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These Valentine's Day Petit Fours are the loveliest way to celebrate all things pink, red, and white this February 14th! Bite-size white cake layered with raspberry jam jam and cut out in heart shapes then coated in a pourable fondant icing. What could be sweeter?
If you love Love and want to impress your Secret Cupid this Valentine's Day, you might also like my Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie (shaped like a heart with chocolate buttercream piped around the edges! I die!) or serve some Homemade Strawberry Milk for breakfast!
Valentine's Day Petit Fours
Who can resist bite-size desserts? I mean, honestly? They are so incredible tasty and handheld and fun!
But then add a simple cute shape and tinted icing and I can't get over how beautifully these petit fours turned out!
I have made petit fours in the past for a garden tea party in the standard square shape. But with Valentine's Day coming up I couldn't resist attempting these with my smallest heart-shaped cookie cutter. And I was so happy with how they turned out!
These Valentine's Day petit fours would be perfect to take to a kid's school class for a themed treat! Or make them to give out with Valentine's Day cards!
What are Petit Fours?
The term "petit four" is a fancy French word for tiny cakes and pastries. It means "small oven", referencing how they were baked in the residual heat of brick ovens after bread baking in the 18th and 19th centuries in France.
Basically any bite-size treat could be considered a petit four, but it's the miniature glazed cakes that are the most iconic in my book. They are sometimes also called "mignardises" in French patisseries.
They are a really versatile little dessert that can be made with your favorite cake recipe, your filling of choice (jam or frosting are common though), and a glaze finish (often, but not always).
How to Make Valentine's Day Petit Fours
1. Make the cake.
Bake your favorite cake recipe in a large half-sheet pan. Once it is completely cooled, slice the cake horizontally so you have two large, thin layers of cake. I find the easiest way to do this is with a cake slicer, although you could make it work with a serrated knife. Because my cake slicer is only 9-inced wide, I had to cut my cake in half length-wise first.
Remove the top layer to the side. Pro tip: Slide a flexible plastic cutting board between the two layers so it's easy to remove the thin, top layer of cake.
2. Spread the bottom layer with filling.
I used raspberry jam for these Valentine's Day petit fours, but apricot jam would also be delicious. Or you could use a buttercream frosting, lemon curd, or even a spread like cookie butter or nutella. I have tried making petit fours using freezer jam and find it's a little too wet, so I recommend purchasing traditional jam from the store for these cakes.
Carefully transfer the top layer bake in place, then freeze the whole thing for 15 minutes. This will help you to cut out the shapes better.
3. Cut out shapes.
The easiest and most basic way of making petit fours is to slice entire cake into bite-size squares. But if you don't mind have a few cake scraps to nibble on, it's so much fun to use small simple cookie cutters instead for a fun presentation!
My small heart-shaped cutter was perfect for these Valentine's Day Petit Fours. If you have a lip-shaped cookie cutter, those would be fun too!
Stick the miniature cakes back in the freezer while you prepare the glaze.
4. Glaze the cakes.
My favorite way to cover petit fours is with a pourable fondant icing made by combining powdered sugar, water, corn syrup, and vanilla in a glass bowl set over a double boiler. Once everything is whisked together and warm, add chopped white chocolate for a yummy flavor and better texture.
You can use the glaze in its natural white, mostly opaque form, or tint it using gel food coloring .
I made a large batch of glaze and did some of my cakes white, then add pink gel food coloring to the remaining glaze to do another ⅓ of my cakes, before adding a little red to the pink glaze and covering the rest of the cakes with red glaze.
The trick to glazing the cakes is to set them over a wire rack and let the glaze pour onto a clean baking sheet or bowl beneath them. That way, the excess glaze that drips off can be added back to the bowl and rewarmed over the double boiler to have enough to cover all of the cakes.
Tips for Making Petit Fours
- If you want to decorate the petit fours with sprinkles, be sure to only glaze 1-2 cakes at a time and sprinkle them immediately before the glaze has a chance to set. Pouring warm glaze over chilled cakes helps the glaze set up very quickly, so you can't do a bunch at once and then go back and add sprinkles later because they won't stick.
- Don't choose an intricate design for your shape as it can be difficult to coat the sides with glaze if there too many narrow crevices. Hearts, circles, stars, and squares, are all good shapes for petit fours.
- The cake can be made well in advance and frozen without the glaze on. You can pour the glaze right over the frozen cakes, then transport them and serve them an hour or two later.
- Glazed cakes can be stored at room temperature or in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Get everything set up in advance before you begin to pour the glaze over the cakes. I like to have a couple of baking sheets and wire racks set to the set. Then I glaze a few cakes at a time, adding sprinkles to some and transferring them to a clean rack to finish setting up by sliding a sharp knife under each cake and balancing them on the blade to transfer them. I had a casualty or two along the way when a cake fell off my knife before I could get it moved over to the clean rack, but that made a yummy treat for me!
The FULL RECIPE is on my partner Imperial Sugar’s site, so click through to make these for your Valentine! Each month we collaborate to bring a great recipe to you using their wonderful products, and you can see them all over on their site!
More Fun Valentine's Day Recipes to Try
- Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies
- Chocolate Covered Strawberries
- Hazelnut Lingonberry Linzer Cookies (use heart-shaped cookie cutters!)
- Raspberry Chocolate Tart
- Best Red Velvet Cake
- Red Velvet Whoopie Pies
- Crepes Recipe (How to Make Crepes and Crepe Filling Ideas)
- Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie
- Black Forest Cake
- Vintage Cherry Chip Layer Cake
Be sure to click over to Imperial Sugar’s site to get the FULL RECIPE.