Mini Red Velvet Cakes (Petit Fours)

Mini Red Velvet Cakes  (Petit Fours)

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Four – six mini red velvet cakes sandwiched between sweet cream cheese frosting and filled with fresh strawberry jam.
It’s the perfect cake for any occasion.

Red velvet is the perfect choice for Valentines day, Christmas or any occasion. In my opinion, red velvet is always the perfect choice!

If you’re new to red velvet, it is actually a chocolate cake made with cocoa powder. The difference between a red velvet cake and a chocolate cake is a red velvet recipe uses about half as much cocoa powder. The result is a lightly flavored chocolate cake.

As I write this post, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. These little cakes are perfect to cap off a romantic dinner at home, which is probably where most of us will be for Valentine’s Day 2021. Here is my perfect COVID — stuck at-home — Valentine’s dinner:

I know, It’s a lot of shameless self promotion. But on the other hand it will be an amazing dinner!

Mini Red Velvet Cakes
Mini Red Velvet Cakes

Mini Red Velvet Cake Specific Ingredient Run Down

Flour – For this cake, I used good old-fashioned all-purpose flour. I tried making this cake with a cake flour substitute. Each time the result was an epic fail. In the end, I use standard old-fashioned all-purpose flour, from which I will never stray again.

Jam – In the middle of the cakes, I used homemade strawberry jam. It does not take very long to make and the flavor is very fresh. If you prefer, use jam purchased at the store. It’s really all about what you will enjoy the most as a filling.

Red Food Coloring – Red velvet cakes were originally made with beetroot to achieve a red color. Nowadays most bakers use food coloring, including me. There are two types of red food coloring, gel and regular. The gel food coloring is much more concentrated than the regular version. If you use the regular food coloring, you will need to double the amount used.

Mini Red Velvet Hearts
Mini Red Velvet Hearts

Let’s talk Mini Red Velvet Cakes

Size – I wrote this as a small cake recipe that will make 6 – 8 mini, petite, cakes depending on how you cut the cake. If you would like to increase the batch, simply select 2x or 3x in the recipe below. This recipe will automatically be calculated for the larger size.

Frosting – I created a small frosting recipe that matches the size of the cakes, minus any exterior frosting. If you prefer a larger batch, simply select 2x or 3x in the recipe below.

Choosing the correct pan – I recommend using a small cake pan or pan with individual pans. The individual pans would reduce waste and ensure a consistent size.

Choosing the shape and mold – You will most likely want to cut the cake into the desired shape. I used two shapes, a heart, and a circle. For the heart shape, I used a cookie cutter and for the circle, I used a small biscuit cutter. If you do not have a cutter, you can use a mug or small bowl to achieve the round shape.

Cake scraps – After you cut the cake there will be lots of scraps leftover. Rather than throwing away the cake scraps, you can freeze them for up to 30 days. There are many different ways to use leftover cake scraps that taste and look delicious. Below I listed a couple of my favorite ways to use leftover cake scarps that are easy and family-friendly.

  • Cake Truffles –
    • Place the cake scraps in a mixer using the paddle attachment.
    • Add a small amount of frosting to bind the scraps together.
    • Mix at a low to medium speed until all the ingredients are mixed together.
    • Use an ice cream scooper or a spoon to scoop out the batter, then roll the batter into a ball. The is the foundation of your cake truffle.
    • Prepare bowls, one with chocolate and one with something crunchy, to roll the cake truffle in (ex. nuts, sprinkles, etc.)
    • Melt the chocolate in the microwave on low power in 20-second bursts. (Always use low power and short bursts to avoid burning the chocolate.)
    • Wearing gloves, roll the cake truffle in chocolate and then in something crunchy.
    • Set the cake truffle on parchment paper and place it in the refrigerator for at least one hour to set.

  • Cake Shake –
    • Place the pieces of cake, ice cream, milk, and other shake ingredients in a blender.
    • Blend.
    • You know have a cake shake!
Mini Red Velvet Cakes
Mini Red Velvet Cakes

Great British Baking Show Bake
Season 1, Episode 6, Show Stopper – Petite Fours

YEA!!! One more bake to go and I have completed the first season!

