Lemon Fondant Fancies

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A batch of classic lemon fondant fancies! There’s a lemon sponge, marzipan, vanilla buttercream & fondant icing, all in a bitesize treat.

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lemon fondant fancies

These lemon fondant fancies are a fun baking project! They do take a fair amount of time to prepare but they are actually surprisingly easy to make and the results are definitely worth it!

Our homemade fondant fancies feature a light lemon & almond sponge, a thin layer of marzipan, a blob of vanilla buttercream, a coating of lemon fondant icing & a drizzle of dark chocolate. A tasty, bitesize treat that’s perfect served as part of an afternoon tea or as a snack.

What Are Fondant Fancies

Fondant fancies (sometimes called French fancies) are small squares of cake coated in fondant icing & often contain layers of buttercream, jam or marzipan. These were brought to supermarkets in the UK by Mr Kipling in the 20th century & are still sold today.

Our homemade, lemon fondant fancies are fairly traditional & consist of;

  • Lemon & Almond Sponge
  • Marzipan
  • Vanilla Buttercream
  • Lemon Fondant Icing
  • Dark Chocolate

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • They’re a fun baking project!
    These fondant fancies do take a bit of time & effort to make but they’re easy to make & super tasty.
  • They make a great addition to an afternoon tea.
    These cakes are bitesize so they are the perfect size for an afternoon tea or snack.
  • The flavour & colour can be easily changed!
    You could swap the lemon out for orange, change the icing to a different colour or use a different type of chocolate for the top.
lemon fondant fancies layers

Ingredients Used For Lemon Fondant Fancies

  • Lemons
    The main flavour of these cakes. We’re using the zest in the sponge & the juice, in the fondant icing. A small amount of lemon curd is also used in the sponge, for some extra flavour.
  • Almonds
    To flavour our fondant fancies, we are using 3 types of almond. Ground almonds & almond extract are used in the sponge & a thin layer of marzipan is used to top the cakes.
  • Butter
    To give our cakes the best flavour, we are using butter as the fat in the sponge. Using unsalted butter in both the cakes & buttercream also allows us to control the salt content.
  • Sugar
    We need 3 types of sugar for this recipe. Fondant icing sugar for the icing, regular icing sugar for the buttercream & caster sugar for the sponge.
  • Self Raising Flour
    We’re using self raising flour & a small amount of baking powder in our sponge. This gives the cake just the right amount of rise.
  • Eggs
    We need 3 large eggs for our cake batter. If you’re using small eggs, use an extra one.
  • Fondant Icing Sugar
    We’re making our icing with fondant icing sugar. This is different to regular icing sugar because it also contains dried glucose syrup. This is what gives the icing its’ shine.
  • Vanilla
    A small amount of vanilla bean paste is used to flavour our buttercream. A good quality vanilla makes all the difference here.
marzipan fancies

How To Make Lemon Fondant Fancies

A note on baking tins.
For these cakes we’re using the same sponge recipe as in my Battenberg recipe. We are also using a Battenberg tin to cook it in. These can be picked up online or you could use a baking tin measuring 6″x8″. To prep the tin, remove the dividers then grease & line with baking parchment.

Step 1 – Making The Sponge

The first step when making the sponge is to rub the lemon zest into the sugar. This releases the oils from the zest, adding extra flavour. Next, beat the lemony sugar with softened butter until light & fluffy. This will take a good 5 minutes in a stand mixer.

We then beat in the eggs, one at a time then sieve in the flour, salt & baking powder & add in ground almonds, vanilla & almond extract. This is folded into the mixture then lemon curd is stirred through.

We then bake the sponge at 180°c/160°c fan (355°f/320°f) for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake, comes out clean.

Once baked, we leave the cake to cool in the tin for 30 minutes. Next, we use a serrated knife to trim the cake level with the top of the tin. Then we transfer the cake to a cooling rack, to cool completely.

To make cutting the cake easier, once it is cool, we place it in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.

Step 2 – Marzipan Layer

Next up, is the marzipan layer. But before topping the sponge, we need to trim the top flat with a serrated knife, making sure that is level.

Next, we roll white marzipan into a rectangle that is slightly bigger than our cake & roughly 3mm thick. Then we brush warm apricot jam over the top of the sponge & place the marzipan on top, pressing down lightly, to stick.

