Fondant Fancies & Afternoon Tea Party

pink and purple fondant fancies in cupcake cases artistic photography mary berry recipe

In case you didn’t hear already, it was MY BIRTHDAY this week! Not that I get at all excited… 😉

I’d decided on an afternoon tea party to celebrate, but what else. After hosting at home last year, this year a very lovely friend offered to hold it ar her house. She told me I was under no obligation to make anything but could if I so wanted. How well she knows me!

After being thrust into the spotlight after featuring on Season 3 of The Great British Bake Off, shown at the end of last year, I’d been wanting to make fondant fancies for a while, but, to be honest, wasn’t sure I was up to the challenge! Well, no time like the present, and they are so perfect for a tea party.

All roads seem to lead back to Mary Berry’s fondant fancy recipe, and I’m really not one to dispute. However a 4 egg cake seemed like rather a lot and a bit more than needed for an afternoon tea, when there are so many kinds of cake to be sampled. So – I scaled it down a little, and made a few adjustments at points I disagreed with – marzipan? No need! Buttercream? The butter/icing sugar ratio didn’t seem right!

Recipe (makes about 10 fancies)

Sponge cake base

120g butter
120g sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon milk
120g self raising flour
flavouring – I used 1 teaspoon of lemon juice

Simply beat all the items into smooth mixture, and spoon into the tin. To make one large cake (and cut into squares afterwards), about a 10 – 15 cm square tin would be ideal, however I used a teeny little shortcut and checker-boarded my alphabet and number cake pan so that the cakes bake in their own tiny little squares. It took them around 15 minutes at 180 to cook like this.

fondant fancy recipe review mary berry cake pan with small squares sponge mixture

I paid for my shortcut ever so slightly when it came to taking them out after baking – 10 little squares all stuck on every side (despite some good tin greasing before they went in!) It took a good 5 minutes, and a very thin knife-like spatula,  to carefully prize all the little sponges away from the square blocks of the tin.

sponge squares for fondant fancies easing out of the tin


50g butter
100g icing sugar
flavouring – again I used lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon

Once beaten together I set aside a small amount in a piping bag, putting in the fridge to firm up slightly. At this stage I chose to skip the marzipan and apricot jam Mary Berry’s recipe uses – sponge, buttercream and fondant seems a good enough combination as is!

With the remaining buttercream, I covered the 4 sides and top in a thin, smooth layer. Then, with the refrigerated icing, I piped small circular buttercream blobs onto the top of each cake.

fondant fancies recipe buttercream crumb coat piping stiff refrigerated buttercream blob on the top

Whilst the cakes were setting in the fridge, I set to the fondant.

Fondant covering

400g fondant icing (ready to roll)
flavouring and colouring
chocolate, to decorate

The fondant I used was already quite soft, and I broke it down into small chunks, placing into my stand mixer. Adding only a little water (30-50ml), I set the mixer off on a slow speed, and helped to break down the pieces by squashing with a spatula. More water can be added if needed!

making liquid fondant for fancies break into small pieces using stand mixer

Relatively quickly the fondant broke down into a paste, but I had to speed up the mixer and let it run for a good few minutes in order to get it completely smooth and free-flowing. It had an odd texture a little like melted marshmallows!

liquid fondant for fancies glossy shiny icing

After seeing the disastrous attempts at dipping the cakes into the fondant on the GBBO, I decided this method resolutely was not for me. Instead, after colouring the fondant (split in half, pink and purple, my favourite colours) , I placed the cakes on a wire rack, on top of a baking tray covered with cling film, drizzling the fondant over them.

drizzling liquid fondant over fancies sponge cake using wire rack with cling film to avoid mess

A little gentle coaxing with a teaspoon was all it took to ensure the sides of the cakes were all perfectly covered in fondant.

fondant fancies covered in icing pink coloured dripping onto wire rack with cling film

Placing the wire rack over a tray worked a treat – it caught all the drips and the clingfilm was easily taken off afterwards for a super-quick clear-up!

pink and purple fondant fancies covered in icing recipe mary berry

The final step – icing on the cake if you like! – thin lines of chocolate, drizzled across from a piping bag.

drizzling milk chocolate onto fondant fancies pink and purple pastel colours

My only final dispute with Mary’s recipe is the timing. 30 – 60 minutes cooking, ok. 30 – 60 minutes preparation? I don’t think so! It took me at least a couple of hours to do everything from start to finish, including cooling times, edging in buttercream, and I only made half as many as the original recipe suggested! The other point not mentioned is drying time – I left the cakes in the pantry overnight and they were only just dry, the fondant does take a long time to set.

