Orange and passionfruit fondant fancies

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A shop-bought fondant fancy is very much a guilty pleasure of mine, but they are fun to make. And of course when making them you can go for whatever flavour you want, going for flavours that are not sold in the shops!

Fruity, tangy and fragrant, these fondant fancies have a light orange sponge and a tangy orange buttercream that dissolves on the tongue, all enrobed in a passionfruit fondant icing.

The sponge!

Whenever I make fondant fancies, I vary between using a Victoria Sandwich mixture as the cake component and using a whisked sponge.

The whisked sponge, which I have used here, gives a lighter, more melt-in-the-mouth fancy, but it is really down to personal preference.

The icings

Buttercream:

While I love to ring the changes with the flavours, one thing that I never change is the buttercream “bobble” on top – a homage to the commercial fondant fancies, and very much one of the highlights of a fondant fancy for me!

For fruity fondant fancies, beating fruit curd into the buttercream gives a wonderful flavour, but you can use freshly squeezed fruit juice or fruit powders. However, when adding any liquid to buttercream, add it a little at a time so as not to split or curdle the buttercream*.

Top tip: if the buttercream looks as if it is splitting, beat in a little melted and cooled white chocolate: this acts as an excellent stabilizer

Fondant:

For the fondant icing, I tend use use powdered fondant icing sugar which I make up with fresh fruit juice. You need to make up more than you might think as a lot of it will pour into the tray below the fancies, but you can simply scoop that up and pour back over to get the thickness you want.

You can use the firm, roll-out fondant icing, but you need to melt it slowly and gently to become a liquid, which then needs to cool fully before pouring over. However, the fondant icing sugar is much less of a faff!

Flavour tips & variations

The sponge: use lemon, lime or grapefruit zest instead of orange. Or for chocolate fancies, use 45g flour and 20g cocoa powder, sifted together. Depending on the flavour you are going for, you could also add a few finely chopped or crushed nuts, coffee, dried raspberry or strawberry pieces…..

The buttercream: for a great flavour, beat a few tablespoons of orange curd into the butter and icing sugar. Other fruit curds work just as well.

Fondant icing: add a tablespoon or so of dried fruit powder for a more intense fruity flavour. Or use juice from a carton: pineapple or mixed fruit juices are wonderful here – just go for unsweetened ones.

For even more special fondant fancies, try my pina colada fancies: fold 1-2 tablespoons toasted coconut into the sponge mixture, along with the finely grated zest of 2 limes. Flavour the buttercream with lime juice and a splash of rum, and use pineapple juice to make up the fondant icing.

Getting ahead: they freeze beautifully – which helps when it comes to icing!

As the sponge is very delicate, when buttercream is spread over it you can get crumbs coming off. One way round is to make the sponge a day before so that it has time to firm up a little. However, I tend to make the sponge way ahead, cut it into cubes and freeze it, making it easier to coat with the buttercream.

Once coated with buttercream, they can then be popped back in the freezer until you want to coat them in the fondant icing.

If you feel the buttercream is not smooth, a knife dipped in warm water and rubbed lightly over the frozen buttercream will smoothen off any rough bits!

Recipe: orange & passionfruit fondant fancies – makes 15

Orange sponge:

  • 3 large free-range eggs, at room temperature
  • 100g caster sugar
  • finely grated zest of 1 large orange
  • 100g self-raising flour, sifted
  • 35g unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Orange buttercream:

  • 100g very soft unsalted butter
  • 80g icing sugar (there is no need to sift it)
  • juice of up to 1 large orange

Passionfruit fondant icing:

  • 500g fondant icing sugar
  • juice of 5 passionfruit
  • a few tablespoons cold water or orange juice, if needed
  • a little food colouring, optional

To finish – any one or more of:

  • about 50g melted dark or white chocolate
  • candied oranges/candied orange peel, thinly sliced or finely chopped
  • cake sprinkles
  • edible silver or gold balls
  • grated chocolate

You will also need a small rectangular cake tin about 17cm by 25cm (a brownie tin is ideal), greased and then lined with greaseproof.

(1) Pre-heat the oven to 160C(fan).

(2) Whisk the eggs, sugar and orange zest for about 5 minutes until the mixture increases in volume and becomes very light, moussey and thick: when you lift the whisk out, it will leave a trail that slowly disappears back into the mixture.

(3) Fold the flour gently into the egg mixture, ensuring there are no pockets of flour. When this has almost been done, pour the butter around the edge of the bowl and fold this in until there are no streaks of butter.

(4) Pour the mixture into the tin, level off and bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown on top and just shrinking from the edges. Cool for 5 minutes in the tin before inverting onto a wire rack to cool fully. Remove the greaseproof and cut into 15 cubes.

NB: the cubes of cake can now be frozen, wrapped in an airtight bag, until needed

(5) Make the buttercream by beating the butter and icing sugar together for a few minutes. Add the orange juice, a little at a time, beating well to give a very soft buttercream: it needs to be soft so that when spread over the cake, the cake does not crumble, although it is easier applying the buttercream to frozen cake cubes.

(6) Spread the buttercream around the 4 vertical sides and on top, smoothing off as much as possible. Spoon or pipe a small amount on top. Chill or pop back in the freezer until needed. NB: you can smooth the buttercream further once chilled or frozen with a knife dipped in warm water.

(7) Make the fondant by mixing the icing sugar with the passionfruit juice to give a smooth mixture. Add enough water or orange juice if needed, a little at a time, to give a fairly thick icing that pours off the spoon slowly but surely rather than pours off immediately: when you lift a spoon out of the icing, the trail slowly vanishes into the icing within a few seconds.

NB: if the icing goes too runny, you can add more icing sugar or give the fancies an extra coat. See below.

(8) Place the chilled buttercreamed cakes apart on a wire rack, with a tray or a sheet of greaseproof underneath to catch the drips. Spoon or ladle the fondant icing over each, making sure the top and sides are covered. Scoop up the icing that has dripped onto the greaseproof below to re-use if necessary.

NB: if you feel you don’t have a thick enough coat – and the icing shouldn’t be too thick – leave the fancies for about 30 minutes at room temperature until the icing starts to set on top and then spoon over another layer of fondant.

(9) Leave at room temperature for about 30 minutes and then finish however you want. Once made, keep them at room temperature.

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