This is then returned to the fridge for another 20-30 minutes, whilst we make the buttercream.

marzipan layer

Step 3 – Making The Buttercream

To make the buttercream, we beat softened butter & vanilla paste in a stand mixer until well mixed in. We then sift in icing sugar & a pinch of salt, mix to combine then add a splash of milk & continue mixing until light & fluffy.

Now we take half of the buttercream & place into a piping bag. The other half is transferred to a bowl.

Step 4 – Buttercream Layer

Next, we need to trim the sponge, so that the cake & marzipan are level with each other & the edges are straight. Then we can cut the cake into 3-4cm wide squares & place them onto a lined baking tray.

Now, using a palette knife, we spread a thin, even layer of buttercream onto the 4 vertical sides on each square of cake. We then pipe a 1cm wide blob of buttercream on top of each piece of marzipan, using a finger to smooth the top out, if necessary.

The cakes are then returned to the fridge for another 15-20 minutes, to set the buttercream.

Step 5 – Making The Fondant Icing

Whilst the buttercream is setting, we make the fondant icing. To do this, we sift fondant icing sugar into a mixing bowl & add in 3 tbsp of lemon juice.

We then add in a small amount of cold water and whisk to make a smooth, thick icing. Finally, we mix in enough food colouring to turn the icing a vibrant yellow colour.

Step 6 – Icing The Cakes

Before icing, we need to line a baking tray with baking parchment then place a cooling rack on top. The squares of cakes are then placed onto the rack. Doing this means that any icing that drips off the cakes can be poured back into the bowl, if needed.

Next, we pour enough fondant icing over each cake, to cover completely. We want the coating of icing to be fairly thick, so we might need to do 2 layers. But make sure that the first layer is set before pouring over more icing!

Once the cakes are all coated in icing, we leave them to set at room temperature. This will only take 5-10 minutes, so no need to put them in the fridge (they might lose their shine if you do!).

Step 7 – Chocolate Drizzle

The last step is the chocolate drizzle. To do this, we melt dark chocolate & leave to cool slightly. Then we transfer this to a piping bag & pipe lines of chocolate over the top of each cake.

Once the chocolate is set, the cakes can be carefully removed from the cooling rack & transferred to a serving plate.

yellow lemon fondant icing

How To Store Fondant Fancies

These fondant fancies are best served at room temperature & within a day or two of being made. If your kitchen is too hot for them to sit out, they can be stored in the fridge but will need to sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Make sure to store them in an airtight container.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to use marzipan?

If you’d prefer not to use marzipan, feel free! The fondant fancies will taste great either way.

How thick should the fondant icing be?

The fondant icing should be thick enough to coat the cakes but thin enough to be poured. When making the icing, I’d recommend adding the 3 tbsp of lemon juice & 2 tbsp of water to the sugar, to begin with then adding an extra teaspoon or two of water, if needed.

Can I use a different food colouring?

Absolutely! The icing can be made with any food colouring.

Can the fondant fancies be made in advance?

These cakes are best served within a day or two of being made & should be served at room temperature.

Cooking Fondant Fancies In An Aga

With all of my recipes, I include cooking instructions for conventional ovens, fan ovens & also Agas.

To cook the sponge in an Aga, place the tin of batter onto a baking tray then cook on the bottom set of runners in the baking oven.

chocolate drizzle

Equipment Used

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Lemon Fondant Fancies

A batch of classic lemon fondant fancies! There's a lemon sponge, marzipan, vanilla buttercream & fondant icing, all in a bitesize treat.
Prep Time1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Chilling Time2 hours
Total Time4 hours
Course: Afternoon Tea, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: English, French
Servings: 12 Cakes
Author: Ben Racey

Equipment

  • Battenberg Tin
  • Stand Mixer
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Sieve
  • Wire Cooling Rack
  • Piping Bags
  • Palette Knife

Ingredients

Lemon & Almond Sponge

  • 180 g Unsalted Butter Softened
  • 180 g Caster Sugar
  • 2 Lemons Zested
  • 3 Large Eggs Room Temperature
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Essence
  • 1/2 tsp Almond Extract
  • 150 g Self Raising Flour
  • 50 g Ground Almonds
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Table Salt
  • 25 g Lemon Curd

Marzipan Layer

  • 300 g White Marzipan
  • 1 tbsp Apricot Jam

Vanilla Buttercream

  • 125 g Unsalted Butter Softened
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Paste
  • 230 g Icing Sugar Sifted
  • A Pinch Of Table Salt
  • 2 tbsp Whole Milk

Fondant Icing

  • 500 g Fondant Icing Sugar Sifted
  • 3 tbsp Lemon Juice Sieved
  • Cold Water
  • Yellow Food Colouring

