The third week of the Great Canadian Baking Show featured Fondant Fancies for the technical bake, seems easy enough – bake sponge, cut them out, and cover in fondant.
Well not so fast, these guys are notoriously hard to make, especially in a short time frame. Most of the bakers on Great Canadian Baking Show had some challenges with these, and across the pond on the Great British Bake Off the bakers had challenges too. The Fondant Fancies should be nice and square a smooth top and nice smooth finish. The insides have a sponge, this recipe uses one with almond paste, some filling like jam and then can be covered with a buttercream or fondant.
The Fondant Fancies technical bake was won this week by Vandana Jain. On the show the bakers were given all ingredients they needed to make the Fondant Fancies, along with a recipe that was missing some key bits of information. Those of us following along were lucky to be able to use a more complete recipe (here), and also having watched the bakers on the show, and learn from their experience. The bakers also had 2 hours to complete the bake from start to finish.
I set out to try this bake within the same 2 hours (I believe on the Great British Bake Off they were given 2.5 hours).
So let’s get going!
The day before I read the recipe to make sure I had all of the ingredients. The two items I didn’t have were the almond paste and pâte à glacer. I had some blanched almonds, so I would make my own almond paste prior to the bake. For the pâte à glacer I would make my own pourable fondant but within the time frame.
0 Minutes – I give the recipe a read, and assemble all my ingredients and tools.
3 Minutes – I combine the almond paste and the sugar and give them a spin in the mixer. I also get the eggs separate for the next step.
5 Minutes – The egg yolks get mixed into the almond paste mixture so far so good!
10 Minutes – The almond paste mixture is all done, and since I only have one bowl I need to get things cleaned up to do the meringue (I bet they don’t have this problem on the show!). Then get the meringue mixed up!
18 Minutes – The meringue is all done, first a mix a bit into the almond paste mixture, then fold in the rest of the meringue. Then I sift the flour over top and fold in. Things are going well!
25 Minutes – They used a sheet pan on the show, but the math seemed to be off for a normal half sheet pan so I decided to use 2 – 8 X 8 pans instead which would guve me 16 – 1.5 inch squares from each pan. Into the oven they go!
30 Minutes – Time to start the French buttercream. I am not a big fan of making either French or Italian buttercreams, as they do not always turn out as I like with the pouring of the sugar syrup into the egg or egg white mixture with the mixer running. My preferred buttercream is the Swiss buttercream, but I shall do this one since it what we are suppose to do. I guess that may be why they chose this for the technical challenge.
35 Minutes – While the syrup is heating for the buttercream I remove the seeds from the raspberry jam.
45 Minutes – Syrup is ready, so it is time to add to the egg mixture. Here we go, and look at that it seems to be working OK today!
47 Minutes – Cakes come out of the oven! time to get them cooled down by putting in the fridge for a bit.
58 Minutes – The meringue is continued to be whipped until it cools to room temperature, which finally happens! Time to add the butter and then the vanilla paste. Tastes pretty good!
1 Hour 0 Minutes – While the cakes are cooling I have a bit of time to make the pourable fondant. Since I am not putting any decoration on them I decide to add a bit of colour to give the pourable fondant a pink hue.
1 Hour 10 Minutes – Time to put the cake together. The raspberry jam is spread on the first layer, then topped with the second, and the top is covered with the French buttercream. Then into the freezer to firm up!
1 Hour 35 Minutes – OK we are starting to run out of time, so the cake comes out of the freeze. I cut up into the squares and then get ready to cover in the pourable fondant.
1 Hour 45 Minutes – I am not having much fun with these, the recipe for the pourable fondant says not to heat it past 110 deg F, and it seems to be cooling very quickly and not giving me a nice smooth finish. Maybe I should have picked up some candy melts!
2 Hour 0 Minutes – Well they are done, they are not pretty on the outside but they are tasty.
My judges gave me mixed reviews. My wife does not like fondant so these are not here favourite, until she took the fondant off and enjoyed the sponge. My son on the other hand loved them. So much so he wants them for his birthday coming up in a month. I guess will have another chance to perfect the coating!