Blackcurrant and mint make a truly wonderful combination, and used together here you get what I think are particularly vibrant and refreshing treats.
These fondant fancies (yes, another fondant fancy flavour – not that I have an addiction to fondant fancies, you understand!), are light and so tangy, with just a hint of mint. If you are not a fan of mint, simply leave it out: the cakes will still taste wonderful.
These cakes are coloured and flavoured naturally: I used some frozen blackcurrants that I puréed with a little water. I have also made this particular fondant icing before using tinned blackcurrants (the ones that come in a light syrup), and it works excellently.
The colour you get from the blackcurrants is stunning. I think it has become one of my favourite colours.
A new way to coat the sponge
When I make fondant fancies I usually go for spreading the soft buttercream around the frozen cubes of sponge (much easier doing this on a frozen cake – and the freezing does not affect the quality of the sponge). I then pour over the runny fondant icing.
However, I now adopt an even quicker and easier approach which is to melt the buttercream in the microwave until it is just runny, let it cool a little and then and pour this over the frozen cubes of sponge. The buttercream firms up almost easily to a smooth finish: much easier than spreading the buttercream around.
Recipe: blackcurrant and mint fondant fancies – makes 15
- 3 large free-range eggs, at room temperature
- 100g caster sugar
- 100g self-raising flour, sifted
- 35g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 300g very soft unsalted butter
- 140g icing sugar (there is no need to sift it)
- 40ml milk
- a few mint leaves, roughly chopped
Blackcurrant fondant icing:
- 500g fondant icing sugar
- a few tablespoons of blackcurrant purée (and some of its juice to mix if using a tin of blackcurrants)
- about 50g melted chocolate – any type
- fresh blackcurrants, optional
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) Preheat the oven to 160C(fan).
(2) Whisk the eggs and sugar 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 squares.
NB: the cubes of cake can now be frozen, wrapped in an airtight bag, until needed
(5) For the buttercream, heat the milk until it just simmers and remove from the heat. Add the mint leaves and elave to infuse until the milk is cold. Strain.
(6)Make the buttercream by beating the butter and icing sugar together until very smooth. Beat in the mint-infused milk a little at a time until smooth.
(7) Remove a couple of tablespoons on the buttercream for the “bobble” on top and heat the rest in the microwave until it just becomes runny. It shouldn’t be that warm at all, but let it cool a little if it is. Pour it over the frozen cake cubes: it will set firm almost immediately. Spoon or pipe a small amount on top from the reserved buttercream. Chill or pop back in the freezer until needed.
(8) Make the fondant by mixing the icing sugar with enough of the blackcurrant purée (and a little of the syrup if using tinned blackcurrants) to give a smooth and 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. If you are using fresh or frozen blackcurrants, you can add water if needed to get to the right consistency.
NB: if the icing goes too runny, you can add more icing sugar or give the fancies an extra coat. See below.
(9) 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, 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.
(10) Leave at room temperature for about 30 minutes and then finish however you want. Once made, keep them at room temperature in an airtight container.