About this bake… I have made many red velvet cakes and I love them! For this bake, I planned to use a sheet pan to maximize the number of cake cut-outs and to reduce the amount of cake wasted. I used a recipe from Milk Bar that called for ‘cake flour’. While I searched, I could not find cake flour at the stores near me. I searched and found a workaround to remove 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and replace it with 2 tablespoons of corn starch. This was supposed to be the equivalent of cake flour. However, three failed attempts later (not bitter), I decided to go with good old-fashioned all-purpose flour. The result was a perfect red velvet cake.

I am not exactly sure why the corn starch did not work. I think it could have been the age of the corn starch or the altitude in Denver. Someday, when I am less frustrated, I research what happened. However, for now, I am just going to stick with good old all-purpose flour.


Count: 15 down, 263 to go!

Red Velvet Mini Cakes

Mini Red Velvet Cakes (Petit Fours)

Two mini red velvet cakes sandwiched between sweet cream cheese frosting and filled with fresh strawberry jam, an Americana twist on petit fours. (I don't know about you, but my mouth is already watering.)
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Cooling/frosting Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr 25 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, French
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

Strawberry Filling

  • 4 oz strawberries
  • 4 oz sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon

Frosting

Decoration

  • Chocolate heart, square, etc. (Optional)

Instructions
 

Strawberry Filling

  • Quarter each strawberry. Place the strawberries and lemon in a heavy bottom saucepan. Cook over low heat for a few minutes to soften the strawberries.
  • Add the sugar and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves.
  • Once the sugar has dissolved into a clear liquid, bring it to a boil and boil for 6 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  • Refrigerate to set.

Red Velvet Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch square pan.
  • Mix the buttermilk and vinegar and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix well the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. These are your dry ingredients. Set aside.
  • Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the oil and sugar until combined, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and the red food coloring.
  • Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the buttermilk/vinegar mixture, ending with the dry ingredients. In this step, mix the ingredients just enough to incorporate. Over mixing will flatten the cake.
  • Pour the batter into the baking pan. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean. When done cooking removes the cake and allow it to fully cool.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  • Add in the vanilla extract, salt, and powdered sugar and whip to combine, about 2 minutes more.

Assembly

  • Once the cake has cooled, use a cookie cutter or template to cut into the desired shape. Then, carefully, cut each cut piece in half. Use caution not to cut your hand.
  • Prepare the frosting in a piping bag fitted with a dot tip. (I used a size similar to Wilton 10 round tip).
  • Pipe a tight ring of dot tips around the perimeter of each mini cake.
  • Fill the center, inside of the frosting, of each mini cake with the strawberry jam.
  • Place the top, the other half, of each mini cake on top.
  • Pipe decoration on top of each mini cake and place decoration on top as desired.

Notes

Recipe notes:
  • I made this recipe small and makes 4 – 6 small cakes. If you would like a larger batch, select to multiply the recipe in the upper right-hand corner. You can increase the size by 2x or 3x.
  • When mixing the dry cake ingredients, spend extra time mixing very well.  All ingredients should be blended and there should be no cocoa clumps. Use a sifter if you prefer.
  • I used 1 full tablespoon of red gel food coloring to achieve this color of red. If you’re using regular red food coloring you will need to at least double the amount used, maybe more, depending on the manufacturer 
  • I used homemade jam, however, it’s easy to swap out with store-bought jam if you prefer. 
  • For the jam, I used measurements vs volume. I chose this method because strawberries and sugar are very different in terms of volume. The measurement method ensures you get a great result every time. 
  • When making the jam if you want to test if the jam has set, spoon a little onto a cold plate, leave for a minute. Move the jam with your finger and if the jam crinkles and separates without flooding back, the setting point has been reached.
Keyword Cake, Mini, petit fours, Red Velvet
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

How to Make the Best Sea Salt Caramels

How to Make the Best Sea Salt Caramels

Making sea salt caramels is easier than you think! These caramels are a combination of smooth and sweet. The sea salt adds a level of perfection that will have you immediately reaching for another one.

I have to admit, the first time I made sea salt caramel I was afraid. I knew that caramel had to be precise, made at a high temperature, and can easily go wrong. While all that is true, it’s not nearly as hard as I thought it would be. In fact, it’s actually very easy to make and very affordable (bonus). The trick is to read the recipe through a few times, have everything measured out and add the butter/cream combination in very small batches.

