Petits Fours Made Easy

These are the life of the party!

Make your party unforgettable!
Make your party unforgettable! | Source

You can try this at home!

They are homemade but look like they are from a bakery!
They are homemade but look like they are from a bakery! | Source

Entertain in Style

I love to have big dinners and parties. The most fun part to me is to plan the menu. I like to serve meals in courses and have an amazing dessert at the end. Even if you mess up dinner, if you have a terrific dessert - everyone will forget about any mishaps before it.

Proper etiquette is to keep the dessert hidden away and you do not place it on the table until after the dinner dishes have been whisked away. There is no better ending to a meal than presenting a beautiful and delicious treat to go with after dinner drinks or coffee.

"Petit Four" is singular. The word "Petits Fours" is plural.

Petits Fours are tiny little cakes that have been made since the 1700's. The literal meaning of "Petit four" in French is "small oven." French Patisseries (bakeries) would use the cooling down time of the huge brick ovens to make these tiny cakes. They didn't want to waste any energy so at the end of the day, as the coal powered ovens cooled they would utilize this period to make these confections.

These delicate little edlibles are delicious and the perfect bite sized confection to serve your guests or to take to a party. They can be simple to make or you can use your imagination to make intricate designs for memorable special occasions. You can make a couple for a romantic special occasion or you could make dozens for parties.

There are different categories of petits fours. They can be savory or sweet.

Enjoy a Visit to a French Bakery

Types of Petits Fours

There are different types of Petits Fours.

  • Petit Four Glace - these are the most common kind, most often made from layers of sponge or pound cake and jam filling. They are frosted or glazed. The traditional Petit Four has four layers though they are frequently made in one to two inch cubes.
  • Petit Four Sec - These are usually tiny filled cookes such as macaroons, madelines or meringues.
  • Petit Four Frais - usually cream filled such as tarts or mini eclairs.

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A tiny bite - with a huge taste!

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Pour the fondant.

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Being infatuated with everything French, I had to try to learn to make these little tiny cakes. Much to my surprise, they really are not that difficult. They can be very time consuming depending on how fancy they are made, and what fillers you use.

Petits Fours Glaces are the most common type of Petit Four. They can be covered in glazes, fondant or frosting. Fondant is the most common form of sugar covering to use for decorative Petit Fours. It can be made in your kitchen or purchased.

If you want to make your own fondant, a double boiler is the easiest method. However, if you do not have one, you can use an oven proof bowl and set it on top of a pan of water. Bring the water to a low boil and whip up the fondant in the bowl. The temperature of the fondant is best around 100 degrees fahrenheit. If the fondant gets too hot (it burns your hands and you will know it) take it off the heat. Rewarm the water if it gets too cool to pour smoothly. I have used this method and it is almost as easy as having a double boiler so don't be discouraged if you don't have one.

Sponge cake or pound cake are great choices for these cakes. They are dense and hold up well under the weight of the frosting. You can make your own, buy fresh or frozen Sara Lee.

There are so many ways to make these exquisite little cakes. This was the easiest way to prepare them in a residential kitchen.

Step by Step

If using fresh cake, freeze it for a few hours to make it easier to cut neatly. I wanted to show various shapes and sizes so I cut my cake shapes and then filled them with jam. If you want to make a large number in a more efficient manner, it would be best to cut the large cake into layers, cover them with jam or fill the layers then refreeze and cut the petits fours into even rows.

Chefs usually cover the entire cake with a layer of marzipan but I found it wasn't necessary although it is great tasting as well as beautiful.

Once the cake is filled and cut, freeze it for another couple of hours. It is so much easier to work with the poured fondant if the cake is frozen.

Heat the fondant and if you don't have a candy thermometer it is fairly easy to tell when the glaze isn't pouring nicely. A good rule of thumb is - if the frosting burns the thumb when it drips on it - it's too hot!

Pick the cake up with a toothpick and use a spoon to pour the melted fondant over the cake as you twirl the toothpick. Use a fork to gently lift the cake off of the toothpick and place it on a rack to dry.

Let the cakes cool for about an hour. Use a very sharp knife to help cut the bottom away from the rack. It wasn't difficult though, to remove the cakes when propery dried.

