Bake Break: Petit Fours

A holiday tradition in my family entails going down to my aunt and uncle's for Christmas Eve. They live in a beautiful late eighteenth-century house out in York, Maine, where I once spent a summer as a research fellow during graduate school. It's a home that has always exuded warmth and welcome, so it's the ideal place for holiday gatherings.

This year my mother wanted to bring something fancier to the party, so she asked me to make some petit fours. I'd never made them myself, but that's never stopped me from trying something new, so after reading a few recipes I plunged into the project.

I started by making some basic vanilla cakes. Ideally a drier recipe should have been used, as it would have held its shape better when I cut it, but I wanted something that would take good, so I went with good old yellow cake.
From there I decided the cakes into pieces. In retrospect I should have frozen the cakes first, as this makes them easier to cut and frost, but instead I waited until it had cooled to room temperature.
Traditionally petit fours have a jam or jelly filling, but I opted for Nutella to get that classic vanilla and chocolate flavor. Plus Nutella is delicious.
I then reassembled my cut pieces, turning them into giant cake sandwiches.
Once I had assembled the cake sandwiches, I cut them into bite-size pieces vaguely reminiscent of squares.
Now it was time to make the icing. I was going for a red color appropriate to the holiday season, but I ended up getting pink instead. Oh well, it's related to red.

In the original recipe I was supposed to take a spoon and drizzle the icing over the cakes, but I found this method to be highly messy and inefficient, so I stuck wooden skewers into them instead and dunked them in the icing.
After I had dunked the cakes, I decorated them with piping icing, covering some with green decorations and others with purple.

These petit fours won't win any beauty contests, but they sure were tasty. The funny thing is that there ended up being so much food at Christmas Eve that these weren't touched at all, but my mother froze them and has been enjoying them intermittently throughout the winter and early spring, so they didn't go to waste.