What Exactly is Caramel?

Caramel is really just sugar (or sugars), butter, and cream. The process of caramelization happens when sugar is heated to 340 Â°F. As the sugar heats, the molecules break down and re-form into caramel.

Caramel is incredibly versatile. it can stand on its own as a candy, it is used as a topping or a filling. Different variations of caramel include sauce, toffee,  nougat, praline, flan, creme brule, 

What are the “Tricks” to Making Caramel?

Caramel is very easy to make, but there are a few steps that will help ensure a successful batch.

  • Always read the recipe through twice.
    Making caramel requires working at high temperatures. It helps to be well aware of all the steps prior to starting.

  • Measure all your ingredients prior to starting.
    This is always good practice whenever baking. Especially true when making caramels because certain steps have to be taken at precise temperatures.

  • Add the sugar slowly to the center of the pot.
    This step is necessary to avoid crystallization. (Crystallization is where the sugar clumps and the result is a gritty caramel) Once the sugar is added, use your whisk and move the sugar just enough to moisten it. In this step be careful to avoid splashing sugar on the side of the pot. This can also cause crystallization.

  • Once the sugar starts to boil, cover the pot with a lid for one full minute.
    This step traps the steam and helps to stop any crystallization that has formed on the side of the pot.

  • Use a candy thermometer.
    You can make caramel without a thermometer, but using the thermometer helps to get a great result every time.
    – The temperature should be between 240 and 245 degrees.
    – 240 degrees the caramels are very soft and chewy.
    – 245 degrees the caramels are much firmer.
    – 250 degrees is closer to a hardball stage (hard candy.)

  • Add the cream and butter in small batches.
    When you add the cream and butter, the sugar mixture will react violently to the temperature change by bubbling intensely. By adding the cream and butter in small batches, you avoid the risk of the caramel bubbling over the pot, which would be very dangerous.

  • Clean up is easier than you might think.
    One of the reasons I avoided making caramel is I did not want to clean up the mess. However, all you have to do is fill the pan with water and the utensils used (candy thermometer, whisks, etc.) and bring to a boil. Then pour the water out and wipe clean. It’s that easy!

Stages of Caramelization

How Long Can I Store Sea Salt Caramels?

Once you are done making your caramel’s, they can last for one month refrigerated in an air tight container.

How do I Ship Sea Salt Caramels?

Caramel, like chocolate, can melt when shipped. However, it is possible to ship caramels. To this, cook the caramels to 245 degrees. Wrap each caramel individually in wax paper. Place the caramel’s in an airtight plastic container. It is not necessary to pack a cooler in the colder months.

In the warmer months, you will want to keep your caramel cold to avoid melting. To do this, place dry ice or frozen gel packs, inside an airtight plastic container. Place the corrugated box containing the candy on top and cover the container with its lid. Wrap the outside in cling wrap. If you used dry ice, mark “Contains Dry Ice” on the box.

The FDA also recommends shipping food items overnight so they arrive at a temperature at which they are safe to eat (but we never do in the winter).

In the Mood for Something Else? Try One of These Recipes Instead


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Sea Salt Caramels

Sea Salt Caramels

Making sea salt caramels is so easy! These caramels are a combination of smooth and sweet. The Sea salt makes these caramels perfect and you will want more!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Dessert
Servings 40 Caramels

Equipment

  • Whisk
  • Candy Thermometer
  • Bread pan or small casserole dish
  • Parchment or wax paper

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup butter (one stick)
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Instructions
 

