Friday 12 September 2008

Vegan French Fancies

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Quite the experiment today, we used to love french fancies, which are just a brand name of a type of petite fours you can buy here. They come in pink, yellow and chocolate but even when we were vegetarian we couldn't eat the pink ones and now being vegan they are all off limits, until now of course.... Decided to just make them pink to make up for years of only having the yellow and chocolate ones! I have never worked with fondant icing before which I'm sure is evident in the above pic but it wasn't that difficult. As these were just a test I used store bought ingredients (cake mix and ready made fondant) so next I'll try everything by scratch. Also, I really needed 2 cake mixes as it was too low for the pan I used. This meant I had to cut the cake in half and stack them which then needed jam to stick the layers. The original french fancies have no jam in them and I wanted these to be pretty authentic, but still, jam will be good in these! Anyway, for now here's the rough recipe:

1 mix of victoria sponge cake (check vegan)
80 - 100ml sparkling water
*about 1 Tbsp raspberry jam (I used Duchy raspberry preserve with lime)
Fluffy Buttercream Frosting:
2 Tbsp vegetable fat (shortening)
2 Tbsp vegan margarine
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp icing sugar
1/4 plus 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
Pink Fondant Icing:
250g (about) ready made fondant icing (check vegan)
couple drops vegetarian red food colouring
just add some dairy free milk to the leftover buttercream from above to make softer.

For the cake, prepare the cake mix according to instructions adding the sparkling water in place of the egg and water (the carbonation will help the cake rise). Line a 7 inch square cake pan with baking paper so that it overhangs all ends. Pour batter into pan and bake for 15 minutes at 190C. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes then lift out via the baking paper and let cool on rack - peel off paper. When cool, trim cake all along the edges then cut in half. Spread some warmed raspberry jam onto one half of the cake (the rough side), place the other half on top, make sure the cooked top is on top. You will now have a rectangular shape. Cut this in half, then each half into 4 small squares so that you have 8 squares in total:

Next prepare the fluffy vegan buttercream by simply whisking all the ingredients together until smooth, it will be slightly stiffer than the recipe for cupcakes as you want it to hold it's shape when the fondant goes on. Place frosting into a piping bag with a large straight circle tip and pipe little blobs on top of each cake:

Let these sit for awhile, at least half an hour for the frosting to set a little bit. Now make the fondant - add a few drops of food colour to the fondant and knead this in until a nice pinky colour is throughout with no marbling. I wore a pair of disposable gloves for this, otherwise your hands will look like you've committed mass murder. When done, sprinkle your work surface with icing sugar and dust your rolling pin with it. Roll out to as thin as it will go, you then have to cut out about 4 1/2 inch squares. Place one square on top of a cake, carefully press around the blob then cut off excess fondant from all sides. Press the corners so that they stick out and cut these off, even out the corners you just cut. Make sure they are stuck to the cake and as smooth as you can make it.

For the squiggles, you will have frosting leftover from the inside. Put this into a bowl and whisk in a little dairy free milk until it's a little softer than before. Place into a piping bag with a small writing tip and squiggle away!

Makes 8 french fancies.

*Edited to add - I have finally tried one and they are so good!! I'm very glad that I screwed up the size of the cake and had to spread jam in the middle - that became an essential part of these, so yummy! Also, that photo above is with a tiny espresso cup, they are not that big.


  1. Congratulations! I tried (and failed) to make fancies a few years ago using home made fondant (that really didn't work). What brand of fondant have you found in the UK that is vegan?

  2. Hello! Funny you should comment on these as I have been thinking about them recently wanting to try them again from scratch as these were just a test. Yeah, the icing was the problem- I got so confused over what type to use that I ended up just using Supercook ready rolled white icing. The ready to roll had some questionable ingredients so I used the ready rolled even though I had to then knead in food colouring (somewhat defeating the purpose of using ready rolled!)

    I didn’t really want this type of icing though as it’s soft and not French Fancy like but at this stage I was more interested in getting the shape and cake taste right. SO....I will be doing these again with a pourable fondant which will give them that slightly ‘crunchy’ outside that petit fours should have – is that the type you tried to make? I plan to use Vegan Yum Yum’s recipe here which looks fantastic, although does require corn syrup which you can’t really buy in the UK. I order mine online as I use it a lot and find it can’t always be replaced well. Anyway, hopefully it will work as well as hers and I'll re-post with the results!

  3. These look good enough to eat. Hang, on. I was actually looking for french fancy photos to help describe them for my blog and your scrummy pic showed up.


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