrup:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract

Marzipan:
12 ounces prepared marzipan (not almond paste)

Poured Fondant:
2/3 cup hot tap water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
12 ounces white chocolate chips
2 pounds (7 1/2 cups) confectioners sugar

Garnish:
sliced almonds
~3 tablespoons poured fondant

This recipe is long and requires many steps and chills. Please read through carefully before beginning.

Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13-inch pan and line with parchment. Grease again. Set aside.

Make the cake. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, butter, egg whites, vanilla, almond extract, sour cream and milk in a large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to mix on low for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes. Batter will be thick.

Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth the top with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Tap full pan on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles. Bake 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Use a thin, flexible knife to release cake, and then remove to a rack. Allow to cool completely. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 2 days.

Remove cake from the refrigerator, unwrap and place on a cutting board. Use a serrated knife to trim the top so that it’s even and the crumb is exposed. Discard (eat!) the scraps.

Make the syrup. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly until sugar dissolves, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and almond extracts. Paint syrup all over the top of the cake. It will seem like too much, but it’s not.

Roll out the marzipan. Dust a surface and rolling pin with flour or confectioner’s sugar. Use your hands to form marzipan into a rectangle shape and place it on the surface. Use the rolling pin to roll marzipan into an 8×12-inch rectangle, lifting and turning it occasionally so it doesn’t stick to your surface.

Lay marzipan over the top of the cake so that the crumb is no longer exposed. Use rolling pin to roll over it lightly a few times to adhere. Wrap assembled cake tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for another 2 hours or up to a day.

Remove cake from the refrigerator to a large cutting board. Use a serrated knife to trim off crispy cake edges (about 1/4-inch on all sides). Slice cake into 1 1/2-inch squares. Freeze for 30 minutes while you prepare the poured fondant.

On a surface, place a cooling rack over a sheet of parchment.

Make poured fondant. In a liquid measuring cup, stir together hot water, light corn syrup, and vanilla.

Fill a small pot with 1-2 inches of water. Set a heatproof bowl over the top, ensuring that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Remove bowl and bring water to a simmer.

Place white chocolate chips in the heatproof bowl. When water simmers, place bowl back over the water. Whisk until melted. Alternate adding confectioners sugar and liquid ingredients, whisking constantly until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool a few minutes (it works best around 100F).

Working quickly, stab a fork into the bottom of on petit four. Gently lower it into the fondant and manipulate the bowl so that the sides get some coverage. Use another fork or an offset icing spatula to remove the petit four off the fork and onto the prepared cooling rack. Re-warm fondant as needed by placing it back over the double boiler for a few minutes. Here is a video for clarity.

This process may also be done by filling a squeeze bottle with fondant and using it to cover the the top and sides of each square. Use an offset icing knife to adjust sides as necessary. This may be done with a spoon as well, although a squeeze bottle is simpler.

Let poured fondant set for about an hour. Reserve any excess fondant for decorating.

To decorate, toast almonds in a 350F oven for 5-7 minutes, until fragrant. Let cool completely. When petit fours have set, warm excess fondant slightly and load into a piping bag. Snip off a small corner and dot about a dime-size blob on top off one petit four, then immediately arrange five almond slices as a flower. Continue with remaining petit fours. Let set for another 20 minutes before serving.

Petit course may be served at room temperature or cold. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 7-10 days.

White Almond Petit FoursWhite Almond Petit Fours

Marzipan Cinnamon Rolls

Marzipan Cinnamon RollsThese Marzipan Cinnamon Rolls were not the plan. They weren’t even Plan B (I rarely have a Plan B–I’m not that organized).

Last week, while I was hanging out with my old friend, Erin, I definitely had sweet rolls on the brain, but they weren’t these. I had big plans for Banana Pecan Sticky Buns. The second Erin left to head back to Boston, I whipped up a batch of caramel, toasted some pecans, made a yeast dough and filled it with a cinnamon-banana filling. I let the rolls rise and baked them until golden. I inverted the pan, plated a roll for myself, and…I burnt the caramel. All that work and anticipation and I went and burnt the dang caramel. And I was fresh out of overripe bananas.