Chocolate Drizzle

  • 40 g Dark Chocolate

Instructions

  • Preheat an oven to 180°c/160°c fan (355°f/320°f).
  • Grease & line a 6" x 8" Battenberg tin with baking parchment (see notes).
  • Place the sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer then rub in the lemon zest. Add in the softened butter then use the paddle attachment to beat until light & fluffy, around 4-5 minutes.
  • With the mixer running on a medium speed, beat in the eggs one at a time.
  • Sift together the flour, salt & baking powder then fold into the batter along with the ground almonds, vanilla & almond extract.
  • Once mixed, fold in the lemon curd.
  • Transfer the cake batter into your lined baking tin & smooth the top over with a palette knife.
  • Place the tin onto a baking tray & bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until risen & a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  • Leave to cool in the tin for 30 minutes then use a sharp, serrated knife to trim the top of the cake so that it is level with the top of the tin.
  • Carefully remove the cake from the tin then peel off the baking parchment & transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Once cool, place the cake in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
    This makes trimming the cake easier!

Marzipan Layer

  • If necessary, use a sharp, serrated knife to give the top of the sponge another trim, making sure to keep it flat.
  • Next, dust a worksurface with icing sugar then using a rolling pin, roll the marzipan out into a large rectangle. It should be slightly bigger than your cake & around 3mm thick.
  • Gently warm the apricot jam up, to soften (in the microwave or on the stove) then brush over the top of the sponge.
  • Brush off any excess icing sugar from the marzipan then carefully place on top of the sponge, pressing down lightly to stick (the marzipan should overhang the cake's edges slightly).
    Return the cake to the fridge for another 20-30 minutes, whilst you make the buttercream.

Buttercream

  • Place the softened butter & vanilla paste into the bowl of a stand mixer & beat with the paddle attachment until fluffy & well combined, 1-2 minutes.
  • Next, add in the sifted icing sugar & salt then mix to combine.
  • Pour in the milk & mix on a medium speed until the buttercream is light & fluffy.
  • Transfer half of the buttercream to a piping bag & half to a bowl then set aside.

Buttercream Layer

  • Take the cake out of the fridge & trim the edges so that the sponge & marzipan are level.
  • Next, cut the sponge into 3-4cm wide squares. You should get at least 12. Place the cakes onto a lined baking tray.
  • Using a palette knife, spread a thin, even layer of buttercream over the 4 vertical sides on each square of cake.
  • Cut the end off the piping bag & pipe a 1cm wide blob of buttercream on top of the marzipan on each cake. Use a finger to smooth out the buttercream, if necessary.
  • Return the cakes to the fridge for 15-20 minutes, to set the buttercream.

Fondant Icing

  • Place the sifted fondant icing sugar into a mixing bowl, along with the lemon juice. Add in 2 tbsp of cold water then whisk to make a smooth, thick icing.
    If the icing is too thick, whisk in more water, a little at a time. It should be thick but still pourable.
  • Add in enough yellow food colouring, to turn the icing a vibrant yellow colour then set aside.

Icing

  • Line a baking tray with baking parchment then place a wire cooling rack on top.
  • Transfer the cakes to the cooling rack then pour fondant icing over each one, so that they are coated in a thick layer. Leave to set at room temperature.
    You might need to give the cakes a second coating of icing, to get a good, thick layer. Make sure the first layer is set before pouring over more icing.
    If you need to reuse any icing, carefully lift the baking paper off the tray & pour the icing back into the bowl it came from.
  • Whilst the icing is setting, warm the dark chocolate up (in a microwave or over a bain marie) until just melted then leave to cool slightly.
  • Once the fondant icing has fully set, transfer the cooled, melted chocolate to a piping bag then pipe thin lines over the top of each cake. Leave to set then transfer the cakes to a plate, to serve.

Notes

To cook in an Aga, bake the sponge in the baking oven on the bottom set of runners.
For the sponge in these fondant fancies, we’re using the same recipe as is used for my lemon battenberg. We’re also using a battenberg tin to cook it in. These can be picked up cheaply online. If you don’t have a battenberg tin, you’ll need a baking tin that measures 6″ x 8″.
This recipe makes at least 12 fondant fancies. There might also be some buttercream leftover which can be served with any cake trimmings.
The fondant fancies are best eaten within 1-2 days of being made & should be kept in an airtight container. Make sure to serve them at room temperature.

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