Freeze the cakes for a few hours or more before decorating.

When less is more.

Very simple design.
Very simple design. | Source

Working with rolled fondant.

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Mini Shape Cookie CuttersRolled and Colored FondantSpread buttercream frosting to help hold the fondant in place and wrap your shapes.Use a sharp knife to trim the edges and smooth seams together.Roll two thin ropes and twist them together for a simple but beautiful border.So simple to make a rose from fondant, just roll a flat strip of any size you like! Stop rolling when you love the size for your project.
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Mini Shape Cookie Cutters
Mini Shape Cookie Cutters | Source
Rolled and Colored Fondant
Rolled and Colored Fondant | Source
Spread buttercream frosting to help hold the fondant in place and wrap your shapes.
Spread buttercream frosting to help hold the fondant in place and wrap your shapes. | Source
Use a sharp knife to trim the edges and smooth seams together.
Use a sharp knife to trim the edges and smooth seams together. | Source
Roll two thin ropes and twist them together for a simple but beautiful border.
Roll two thin ropes and twist them together for a simple but beautiful border. | Source
So simple to make a rose from fondant, just roll a flat strip of any size you like! Stop rolling when you love the size for your project.
So simple to make a rose from fondant, just roll a flat strip of any size you like! Stop rolling when you love the size for your project. | Source

Create fun or elegant designs for any occasion.

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Rolled Fondant Petits Fours

Making rolled fondant petits fours seemed much more time consuming to me. They are more artful and I think that poured fondant looks great with piped frosting while rolled fondant looks good with either piped frosting designs or fondant decorations.

For an even simpler idea you could purchase pre-made candy flowers for cake decorating at any grocery store. These cakes are fun to make with the kids and playing with fondant is very similar to a clay or play dough substance.

If you want to spend more time, the sky is the limit and you can decorate award winning designs and flavors right in your own kitchen. As you can see, you can make them super simple or extremely detailed - either way they are so much fun and they make the table look gorgeous.

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"...the best poet is the man who delivers our daily bread: the local baker..." ~Pablo Neruda

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Comments 59 comments

cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 4 years ago from Western NC

YUM!! You make this look so easy and professional. You could like start a business doing these or something! Beautiful pictures! I will try making these sometime! Voted up/tweeted/pinned - fabulous article!!


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Absolutely beautiful! What an amazing hub.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Cyndi - thank you! Let me tell you - this is messy work and I sure would get bored doing it all the time. I love making stuff in my kitchen but only when I feel like it. I don't cook on demand:) lol lol I'd be a failure on an off day! haha

Thanks so much for sharing!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Ta Da! Thank you so much! They really are easy to make - and they look impressive. They are just kind of messy and time consuming. I did mine in steps to try to spread it out because I wanted to make a lot of different shapes and kinds so everyone could see how creative you can get for any occasion at all.

I love the layer cakes with the jam fillings best - after they are frozen - the fondant helps seal the moisture in the cake so they are so yummy!


mythicalstorm273 profile image

mythicalstorm273 4 years ago

Those look amazing! I've always wanted to make these, but have never had the time. I have never actually used fondant either and I've always wanted to try to use it for a pretty cake. I think you just gave me a brilliant idea of what to do for my next family event! Awesome job!


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina

WOW! My family would fall over if I made something this fancy. These are gorgeous, especially in the little boxes. I never knew how these were made. I think I will make some for the upcoming holidays. Excellent!


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

These are simply amazing! I tried making petits fours years ago, but they were not nearly so pretty and delicate as yours. I love the idea of making them into layers, and your presentation is just lovely. Thanks for all the wonderful instructions, ideas and photographs! Voted up and shared!


Mama Kim 8 profile image

Mama Kim 8 4 years ago

These are beautiful! I'm totally with you on having a great dessert ready after a dinner get together... sometimes I plan the dessert first then think of a meal to compliment ^_^ I love how use fondant. I usually see people dip them in melted white chocolate. Voted up and pinned!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Sweet! Thanks so much Myth! You would love making these - and Stacy too I bet because you are both so creative! You can just do any design and truly it isn't hard it is just a bit time consuming. Totally worth it for a for a holiday or party. I would make them with easy Christmas trees or something if I wanted to make them in bulk amounts.

