Every once in a while something comes along from Trader Joe’s that just blows my mind. I don’t know what I was expecting when I picked up Trader Joe’s Petit Fours Mousse Cakes the other day. I didn’t really have any idea what Petit Fours were. I just knew they originated from France and they were some type of little cakes. I’ve had so many disappointing cakes, cookies and other pastries from Trader Joe’s, that I can’t even count them. I don’t review many of them because they come and go so quickly.
What are Petit Fours?
Petit fours, a staple of French pastry, are small, bite-sized confections known for their delicate flavors and exquisite presentation. The name “petit four,” which translates to “small oven” in French, originates from the 19th-century baking technique where these pastries were traditionally baked in a small oven beside the main one. This method allowed for a more controlled and gentle baking process, ideal for these small cakes.
There are primarily two types of petit fours: “petit fours secs,” which include dry, biscuit-like items such as tuiles and palmiers, and “petit fours glacés,” which are iced or glazed with fondant. (This is what the Trader Joe’s Petit Fours are) The glacés variety is particularly popular, often comprising sponge cake, buttercream, jam, or marzipan, all encased in a smooth, glossy icing. These confections are meticulously decorated, frequently with piped icing, edible flowers, or delicate chocolate work, making them not just a treat for the palate but also a feast for the eyes. Served typically at tea time or as part of a dessert buffet, petit fours symbolize the pinnacle of French patisserie craftsmanship, combining intricate flavors and textures in a miniature, elegant form.
What is in the box?
There are nine Petit Fours in the clear plastic clamshell box. Three different types of cakes. You get three of these crazy little cakes of each of these types:
- Chocolate cake layered with chocolate mousse between the cake layers and covered in a dark chocolate coating. Let’s call it Death by Chocolate.
- Chocolate cake layered with coffee mousse and enrobed in a mocha coating topped with pieces of dark chocolate.
- Vanilla cake layered with vanilla mousse covered in a white chocolate coating and topped with pearl sugar.
To be sure, these little treats are completely over the top decadent. Each one clocks in at 140 calories. So, if you ate the whole box in one sitting, it would be 1250 calories! Three of them makes up enough calories for a whole meal at 420 calories! But we aren’t here to judge. These little cakes are worth every bite…
These little cakes are about 1″ by 1″ wide and about 1 1/2″ tall. When you pick them up, they are pretty dense. It’s the fondant that covers them that is so dense. This fondant is called “poured fondant” it’s a type of thick icing that is liquid and when it cools it quickly turns into a hard shell. As you can imagine, it’s nothing but sugar and oil and flavorings. I looked up a couple of recipes to make Petit Fours and you don’t want to try unless you have a decent amount of experience with cake making.
I think what makes these different than a lot of traditional Petit Fours is the fact that they have a layer of mousse on the top. Many are just cake and frosting covered in fondant.
Vanilla Petit Fours
Let’s start with the Vanilla one. I am a chocoholic, so the vanilla ones I knew are going to be my least favorite, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that these are also excellent and maybe dark chocolate isn’t your vibe and these might be your favorite. Anyway, These are vanilla cake with vanilla mousse between the layers and covered in white chocolate. When you cut into them you see the layers of yellow cake and white frosting and fondant. You can smell the vanilla and white chocolate quite easily. These Petit Fours just melt in your mouth and the white chocolate is a perfect match for the vanilla flavors. The pearl sugar crystals give a nice crunch when you eat them. I’m not a huge white chocolate fan so I am only giving these 8 out of 10 Bells!
Coffee and Mocha Petit Fours
The middle one in the picture below is the coffee/mocha Petit Fours with dark chocolate sprinkles on top. The cake is chocolate flavored and the mousse is coffee flavored and the fondant is mocha flavored. I really, really liked these. Coffe and Mocha and Chocolate all go so well together and this is a perfect match of the three. It just melts in your mouth and the flavors are wonderful. I give this one 9 out of ten Bells!
Chocolate Chocolate Petit Fours
Have you ever had a Death by Chocolate cake? Well, this is very similar. Chocolate cake, layered with chocolate mousse icing and then covered in a dark chocolate fondant. So rich and decadent. As much as I liked the other two, this one is my favorite. As I mentioned, I am a chocoholic and I don’t think you can put too much chocolate into something. Again, the combination of chocolate cake, mousse, and fondant is over the top crazy good. 10 out of 10 bells!
Final Tasting Notes and Score
First, I forgot to mention these are Kosher as marked with the K on the front of the package.
We brought these to a dinner party last weekend just for fun. I wanted to see everyone’s reaction. The host brought them out after dinner cut in half so everyone could get a piece of all of them. People went absolutely nuts for them. They were gone in several minutes. They were all going to Trader Joe’s to buy them on their next trip.
I don’t know how long they will be in the store, probably just through December then they be gone. I highly recommend that you get them if you like desserts like this. I am not pastry expert and I am sure fresh from a real French bakery might make these a pale comparison, but the fact that they can make these in bulk and get them to a store and have them taste so good is a feat of food engineering. Bravo, Trader Joe’s!
Sugar, Powdered sugar (sugar, cornstarch), white chocolatey coating (sugar, palm kernel oil, skim milk powder, sunflower lecithin, natural flavor), unbleached enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Palm oil, Water, Egg, Soybean oil, dark chocolatey coating (sugar, palm kernel oil, cocoa powder processed with alkali, sunflower lecithin), cocoa powder processed with alkali, Butter (cream), Cream, dark chocolate (sugar, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa powder processed with alkali, cocoa butter, sunflower lecithin, glucose syrup [corn, wheat], natural flavor), Salt, natural flavors, Baking Powder ( Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Cornstarch, Monocalcium Phosphate), Coffee powder, Baking Soda, enzymes.
- CONTAINS MILK, EGG, SOY, WHEAT.