Mignon means small and pretty, dainty in English, in Hungary this word refers to mini filled cakes coated in a thick sugar glaze. Henrik Kugler was the first confectioner in Hungary who made mignon cakes in the 19th century.
The shape of the mignon cakes is usually a cube, but you can also see diamond and dome-shaped mignons. Mignons can be filled with butter cream, fruit jam, truffle or praline. The color of the glaze conforms to the flavor of the filling.
- White glaze: mignons filled with marzipan, lemon or chestnut cream
- Light green glaze: mignons filled with Chartreuse dyed marzipan or fruit jam
- Light orange glaze: mignons filled with cream flavoured with orange or white butter pear liqueur
- Light pink glaze: mignons filled with punch cream or fruit jam
- Light brown glaze: mignons filled with coffee, hazelnut, almond, walnut or brittle cream
- Dark brown glaze: mignons filled with chocolate cream
Making mignon is not an easy task, coating the mini cakes with the glaze will test your cooking skills and handiness. This is the reason why my first mignons you can see in the picture are far from perfect.
The key element of the whole process is to find the right consistency of the glaze. It has to be creamy but runny enough to be able to cover the cakes. Since the glaze thickens quickly as it cools, you have to work fast and dip the cakes into the glaze before it sets.
In order to save you a headache, I would recommend not slicing the cake into tiny cubes, just covering the whole cake with the glaze. That’s how I’m gonna make my next mignon cake.
For the sponge cake:
- 6 eggs
- 120 g (~2/3 cup) sugar
- 120 g (~1 cup) flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
For the filling:
- 300 ml (~1 1/4 cups) milk
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 heaping tbsp corn starch
- 4 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp rum extract
- zest of a half orange
- 300 g (~1 1/3 cups) butter
For the glaze:
- 500 g (~2 2/3 cups) sugar
- 250 ml (~1 cup) water
- 1 tsp 20% vinegar
For the topping:
- 2 tbsp apricot jam
Thoroughly grease and flour three 30×20 cm / 12×8″ baking pans. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 356°F.
In a small bowl combine flour and baking powder. Seperate the eggs. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. In a separate bowl beat egg yolks and sugar until the mixture is pale yellow. Whisk in flour, then gently fold in the beaten egg whites. Divide the batter between the prepared baking pans and bake the cakes for 7-8 minutes. Let the cakes cool completely.
For the filling place egg yolks, sugar and corn starch in a saucepan. Add orange zest, rum and vanilla extract, then gradually mix in the milk. Over medium heat cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. Set aside and let it cool.
Slice the butter into cubes and stir with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy. Once the vanilla cream is cool, add creamy butter and mix together.
Place a sponge cake on a tray. Spread half of the filling on top, then put a cake on it. Spread the rest of the filling evenly and cover with the last sponge cake. Place the cake in the freezer for 40 minutes.
Meanwhile make the glaze. Place sugar, vinegar and water in a sauce pan.
(Note1: I used the liquid of canned beetroots to dye the glaze, so I add 100 ml juice and 150 ml water. However you can also decide on red food dyer, in this case you have to add 2-3 drops of dyer to the glaze right before you dip the cake cubes into the glaze).
(Note2: if you don’t have 20% vinegar at hand, add 1 1/2 teaspoons of 10% vinegar or 2 teaspoons of 5% vinegar to the syrup.)
Bring the syrup to a rolling boil, then reduce the heat and slowly simmer it for 15 minutes.
While the syrup is simmering, spread 2 tablespoons of apricot jam on top of the cake to prevent it from absorbing the glaze, then cut the cake into 4×4 cm / 1,5×1,5″ cubes.
When time is up, turn off the heat and pour the syrup into a bowl.
Whisk continuously for about 10-15 minutes until the glaze thickens and becomes lukewarm. It’s a bit tricky to find the proper consistency when the glaze is creamy, however liquid enough, but not too thick to cover the mini cakes. If you use food dyer, at this point you can stir in 2-3 drops of it.
Stick the cakes with a fork and dip them into the pink glaze. Transfer the cakes onto a wire rack to let the glaze drip, then put them in the fridge to let the glaze set.
(Note3: if you take my advice, you won’t cut the cake into cubes and dip them into the glaze individually. Just pour the glaze onto the whole cake, let it cover the top and fall evenly over the sides.)