  • Line a bread pan or casserole dish with parchment paper. Oil both the pan and the parchment paper. Set aside to use later.
  • Cut the butter into 6 – 10 small pieces and combine with heavy cream. Microwave for one minute until the butter is melted. Set aside to use later.
  • In a small saucepan, over medium heat, add the water and corn syrup.
  • Slowly pour the sugar into the middle of the pan. Use caution not to have the sugar splatter on the sides of the saucepan.
  • Using a whisk, gently mix the sugar with the water and corn syrup. The sugar only needs to be slightly wet.
  • Heat the sugars over medium heat until the mixture begins to boil. Place the lid over the sugars for one minute. This will create a moisture which will to help any sugar on the sides of the saucepan to melt down to the rest of the mixture.
  • Remove the lid and insert the candy thermometer. Allow the sugars to boil without stirring (it's hard, but don't stir), until the sugar reaches 320 degrees. This will take between 5 and 10 minutes.
  • Quickly whisk together the butter and heavy cream if they have separated.
  • SLOWLY add the butter and heavy cream mixture to the sugar 1/5 of the mixture at a time.
    Note: Adding the butter and heavy cream to the sugars will cause the mixture to bubble intensely. Take this step slowly and carefully and slowly to prevent the mixture from bubbling over the sides of the saucepan and possible burns.
  • Once the butter and cream have been added the overall temperature will drop. Continue to cook until the caramel reaches between 240 and 245 degrees. 240 would be a softer caramel.
  • Pour the caramel into the bread pan or casserole dish. Wait fifteen minutes and dust with sea salt.
  • Allow caramel for at least 3 hours to cool.

Notes

Please read the recipe a couple of times before making sea salt caramels. 
  • Always use caution when adding the butter and heavy cream
  • Always add butter and heavy cream in small batches.
  • Adding all the butter and heavy cream at once can result in the caramel bubbling over at a very high temperature.
Keyword Caramel, Caramels, Sea Salt Caramel
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Nadiya Hussain’s Crown Bread (with a few twists)

Nadiya Hussain’s Crown Bread (with a few twists)

I am a huge fan of Nadiya Hussain’s and I am so excited to share her crown bread recipe with you, with a couple of twists (pun intented)

What is Crown Bread?

I first heard of crown bread while watching Cooking with Nadiya. In her show, she makes this bread filled with tapenade and blue cheese, two of my favorite flavors, and twists the bread into a beautiful crown shape. I was absolutely mesmerized by how delicious this bread looked and I could not wait to make it.

I could find very little information on crown bread. In America, we often call it wreath or couroone bread. What these breads have in common is that they are filled with goodies, rolled up, split down the middle, and twisted together into the distinctive crown shape.

This bread is perfect for any dinner table, especially at the holidays. However in my case, I could not wait and I enjoyed it with an old friend and a bottle of wine on a Sunday afternoon. Honestly, either occasion is perfect, as long as you savor this delicious bread.

Modifications from Nadiya’s original recipe

I made a couple of modifications to Nadiya’s original recipe based on personal preference and budget. As always, feel free to modify according to your preferences.

  1. Rosemary is a part of the original recipe. While I love rosemary, I preferred the bread without. Feel free to add rosemary back in if you feel differently.
  2. I made this bread twice. The first time I used goat blue cheese because it was on sale. A lot of the flavor baked out and this was a bad choice. The second time I used traditional blue cheese and the result was much better.
  3. Instead of an apricot jam, I made a quick apple jam. This was both to save money on jarred jam and apricots are out of season. However, this is baker-specific. Use the jam you prefer.

Let’s get started

Step 1: Put the flour, salt, yeast, and butter into a bowl, then rub the butter into the flour. The butter should be rubbed into small pieces. (If you do want to add rosemary, you can add 2tsp here.)

Step 2: Form a well in the center of the flour mix and then add the milk and beaten egg. Once mixed, take the dough out of the bowl and knead on a floured or oiled surface for 10 minutes. You are done kneading when the dough becomes stretchy and smooth.. If you prefer to use your mixer, attach the dough hook and mix at a low to medium speed for five minutes. When the dough is formed into a ball around the hook, you are done mixing.

Step 3: Place the dough in a bowl and cover with cling film or a shower cap until the dough is doubled. Between an hour and an hour and a half. While the dough is rising, line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Step 4: Once the dough has doubled, knock all the air out of the dough and place it on a lightly floured or oiled surface. Roll the dough into an 11x15in. (This is where the process is a lot like cinnamon rolls.) Evenly spread the tapenade and blue cheese across the dough. Once spread, roll the dough up like a cinnamon roll. You want this roll to be tight.

Step 5: Start about an inch from the top of the rolled-up dough and take a sharp knife and cut down the center. Because the top is intact, you should be able to make an A shape out of the dough. Then lift one side of the A and place it over the other A-side. Repeat the process, about five times. until you have formed a circle. Carefully place the dough on the tray, cover with cling wrap and allow to prove about 30 minutes.