Let me know if you try it!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

HI Tammy! Thanks! I just somehow KNEW you were going to like these. This is a really fun project but something you wouldn't want to do in a rush. The terrific thing is - you want to freeze them (seals the moisture in the cake) and they can be frozen for a couple of weeks safely so you can make them plenty of time in advance of a party.

These would be a cinch for you - I know it for a fact...I have seen the crafty stuff you do and this is like childs play compared to that stuff:)


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Thanks so much Stephanie! I wonder how kitchen equipment was when you tried it? The hardest part is getting the frosting just the right consistency. I found that I wasted a lot just because it didn't seem to be the same texture once it cooled...had to be reheated a few times for one batch.

If you use rolled fondant - super easy! You just have to be patient while you cut all the designs - that is tedious if working with the tiny little cutters:) lol


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Thank you Mama Kim! I would totally plan a meal around dessert! ha! I mean that is sometimes the best thing - probably why we save it for last!

You can add white chocolate chips to the fondant while it's melting too - I just didn't have any on hand and was too lazy to go to the store:) LOL

Thanks so much for the votes and shares!


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

I want to go to Kelly's French Bakery! Do you do cream puffs and eclairs too? Those are my very favorite. You can't beat a great cream puff.

Oooh, just got back from Schlitterbahn Water Park. Nearly killed me. I am determined to get into shape before our trip.

See ya soon!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Kelly...."Petits Four"....I'm reminded of my childhood. My mother always ordered these yummy, pretty little cakes, from some special bakery. She would get them for Holidays or special dinners and get togethers. My sister and I literally stuffed those babies down, one in each hand, until Mom caught us.

I don't why she never made them. However, they're so small and delicate, she probably didn't have the time, nor the patience.

You amaze me with your kitchen savvy! There doesn't seem to be anything you won't make or bake. I will gain an awful lot of weight, living with you!..........Up ++ and YUMMY


CR Rookwood profile image

CR Rookwood 4 years ago from Moonlight Maine

Oh, these are beautiful! I can hardly wait to try this at home. Thank you, I loved the hub and pictures. :)


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Cr Rookwood - thank you so much! They are really fun to make and so darn pretty. If you buy even a frozen pound cake and use good jam - delicious!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Lela - I love the French bakeries! Actually, any bakery will do. I have made cream puffs and eclairs before - you won't believe this - but it isn't hard at all!

There is a certain way that you fold the dough and when it rises it makes a perfect little pocket filled with the custard. I made them a few times and there really is nothing better than fresh baked Eclairs. I know you could easily make them. In fact the first time I made little mini eclairs - I was about 25? I just learned from a good old fashioned book! haha

I hope you're planning to do a hub about the water park! It's like fall here today - chilly! When I felt the temp today - and smelled the air - (smells like fall) I thought - now Mexico is getting so close I can taste it!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Paula I bet your mom didn't make them because they seem so daunting! You look at those little cakes and it is hard to imagine how you could possibly make enough to satisfy a whole family. I wouldn't make these on an even regular basis - they take a couple of days if you truly want to do them right. I do make them just for special stuff - or romantic dinners! One look and they just make you feel warm and fuzzy right? lol

Thanks so much!


sueroy333 profile image

sueroy333 4 years ago from Indiana

Thank God for the pictures! I'm going to blow them up, print them off, and use them at parties.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

These are beautiful, and I just had one at a baby shower just yesterday, as my grandson is due in October. They were so cute too, and delicious. I do not think I could ever make them so lovely as you have them depicted here. I usually just get them from a special bakery, as I know I just could not make them look as lovely. I may try it one day. Thanks for the deliciously lovely hub! In His Love, Faith Reaper


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

You are amazing! Your photos are delicious! I love petits fours. And talk about impressing people you make these for--wow!!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

haha There ya go - you can take a collage of Petits Fours:) haha Why didn't I think of that???!!! Silly me!