Next morning – using one of my great birthday presents, a light and photo studio, the cakes had their own photo shoot.

photography studio baking blog plain background stand up lights birthday presents

And they looked amazing!

finished fondant fancies from mary berry recipe omitted marzipan baby pink and lilac purple chocolate stripes

For a finishing touch, I placed the cakes in some complementing pink and purple cupcake wrappers, pinched at the edges to make a square shape to fit. And adorned with shoes and handbags – so very me, perfect for my birthday party!

fondant fancies in pink and purple shoe and handbag print cupcake cases

pink and purple fondant fancy from mary berry recipe shoe and handbag cupcake case

And afternoon tea? Well, where do I start! The fancies were great little jewels atop the cake stands, but not forgetting fab finger sandwiches, crunchy chocolate fridge cake, mega mini meringues, and wonderful warm freshly-baked scones, all washed down with a glass of bubbles and plenty of tea 🙂

happy birthday jen scottie dog chalkboard bright flowers afternoon tea

afternoon tea champagne fondant fancy meringue with berries finger sandwiches

afternoon tea cake stand fondant fancies chocolate cake finger sandwiches homemade

More cake you say? Look at my AMAZING birthday cake – a black forest gateau of a cake and sooo delicious – complete with name candle sparklers!

jen name sparklers for birthday cake chocolate with silver and gold sprinkles

(Oh yes, we did set the fire alarms off…)

sparklers on birthday cake afternoon tea chocolate

It was such a lovely afternoon – my tummy is still full of all the yummy, yummy cake. A great end to my birthday celebrations and thank you so much to my lovely friends that made it happen. Mwah! x

jen birthday afternoon tea champagne fondant fancies finger sandwiches meringues thumbs up

18 thoughts on “Fondant Fancies & Afternoon Tea Party

  1. All I can say is you’re a braver baker than me! After seeing the fondant fancies on TGBBO there is no way I’m in any hurry to attempt to make them. They look so intricate and delicate! And messy and deeelicious! I just wish I was at your birthday tea so I could enjoy your ones too.

    p.s. Lucky you to get a photo studio for your b-day. What a fab gift! Did I wish you a happy birthday? by the way? If not “Happy Birthday!” x


  2. These are so pretty! What a great birthday celebration. I think I’m just going to skip mine this year. It’s a biggie. Happy Birthday!


    • It’s actually a number pan – you can use it for letters as well, I love it! It only cost about £20 from ebay and is so worth the money for how much you can make with it 🙂


  3. Good JOB!!!! They look lush!
    I bought exactly the same photo booth ages ago and can recommend buying in a stock of the bulbs – even a slight tap and they pop! Try positioning (or holding) a lamp above too, if you can, it really improves the light…
    Again, lush fancies! moo x


    • Thanks! I love my little studio and thanks for the lights tip. They do get a bit hot so I try and turn them off with their little switch whenever I’m setting up a shot. Have you used the coloured insert cloths? I can’t bring myself to get the creases out! xx


      • I used the black one, but it drives me mad ironing them! The white one’s perfect – it reflects the light so well you mightn’t need to use the others much. I tried buying nice fabric and attaching little pieces of velcro to the corners so I could use them too – that worked quite well. Actually, since I moved house I haven’t had it out… 😦 In fact, it’s probably packed away somewhere still! Looking forward to seeing more of your pics using it…


      • Ok I will brave getting the iron on them! I like the fabric idea, might give that a try. A lot of my old posts use wallpaper samples as backdrops, so I might cut some of them to size to fit in as well. Endless possibilities!
        Don’t think mine will ever get shut away… I love it for being able to take pictures with clear backgrounds without having to clear up the kitchen first!! x


  4. Pingback: Birthday Afternoon Tea Party | bakearama

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