These sweet little morsels are traditional Viennese petits-fours. Their delicate sponge layers, punchy rum-spiked apricot filling and pretty pink exteriors make them rather addictive.
- melted butter, to grease
- 4 eggs, at room temperature
- 165 g (¾ cup) caster sugar
- 2 tsp natural vanilla essence or extract
- 1 lemon, zest finely grated
- 60 ml (¼ cup) milk
- 40 g butter
- 75 g (½ cup) self-raising flour, plus extra to dust
- 60 g (½ cup) cornflour
- 75 g apricot jam
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) strained fresh orange juice
- 1½ tbsp dark rum
- 500 g (4 cups) pure icing sugar, sifted
- 100 ml strained fresh lemon juice
- pink food colouring, to tint
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Cooling time: 30 minutes
Standing time: 1 hour
To make the sponge layers, preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Brush two 16 cm x 26 cm (base measurement) shallow cake tins with a little melted butter to lightly grease and line the base and two long sides of each with one piece of non-stick baking paper.
Use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment on high speed to whisk the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until the mixture is very thick and pale (this will take 5-8 minutes). Lift the whisk out of the mixture and draw a figure-eight; if the trail stays on the surface long enough for you to finish drawing, then the mixture is ready. If not, continue to whisk for a further minute and then test again. Whisk in the vanilla and lemon zest.
Heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat just until the butter melts. Remove from the heat.
Sift the flour and cornflour together over the egg mixture. Immediately pour the warm milk mixture down the side of the bowl and whisk again with the electric mixer briefly, until the flour mixture is just incorporated (be careful not to overmix).
Divide the mixture evenly between the cake tins and gently tap the tins on the benchtop three times to settle the mixture.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cakes are a pale golden colour, spring back when lightly touched in the centre and start pulling away from the sides of the tins. When the sponges are ready, remove from the oven and stand for 2 minutes before turning onto a wire racks to cool completely.
Meanwhile, to make the apricot syrup, combine the apricot jam, sugar, orange juice and rum in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer, remove from the heat and set aside for 30 minutes or until cooled to room temperature.
Use a 5 cm-round cutter to cut the sponge cakes into 16 rounds. Set aside. Cut the sponge off-cuts into 1 cm pieces. Measure 1½ cups of the diced sponge and place in a medium bowl. Pour the apricot syrup over and stir gently to combine.
To assemble, place the round cutter over a sponge round. Add about 2 tablespoons of the apricot sponge mixture and then cover with another round of sponge. Press down firmly and then remove the pastry cutter. Transfer to a wire rack and repeat remaining sponge rounds and apricot sponge mixture to make 8 cakes in total.
To make the glaze, place the icing sugar in a medium bowl and stir in the lemon juice to make a thick pouring consistency. Add enough pink food colouring to tint to the desired colour. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the glaze over a cake and allow it to drizzle down the sides. Use a small palette knife that has been dipped in hot water and dried to spread the glaze thinly and evenly over the top and sides to coat evenly. Repeat with the remaining cakes. Cover the remaining glaze with plastic wrap and set aside. Set the cakes aside for 30 minutes or until the glaze sets. Repeat the glazing process with about another tablespoon of glaze for each cake and spreading, if necessary, to make a second coat. Set the cakes aside for 30 minutes or until the glaze sets.
• These cakes will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Sarah O'Brien. Food preparation by Tina McLeish.
Anneka's mission is to connect home cooks with the magic of baking, and through this, with those they love. For hands-on baking classes and baking tips, visit her at BakeClub. Don't miss what's coming out of her oven via Facebook,Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
This recipe is part of our Bakeproof: Little cakes.