Marzipan Cinnamon RollsI did get one thing right with those failed sticky buns–I finally made a yeast dough that I love. I’ve liked my past attempts, but I am all about this new dough of mine. Whole milk and an extra egg yolk make it rich and flavorful, but soft and fluffy enough that eating one roll doesn’t make you feel like you’ve had a brick for breakfast. Knowing I had to get this new dough of mine on this blog ASAP, I rifled through my “special occasion” ingredients until I found a forgotten can of marzipan, an almond paste that is usually reserved for being shaped like fruit or for cake decorating. After a few minutes of debating if almond paste would actually “go” in a sweet roll, I came to my senses. Almonds and cinnamon are magnificent together. Paired with that new dough and an almond glaze, I knew I had a winner on my hands.

Marzipan Cinnamon RollsY’all, these rolls. They’ve got everything you love about classic cinnamon rolls, but with all the sweet almond-scented magic of marzipan. And thanks to instant yeast, they’re easy to make. 

Yes, I just said working with yeast is easy. I know many home bakers are intimidated by it, but it’s really no trouble at all once it’s been proven. The problem is that the proofing step is what scares people away. Instant yeast, however, takes away the need for proofing, making yeast-based recipes just as easy as those made with baking powder and baking soda. Just whisk a packet of instant yeast into your dry ingredients–it’s that easy.
Marzipan Cinnamon RollsMarzipan Cinnamon RollsAnother great thing about instant yeast? It eliminates the need for two long rises. Once your dough is nice and smooth, it needs just ten minutes of rest before it can be filled. Instant yeast still requires one rest, but it’s only an hour–just enough time to have that second cup of coffee, apologize to your significant other/roommate/visiting friend, make another pot, and fall into a Wikipedia hole. Before you know it, your Marzipan Cinnamon Rolls will be nice and puffy and ready to bake.

Marzipan Cinnamon RollsOnce your rolls are golden brown, drizzle a quick glaze over the top, sprinkle on some toasted almonds, and grab a plate and eleven of your closest friends. Trust me, you’ll need them. I ate two of these while they were still warm, took a gazillion photos of them, and then put an announcement on Facebook that I was giving away Marzipan Cinnamon Rolls to anyone who asked. My neighborhood friends are used to me doing stuff like that by now, so I spent Sunday evening running around delivering cinnamon rolls. The friends that tried them immediately understood why I couldn’t keep the whole batch in the house. They’re that good.Marzipan Cinnamon Rolls

Marzipan Cinnamon Rolls
makes 12 rolls

Dough:
1 3/4-2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup bread flour*
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast (I use Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise Yeast)
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3/4 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, beaten, room temperature

Filling:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
8 ounces marzipan
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract (optional)

Garnish & Glaze:
1/2 cup slivered or chopped almonds
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract

Grease a 9×13-inch rimmed baking pan. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, bread flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat whole milk and butter until hot to the touch, about 115F. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in milk mixture, followed by egg and yolk. Add more all-purpose flour until dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Knead 5-6 minutes before forming into a ball and placing in an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.

Make the filling. In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to mash together butter and marzipan. Mash in sugar, cinnamon, salt, and optional almond extract. Set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into an 8×14-inch rectangle. Drop filling over the dough by the spoonful. Use an offset knife or spoon to spread filling mixture over the dough, using a 1/2-inch perimeter on all sides. Starting with the long edge furthest from your body, tightly roll filled dough toward you, smoothing any seams with your thumbs. Slice dough into 12 rolls. Place rolls close together in prepared pan. Cover the pan with aluminum foil. Place covered pan in a warm, draft-free place* for 60-90 minutes, until rolls have doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 375F. Uncover rolls. Bake 25-30 minutes, recovering the rolls with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly.

While rolls are baking, prepare the garnish. Place almonds in a dry skillet. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until nuts are fragrant and slightly browned, 5-8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool.

Make the glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together confectioners sugar, salt, heavy cream, vanilla, and almond extract. Drizzle over baked rolls. Scatter toasted almonds over the top. Serve warm.

Marzipan Cinnamon Rolls are best served the day they are made, but will keep at room temperature for a day or so.

Notes:

1. If you do not have or do not wish to use bread flour, you may use an equal volume of all-purpose flour. The texture will be slightly different, but your rolls will still be delicious.


2. I preheat my oven to 200F, turn it off, and slide the covered pan inside. After 60-90 minutes, my rolls are ready to bake. Works every time.

