Thursday, 17 January 2013

Recipe 7: Petits gâteaux with Berry buttercream icing

No better excuse to make the Petits gâteaux completed with Berry buttercream icing than a visit to see the 7-week-old twin girls of one of my Dear Friends (remember the chicken-dish expert from my first blog?!). So last night, Dear Husband and I embarked on our journey complete with a large cake tin of goodies. I remember once watching an episode of one of Nigella Lawson’s programmes and she made honeycomb as a present for the friend who was hosting a dinner party; however, she ate quite a lot of it in the taxi en route. Well, that’s the way the story panned out on TV. Therefore, I could forsee the same thing happening in our house and now that Dear Son has recently developed a huge interest in cooking and baking with me, I decided I’d better bake a lot. To keep him happy, we baked 3 dozen of fairy cakes and I let him ice and sprinkle them with 100s and 1000s. So, if he was happy, he was busy which meant that I could get on with my petits gateaux. I know I’ve said this before but I really should have a share in the Kerrygold group because of the amount of butter I go through. Anyway, here’s what I did…

The recipe for Petits gâteaux was pretty similar to that of fairy cakes – butter, caster sugar, eggs, plain flour and baking powder. I creamed the butter, added the sugar and then gradually beat in the eggs. The flour and baking powder just had to be sieved and folded in to the wet mixture and then put into a lined square baking tray. I baked the mixture for almost 30 minutes and then let it sit in the tin until it had cooled. All I had to do then was cut the cake into 16 squares which led me onto the Berry buttercream icing.


For the Berry buttercream icing, I hulled and halved strawberries and threw them into my mini-chopper for a blitz along with a small bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice. I then added the puréed strawberry mixture into another bowl in which I had creamed butter mixed with sieved icing sugar. Then, it was time for the tricky part. I was supposed to spread the buttercream over the sponge squares and then place a strawberry on top. Now, if you look at the picture on page 187 and then compare it to mine below, you will acknowledge that they don’t look very similar; that’s because they’re not. Dear Mother reminds me from time-to-time that patience is a virtue; well, I don’t think I’m too virtuous when it comes to patience. No, not indeed because I couldn’t wait long enough for another pound of butter to soften that I went ahead with the icing and then (as if that wasn’t enough), I didn’t wait long enough for the squares to cool. Yes, I know – a rookie mistake. I should have let the butter soften properly and I really should have let the squares cool properly. The end result was that the icing wasn’t the right consistency and then it sort of melted on top of the square. I had such high hopes for the recipe but my own short-comings let me down. But, alas, mistake = something learned or, in this case, two things learned. Nonetheless, Dear Husband and I still scored the recipe 8 marks out of 10 and Dear Friend and her husband were very pleased with them.

Not content with my efforts with this recipe, I have vowed to make it again and, next time, I promise I really will exercise patience. Now, if only that other pound of butter would hurry up until I make my next recipe. Ah well, some things never change…


  1. You can't beat a tray bake. I have been known to put the butter into the microwave to soften it. I have also been known to turn the butter into oil.

    1. Lol! It can be hard to find the exact consistency especially in this weather! :)