Step 6: Once the second prove is complete, bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Let the bread cool. Warm up the jam in the microwave and brush the jam over the top of the bread.

Resources and recipe credit:

  • If you would like to see the original recipe click here.
  • If you would like to watch the video from Time to Eat click here.

Great British Baking Show Bake

Season 1, Episode 3,
Signature Olive Tapenade and Blue Cheese Crown Bread

I started watching Cooking with Nadiya at the start of the pandemic. I was on lockdown and our dog Hank was very sick. Because of these factors, I was watching more TV than ever.

Historically, I never watch cooking shows. Being a vegetarian I have never found a cooking show I enjoyed. However, in the preview, Nadiya made this egg sandwich that I wanted to know how to make it. Next thing I know I watched her entire series. I loved her sweet personality and I found her refreshing.

Flash forward two months and we said goodbye to our Hankie poo. Sad and wanting to tune out my feelings, I decided to watch Nadiya’s on The Great British Baking Show. One show turned into a season, the series, and now a blog. That’s how I came to think of Nadiya as my gateway drug into the world of baking.

For my first signature bread challenge. I am so excited to bake Nadiya’s Olive and Rosemary Crown Bread. I am happy to say that I loved this bread! It’s a rich, decadent, and show stopper for any table! (Or over a bottle of wine on a Sunday afternoon with one of my best friends. That’s how I enjoyed it). I hope you give it a try, it’s really worth the work.


Count: 8 down and 270 to go!

Crown Bread Ingredients and Equipment (with affiliate links)

Ingredients
* 250g bread flour
* 1tsp salt
* 7g instant yeast
* 50g unsalted butter
* 4.5oz warm milk
* 1 egg, beaten
* 4.5oz olive tapenade
* 5.5oz blue cheese
* 3 tbsp apricot or other fruit jam

Equipment
* “>KitchenAid Mixer (Optional)
* Baking sheet
* Pastry Mat (optional)


In the mood to bake something different? Try one of these instead.

* Perfect Biscuits
* Tres Leche Mango Cake
* Ugly Delicious Cinnamon Rolls

* Delicious Bread Bowls

Crown Bread

Nadiya Hussain’s Crown Bread (with a few twists)

Ruth Grindeland
Nadiya Hussain's delicious Crown Bread is easier to make than you might think. I will show you step by step how to make this savory and decadent bread!
4.8 from 5 votes
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Rising Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 45 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine French
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 250 g bread flour
  • 7 g yeast
  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4.5 oz warm milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4.5 oz olive tapenade
  • 5.5 oz blue cheese
  • 3 tbsp jam

Instructions
 

  • Put the flour, salt, yeast, and butter into a bowl, then rub the butter into the flour.
  • Form a well in the center of the flour mix and then add the milk and beaten egg.
  • Take the dough out of the bowl and knead on a lightly floured or oiled surface for 10 minutes. When the dough becomes stretchy and smooth you are done kneading.
    If you prefer to use a mixer, attach the dough hook and mix at a low to medium speed for five minutes. When the dough is formed into a ball around the hook, you are done.
  • Place the dough in a bowl and cover with cling film or a shower cap until the dough has doubled. Between an hour and an hour and a half.
  • While the dough is rising, line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Once the dough has doubled, knock all the air out of the dough and place it on a lightly floured or oiled surface.
  • Roll the dough into an 11x15in a rectangle.
  • Evenly spread the tapenade and blue cheese across the dough.
  • Tightly roll the dough up on the long (15in) side of the dough.
  • Start about an inch from the top of the rolled-up dough cut down the center of the dough. The dough should form an A shape with the top intact.
  • Lift one side of the A and place it over the other side of the A. Repeat the process, about five times. until you have formed a circle.
  • Carefully place the dough on the tray, cover with cling wrap and begin the second prove, about 30 minutes.
  • Once the second prove is complete, bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.
  • Place the bread on a rack and allow it to cool.
  • Warm the jam in the microwave and brush the jam over the top of the bread.
Keyword Bread, Couronne Bread, Crown Bread, Holiday baking, recipe, Wreath Bread
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!