Marzipan Cinnamon Rolls

Marzipan Bundt Cake

 I have so much baking stuff, it’s kind of insane. Sure, there are the pans and bowls and spatulas, but those are necessary in my line of work. The mix-in cabinet, however, is not. Yes, I have an entire cabinet that is just chocolate chips (nine pounds of them!), candy, nuts, and dried fruit. What can I say? I like to have options.

The problem is, I often forget about what I have. That’s how I ended up with three pounds of raisins. I really should keep an Excel spreadsheet. 

Long story short, I was looking for some granola mix-ins on Sunday night and ran across a leftover can of marzipan. I had bought it when I made Marzipan Cookies six weeks ago, and then put it in the cabinet to be forgotten about forever. I probably wouldn’t have noticed it except that it was leaning precariously on top of the package of dates that I needed. 

That got me thinking…what am I ever going to do with a can of marzipan? Make more cookies? I rarely repeat a recipe once it’s done testing. I could make little marzipan fruits? My motor skills leave something to be desired. And then, it came to me. Cake. 

After last week’s Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Oreo Buttercream, I really didn’t need anymore cake right that minute, but I grabbed my mixer anyway and got to work. I beat together butter, marzipan, and sugar. Next came some sugar a bunch of eggs, some vanilla and almond extracts, and a mixture of milk and sour cream, just to keep everything moist. I sifted in some flour, cornstarch, leaveners, and salt, beat it all together, and poured it into a bundt pan.

Forty-five minutes later, I removed the most beautiful, golden cake from the oven, and not being one to leave well enough alone, I mixed up a quick vanilla glaze and toasted some almonds. Not long after, I was eating cake in my pajamas and wondering why I don’t keep more marzipan on-hand because OMG this cake is everything.

 

 Seriously, I can’t say enough good things about this Marzipan Bundt Cake. It’s easy enough to be whipped up on the fly on a Sunday night. The batter is so gorgeous, I can’t even describe it. The word “luscious” comes to mind, but that doesn’t do it justice. Let’s just say that if I had the capability on here, there would be a looping video of it being poured into the pan. #bakingnerd 

And the flavor. Oh my word. If you are a fan of marzipan at all, make this cake. The sweet almond flavor is amazing, and the moist, dense-crumbed texture is just delightful. Oh, and the glaze. I love a good glaze, and this vanilla one perfectly offsets the intense almond flavor. The toasted slivered almonds are totally optional, of course, but their crunchiness contrasts very well with the softness of the cake.

Just…make this cake. And be sure to grab an extra can of marzipan at the store–this recipe is one you’ll want to repeat. 

 Marzipan Bundt Cake
makes one 12.5 cup capacity bundt pan*

For the Pan:
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil (I like canola)

Cake:
1/2 cup sour cream (not fat free), room temperature
1/2 cup milk (not skim or fat free), room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
8 ounces marzipan (about 3/4 cup)
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon pure almond extract*

Garnish and Glaze:
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F.

Prepare the pan. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together flour and neutral-flavored oil. Use a pastry brush to paint the mixture onto the entire inside of a bundt pan. Make sure to cover every crevice. Pour out any excess. Set pan aside.

Make the batter. In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together sour cream and milk. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together butter and marzipan until fluffy. Beat in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, combining completely after each addition. Mix in vanilla and almond extracts, followed by sour cream/milk. Add dry ingredients in three installments, mixing on low after each addition. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to scrape down the bowl as necessary.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Tap full pan on the counter ten times. Bake for 40-50 minutes, covering the top with foil at the 25 minute mark. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted in several places comes out clean.

Let cake cool in the pan on a rack for fifteen minutes. Run a small, thin knife around the outer edges of the pan. Place a cooling rack upside-down on top of the pan. Holding onto both the rack and the pan, carefully flip the cake onto the cooling rack. Allow cake to cool completely. 

Make the garnish. Preheat oven to 400F. Place slivered almonds on a baking sheet. Toast for five minutes, or just until fragrant. Do not let them burn. Let cool to room temperature.

Make the glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together confectioner’s sugar and salt. Add four tablespoons of heavy cream and the vanilla, and whisk until combined. Add more cream by the tablespoon until the desired consistency has been reached.

Drizzle cooled cake with glaze, and scatter with toasted slivered almonds. Glaze will begin to set within 20 minutes, and will set completely after a few hours.

Cake will keep covered at room temperature for up to three days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Note:

This recipe may also be split into two 9×5″ loaf pans, although I am unsure of the bake time.

Marzipan Bundt Cake