Pina colada fondant fancies

These miniature cakes are my homage to the classic pina colada – my favourite cocktail. Seriously, I never tire of this cocktail!

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A fondant fancy is a thing of great joy, and always transport me back to childhood – albeit without the rum in this case! Every time I have made these fondant fancies they have gone very quickly: always a heart-warming feeling, although I have to say I can easily work my way through more than my fair share of them!

The key elements to these fondant fancies are:

  • coconut and lime sponge
  • lime and rum buttercream
  • pineapple flavoured fondant icing

I have also topped each with a little toasted coconut and a piece of dehydrated pineapple.

The sponge

Whenever I make fondant fancies I vary between making a Victoria Sandwich sponge and a whisked sponge. It really depends on how I feel at the time, but I am a sucker for the lightness you get with a whisked sponge – which I have gone for here.

I like a splash of rum over the sponge: not so much that the sponge becomes sodden, but enough to give that lovely kick.

The icings


I love tangy buttercreams: they add a certain frisson to the mouth and cut through both the sweetness and the richness.

This is a standard buttercream, made up in minutes, into which fresh lime juice and a splash of white rum have been beaten. The rum is optional – well, a virgin pina colada is perfectly acceptable! – but I do like the kick the rum brings here.

You do need to add the lime and/or rum slowly to the buttercream, beating it very well to prevent it splitting*

*Top tip: if the buttercream looks as if it is splitting, beat in a little melted and cooled white chocolate: this acts as an excellent stabilizer


For the fondant icing, I tend use use powdered fondant icing sugar which I make up with fresh pineapple juice. You need to make up more than you might think as a lot of it will pour into the tray below the fancies, but you can simply scoop that up and pour back over to get the thickness you want.

Getting ahead: they freeze beautifully – which helps when it comes to icing!

I tend to make the sponge way ahead, cut it into cubes and freeze it, making it easier to coat the frozen cakes with the buttercream.

For coating with buttercream, I now tend to melt most of the buttercream until just runny, reserving the rest for the bobble on top. Give it a good mix and pour over the frozen cakes: it sets almost instantly and smoothly – much quicker and easier than spreading over each side!

Once coated with buttercream, they can then be popped back in the freezer until you want to coat them in the fondant icing.

Recipe: pina colada fondant fancies – makes 15

Coconut & lime sponge:

  • 3 large free-range eggs, at room temperature
  • 100g caster sugar
  • finely grated zest of 3 limes
  • 100g self-raising flour, sifted
  • 35g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 20g desiccated coconut
  • a few tablespoons of rum of choice, optional

Lime and rum buttercream:

  • 300g very soft unsalted butter
  • 100g icing sugar (there is no need to sift it)
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 2-3 tablespoons rum of choice, optional

Pineapple fondant icing:

  • 500g fondant icing sugar
  • pineapple juice to mix
  • a little food colouring, optional

To finish – any one or more of:

  • about 50g melted dark or white chocolate
  • dried pineapple pieces
  • toasted coconut
  • edible silver or gold balls

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) Pre-heat the oven to 160C(fan).

(2) Whisk the eggs, sugar and lime zest 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, splash over the rum (if using) and cut into 15 squares.

NB: the cubes of cake can now be frozen, wrapped in an airtight bag, until needed

(5) Make the buttercream by beating the butter and icing sugar together until very smooth. Beat in the lime juice a little at a time, along with the rum, if using, until smooth.

(6) Remove a couple of tablespoons on the buttercream for the “bobble” on top and heat the rest in the microwave until it just becomes liquid. 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.

(7) Make the fondant by mixing the icing sugar with enough pineapple juice 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.

NB: if the icing goes too runny, you can add more icing sugar or give the fancies an extra coat. See below.

(8) 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.

(9) 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.

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Author: Philip

Finalist on Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC Television 2018). Published recipe writer with a love of growing fruit & veg, cooking, teaching and eating good food.

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