Wednesday, 4 March 2009

French Fancies - Revisited

vegan french fancies
The pink ones are plain, the yellow (which I should have added more colour too) are lemon flavoured and the chocolate ones are, well, chocolate of course!

vegan french fanciesThese 6 are thinly covered in marzipan for a smoother finish.

vegan french fanciesThese 6 have no marzipan underneath, the fondant was poured right over the icing blob and cake. (edit - these were actually the best!)

I know I have blogged these before but I wanted to try them again doing more or less everything from scratch. Last time I used a cake mix and ready rolled fondant, they tasted great but the fondant wasn't right, too soft as I didn't use a 'pourable' fondant. I wanted to completely make my own but the recipe I wanted to use requires a candy thermometer which I am having trouble finding. So for these I made my own cake, kept the buttercream and jam the same but bought a box of fondant icing sugar that you add water to until 'pourable' with whatever flavours and colours you like.

They turned out very good, the cake for some reason came out quite dark, it looks like I used wholemeal flour but I assured you I didn't - still tastes good. For some of the fancies I covered in very thinly rolled out marzipan, then poured the fondant over just to get a smoother finish (plus the marzipan tasted great in these, sort of french fancies meet battenburg!) For the rest I just poured the fondant straight over the icing blob and cake, these ones got a crisper fondant which is more accurate but don't look as pretty.

Makes about 20 fancies depending on how you cut them.

**Edit - I have now, finally, made a white sponge cake I am more than happy with. Recipe is in my White Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake post. I haven't used it yet to make these but I have no doubt it would turn out best as it actually comes out looking white! That being said, I'll leave this cake recipe up as well.**

Sponge Cake:
250ml rice or soy milk
1 tsp apple cyder vinegar
30g vegan margarine
140g caster sugar
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 180C and line an 11 x 7.5 x 1" jelly roll pan with baking paper - set aside. Combine the cyder vinegar and rice milk and set aside to get a little curdly. Beat together the margarine and sugar then add the oil and vanilla and beat well. In another bowl add all the dry ingredients and set aside. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk into the margarine mixture, stirring well after each addition but be careful not to overmix. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 18 - 20 minutes or until golden all over and feels firm to touch. Let cool fully in pan then carefully turn out and remove the paper.

Cut the cake slab in half, spread raspberry jam over one side then place the other half on top. Cut this into squares, however many or size you want.

Vanilla Buttercream:
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

Prepare the 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. My previous post on these has step by step photos here .

Now, if you are going to add marzipan, I just very thinly rolled out some marzipan and placed over the whole cake, adding some more jam to the outside edges to help it stick. Also make sure you dust your surface and rolling pin with some icing sugar as it can be sticky. If you are not going to add it, some almond extract added to the pink fondant is very nice.

375g fondant icing sugar
6 Tbsp hot water
1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder
lemon juice
red food colour - check vegan
yellow food colour - check vegan
1/16 vanilla extract

For the fondant I mixed 125g fondant icing sugar with about 2 Tbsp hot water for each colour. The pink ones had some red food colouring added, the yellow ones had yellow colour and fresh lemon juice and the chocolate had 1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder and 1/16 vanilla extract added. Add more hot water or fondant icing sugar to get a spoonable, fairly thick frosting. Then, it's pretty messy, because of the icing blob on top I couldn't really dip these so I placed them on some baking paper and spooned over the fondant, making sure all the sides got covered. With some as I had the fondant too thin I had to cover 2 -3 times. When they are uniformly covered carefully lift off the paper with a butter knife and place on a plate and refrigerate until fully set.

The squiggles on top are more buttercream thinned out for the pink ones and just melted dark chocolate for the yellow and chocolate ones.

I definitely prefer this fondant to the last one, but strangely enough prefer the cake mix of last time to this one. I think all the chemicals in it make it more like the Mr. Kipling ones...oh the shame.... Anyway, they are very good and so cute - great for presenting if you have guests over.