Awesome to see you sueroy!!!!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Faith - you could make this look lovely! Even the simple ones are gorgeous aren't they? Thank you so much for the lovely compliment but honestly it is so easy even a child could make them look outstanding:) lol It just takes a little bit of time to practice.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Vicki! Thank you! You all just reminded me I have some in the freezer - I am going to eat one while I have coffee tonight. The great thing is they are like eating a little sugar cube so too decadent to have more than one or two:) I always tell myself the smaller serving is helping:) hahaha


moonlake profile image

moonlake 4 years ago from America

Your petits fours are very pretty. I make them but mine don't look like yours. Voted uP!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

I shoulda guessed you'd make these moonlake! Thank you - I had one last night with coffee - I was thinking it's a shame they will soon be gone:)


Chatkath profile image

Chatkath 4 years ago from California

Amazing RealHousewife! I write about petits fours in my Carmel by the Sea Hub because these were one of my favorite memories as a child. I would go home and try to make them but unfortunately for me they did not resemble any that you have so beautifully showcased. Maybe now with your incredible directions and images I can pull it off!(Maybe?)

Well done! Voted up, beautiful, useful and Liked


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Chatcath! Oh you flatter me - but you know what they say? "Flattery will get 'cha everywhere" lol

Thank you! I had one last night - doesn't make you feel so darn guilty eating sweets after 8 when it's just a little tiny bite! lol You could SO do this...just don't plan to be in a hurry - turn on some loud music and wear old clothes. It is messy business when pouring fondant but I did it close to the sink so I could just rinse my hands after each one:)

Good luck! I know you can do it! lol


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

I love Petits Fours Glaces, Kelly, but I know I just gained more than two pounds just by looking at your incredibly tasty photos. I don't dare attempt to make them - I would be eating all of them myself. Trust me.


Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

When I gave you the title as a Baking Queen...I was so right, Kelly.

I love glazed cakes; however, never succeeded in making them. These cakes look yummy and as the saying goes that it's always good to please your betterhalf with a sweet tooth...you are on the right side of the road :))

3 cheers on this wonderful hub. sharing it across!


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD

These are just so beautiful. No matter how much you say they are not that difficult to make, I am still nervous about trying this. One day, I will have to give it a try though. They look delicious! Voted up!


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

RealHousewife, an amazingly written recipe hub with awesome pictures. You make me crave these petits fours.This is worthy of the HOTD.

Voted all the way up & across except one.

Passing it on.


sen.sush23 profile image

sen.sush23 4 years ago from Kolkata, India

Petit Fours are my favorite dessert. But I never thought it could be made at home. Thanks for the fondant link too...you have done a wonderful hub, that kind of motivates me to give it a try. Voted up and sharing this useful piece of writing.


wordscribe43 profile image

wordscribe43 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

So gonna try making these. They are such a great idea for a gift, too. Anyway, pinned this for you.


calculus-geometry profile image

calculus-geometry 4 years ago from Germany

Really beautiful photos. I had no idea the cake was frozen first before decorating, makes sense though.


anupma profile image

anupma 4 years ago from India

I love petits. Now I m hungry. Looks yummy. . .

Thanks for sharing.


Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

Wow! I would love to try this. This sounds easy to make and they look gorgeous. Thanks for sharing.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Drbj! I know...it s hard not to eat them as I watch them cool! I get all excited though because like a 5 year old I can't wait to show them to my mom:) hahaha. I have been taking pictures of the food I cook for years just so I could show them to mom...so you can imagine how much I love hub so I can post them all over the place? Haha

My moms in Milan this week and she emailed me a picture of a platter she ordered for appetizers...it had proscuitto ham and meats and cheese ..... Looked so delicious....! I think she's rubbing it in!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Oh Ruchinra! You could make these - I know you could! And besides - you can even buy pre made glaze in the store now...those cakes are pretty in frosted even...but the frosting helps seal in the moisture. If you want to keep them you'd have to cover them or the cake would get hard! Lol

Thanks so much for the pins and shares!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

I was too Jeannie...I didn't think I could make them. I thought it would be a giant mess but seriously...it's just patience. The biggest trick is getting the frosting the right temp...so start low and keep stirring. They are SO good...I used my own pound cake recipe for some and store bought for the others...both were great!

