I really do. It is just that I don't particularly like to clean up the kitchen. This past week, I hosted (along with six other women) a shower for a coworker.. Luckily, the party did not take place in our home.
For my contribution, I agreed to make the cake, and I made petit fours, instead of a traditional cake. Petit fours are most certainly, in my opinion, beautiful 'shower food' and perfect for an all-ladies event. They are delicate and seem to be the perfect size for a tiny bite of sweet.
I had never made petit fours before, so it was a great learning project for me, too. I did not have any luck finding a decent recipe online at my usual sources: www.allrecipes.com, or www.epicurious.com, or of course, www.marthastewart.com. . . . so I went to the best resource I have, my mom. She had a recipe and sent it along to me. I also found some great guidance in the "Joy of Cooking" so I was able to blend the two resources for a perfect outcome.
Essentially, you bake a thin layer of pound cake, fill it with pureed strawberry jam, glaze this with strawberry jam, and then glaze with a very thin vanilla frosting. (Traditionally, there will be fondant for a perfect smooth finish, but I just didn't have the time for fondant this week.)
Before deciding to make the petit fours, I had checked around with a number of bakeries in town to see what these little beauties cost. . . . and one source quoted a price of $4.29 each. I now know why. They are a ton of work. It really was a three evening process. I cleaned the kitchen multiple times and I am pretty sure that there is a fine glaze all over our kitchen that will take months to really clean up. I baked the cakes the first night, cooling, chilling, and slicing into strips. The second night, I warmed and pureed the jam, filled the strips, chilled them, then cut the strips into small squares, then chilled them again. The third day, that morning, I glazed the little cakes with the pureed jam, put them back in the refrigerator, came home at lunch and glazed each cake three times with the vanilla frosting/glaze. Just before the party, I decorated the cakes with pansies and other edible flowers. *I had great plans to decorate the petit fours with a firmer piped frosting for a very chic look, but I ran out of time. . .
Anyway, it was a ton of work, but the recipe was by far the best-tasting petit four I have ever eaten. I think generally, when we eat petit fours, we are eating a piece of cake that probably is two to three days old, and it is a little dry and stale. The jam helped retain the moisture, and these cake and frosting recipes were just plain delicious.
I have pictures forthcoming, and will post when I get them.