  1. Oh, no! How can you do this to me? I HAVE to lose some weight, but I also HAVE to try making these..... They look so good and just like the cakes of my childhood, bought from the baker who came round in a horse-drawn cart. (1950s Scotland)

  2. Hi Penny! Thanks, I am rather addicted to little cakes at the moment, and oddly enough still trying to, ahem, eat 'healthier'... :)

    That is so cool you got to buy cakes from a horse-drawn cart!! My background is partly Scottish, grandparents came from Dundee and Glasgow, so love hearing things like that!

  3. Beautiful!! I would love to make these one day :)

  4. Just made these to take into work tomorrow. (although i made them non-vegan, but sort of based off your recipe).

    How did you get the fondant to go so smoothly over the top? Yours look brilliant, mine are a bit of a mess :S

    However, they do taste awesome, and i guess that's all that matters :)

  5. Hi Oli! Thanks for the comment, glad they taste good :) It's been so long since I made these but the second photo of fancies there have a thin cover of marzipan, I did that so that fondant would pour over smoothly. The last photo the fondant was just spooned straight over the cake. I remember they weren't as smooth or pretty but were more authentic. I also had to cover those 2 or 3 times to get them fully covered and as smooth as possible. Hmmm, thinking I need these again!! Might just have another go myself ;)

  6. I can't believe you made french fancies. they look amazing! I don't think I have the guts to try these

  7. These look absolutely amazing! I have been having a serious French Fancies craving recently and am considering making this as a treat for Christmas. But I must ask - what Victoria Sponge box mix, that you used in your first try, did you find that was vegan friendly?! Every one I have found has either milk, egg or both in!

  8. Hi Nadia! Thanks for the comment :-) The sponge cake mix I used originally was just Tesco Value Sponge Mix. I didn't post that I used it as it may not be totally vegan, depending on where you draw the line ;-) There is certainly no egg or milk in it however, these are the ingredients:

    Wheat Flour,Sugar ,Vegetable Oil ,Dextrose , Raising Agents (Glucono-Delta-Lactone, Sodium Bicarbonate) ,Cornflour ,Salt ,Natural Flavouring.

    The only thing I questioned initially was the 'glucono-delta-lactone' as 'lactone' didn't sound very vegan. Turns out it is not milk based at all but is a raising agent and most do consider it vegan, it can come from honey or red wine however, so if it's honey derived obviously it won't be ok.

    Personally, I was fine with this and have used the mix often, but it's up to you. I do like how the cakes turn out with it, I just omit the egg and used sparkling water until it was the right consistency.

    Hope they work out for you - we all found them better than Mr. Kipling's!

  9. Thanks so much for letting me know about the cake mix. My family and I were seriously suprised about how good it was! I loved the light fluffy texture, although I found them difficult to ice because dipping the cake in the fondant icing practically broke the cake pieces apart! I ended up pouring the icing over them, but alas they looked nowhere near as good as yours!

    ...but they tasted wonderful! French Fancies used to be one of my favourite sweet treats and having them for the first time in 4 years made me so pleased. Thanks for showing that a vegan version is not only possible, but equally as (if not more!) tasty than Mr. Kipling's!

  10. Yay! So glad you liked them Nadia, they are fiddly alright, and you definitely have to spoon the fondant over - some of them I covered 2 or 3 times to get a good finish :-) But, yes - taste good all the same!

  11. Just an update on the "Glucono Delta Lactone" ingredient in the cake mix I used when I originally made these. Turns out it's entirely plant based after all, and not from either honey or red wine:


  12. These are so lovely! Again, you're making me crave a tea party for all these beautiful little treats.

  13. Wow, these look amazing! I really miss fondant fancies every so often, although I never bought them as a veggie, but they're something my grandparents had. I used to eat the buttercream blob and pick the icing off, then eat the plain sponge.


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