Thanks and good luck! Let me know if you try them!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Thanks Rajan! I love making pretty food like this. I just bought a cake leveler yesterday so I can try for better layer cakes! My girls are all excited hoping for a four layer chocolate cake when they get home:)


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi sen sush23 - see? It's so easy! If I can do it anyone can! I'm not a trained chef. I've worked in many restaurants in my day but not as a cook. I just asked a zillion questions and lean red like that:). I'd heckle the cooks in the window ..pressuring them. I'd shout "come ON while I'm still young and beautiful!" hahaha


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi word scribe...thank you so much! They are a great gift idea...you can buy perfect little boxes from Michaels or online so you can gift them like a box of candy. Now that would be worth making them for too. I do them just like a dozen at a time....I make other desserts so they just get mixed in. Looks pretty:)

Thanks too for the pin!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi calculus-geometry....thanks! Yah the cake is so much easier to frost when frozen. I know chefs will freeze them at least a couple of times during the process...that cake will fall apart if it's wam. A chef will freeze it solid and like overnight...a few hours is good enough though.

Good luck they are easy and so gorgeous...you can't lose taking a few to any party:)


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi anupma - thank you so much! They are yummy! Lol


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

Another for my ever expanding recipe book.

Enjoy your weekend.

Eddy.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Eddy! And hey that's awesome! Now when I lose my own recipes (which I do all the time) I'll know where to go! Lol. Right now I'm looking all over for a secret vanilla brownie recipe...I have lost it twice! It's only written on one card...and it is a recipe handed down...not from a book! I just know il, find it again then I'll send it right to you for safe keeping:)


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca

And this is why you are the Realhousewife! These look absolutley gorgeous and beautiful. I don't even know if I want to eat them because it would run such a beautiful piece of art. But believe me - that feeling only lasts awhile because they look much too delicious not to try! YUMMY! I might have to try to make some of these for Christmas. I wonder how long they hold up for...


John Sarkis profile image

John Sarkis 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

These are delish! I always get them when I visit this French bakery close to my house. I'll have to try your recipe and see how it comes out.

Thank you for another wonderful hub

John


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Stacy! You are so creative you could totally do this! You and Crystal...and hey I heard that they stay really good for a couple of weeks if you freeze them. So I would give myself one week to work with them and decorate and then serve...

Thanks and next time you come over if I have more than 2 hours notice I will certainly whip up some for you guys!!!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi John - that is so cool! I love guys that cook!

This is not how a pro would have you do this but - it's workable in a real kitchen. I find so many times I have to alter recipes so they are manageable in my own home kitchen. This worked but not for a huge production of them. The best is if you make your own pound cake (and use a recipe with almond paste! yummm!) And you will have dainty little delicious bites that are so awesome after dinner!


teresamg profile image

teresamg 4 years ago from Portugal

Wow, these look simply amazing and delicious! Very nice job! I wish I was that good!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey teresamg - that's the beauty of it - I am not "that good"! ha! I am just a regular housewife and these were pretty easy to make. I thought they would be more difficult and never even expected to write a hub about it - but they were so easy if patient! So I had to tell you guys - you CAN do this too!


Sharyn's Slant profile image

Sharyn's Slant 4 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

I always wanted to make petit fours. I even bought special "cutters" and now they are sitting in storage. You make it look easy. What a beautiful job you did. Very impressive. I may just have to finally try it. But for now, I will share your great hub :)


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Thank you Sharyn! I love playing around with the pretty food! Even if I don't eat it myself there is someone around who is happy to for me! lol


Tealparadise profile image

Tealparadise 3 years ago

I love petit fours! They seem so much classier than cupcakes, and less messy to eat! Yours are super cute too :) great guide! I had no idea of the different types.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 3 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Thanks Tealparadise...I had fun making them but I would never do it in a hurry...that's the trick:) good luck if you try them!


Faith A Mullen profile image

Faith A Mullen 3 years ago

These are beautiful! Very time consuming, I am sure, but I will have to give it a try next time I am in a cake decorating mood. Voted up and awesome :)


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 3 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Thanks so much Faith! They are fun to make but you can't divide your attention and it's an all afternoon activity) lol. I like doing that kind of stuff and it looks so neat when you're all done. No one wants to eat them because they take so long to make! Lol

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