I am as amused by the cuteness of these cakes as I am by the theories of how they got their name. What you must know is this: a financier is a small, sweet almond cake, often made with toasty, nutty browned butter (and plenty of it) and helped along in the oven by egg whites and nothing else.
They are moist, soft, intensely flavoured and completely addictive!
The recipe for these is from David Lebovitz and it’s a quick, very straightforward one. Once you’re done separating eggs, of course. Who else hates doing that!?! I went through four eggs to get two whites because the yolk just kept getting in the way ugh. Anyway, once you’re done cursing I promise these are super easy.
I halved the recipe for 6 financiers because I didn’t trust myself around a large batch of buttery cakes. I used just a little less sugar than called for after reading that these cakes are usually very sweet, and baked them in a regular muffin tin, filling each mould halfway. They don’t rise super tall, but they will rise just enough for a light, super soft cake.
I also read that depending on the kind of almond flour you use, the texture will vary slightly. Store-bought almond flour (which is what I used because I had a pack lying around) is finer, and produces a tighter, denser crumb. Almonds that you grind at home are coarser and will create a slightly looser crumb. I promise they’re amazing either way!
It is the browned butter that gives these little cakes all their flavour with such few ingredients. Do not skip that! The egg whites don’t need to be beaten beforehand, simply whisked in, according to David Lebovitz and I’m not about to stray from what he says!
The only thing to watch out for is even after greasing the pan, the financiers stick to it as they cool, and yet if you prise them out while they’re still warm, they’ll break. Use a small, blunt knife to loosen the edges and ease them out slowly. They also tend to stick to paper or muffin liners, from all of my “financiers sticking to pan HELP” Googling. So, slow and steady!
Sweet, nutty, buttery and just so cute. Make these today!
- 50 gms unsalted butter, room temp (1/4 cup)
- ½ cup almond flour*
- 2 and ½ tbsps all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup caster sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 egg whites, room temp
- ½ tsp vanilla extract (if you prefer less, ¼ tsp is ok too)
- In a small saucepan on low heat, melt the butter. It will begin to bubble and look very frothy, then slowly it will look clear and begin to darken. When it starts to smell nutty, keep a close watch on it, stirring frequently. Turn off the heat as soon as you see a few brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 180 C and generously grease 6 muffin moulds with butter.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, all-purpose flour, sugar and salt. Mix well.
- Add the egg whites and vanilla and whisk well, but do not over-mix. The mixture will smoothen out at the end.
- Now add the browned butter (I like to add the browned bits at the bottom too, you can leave them out if you prefer), and stir gently but thoroughly till the butter is well-combined with the rest of the mixture and you have a smooth batter.
- Divide the batter equally among the moulds, filling each only halfway. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, until the cakes have puffed a little and are golden-brown on the top. I needed to bake them for a few extra minutes, depending on your oven, you may need to as well.
- Set aside to cool, then using a small blunt knife, gently remove them from the moulds. They tend to stick, so don't let them sit in the pan too long after they've cooled. Store at room temperature for 2 to 3 days in an airtight tin, then refrigerate or freeze. Enjoy warm with tea or coffee!
*If you're not some sort of expert egg separator (like me), I highly recommend keeping at least 4 eggs ready in case one of the whites ends up with yolk in it. Room temperature egg whits are important, if they're cold from the fridge, they do not help the cakes rise as well. Also, separate each one in a small bowl, then add to the main batter, so that you're ensured of only the whites going in each time.
*I feel like a little bit of orange zest or lemon zest mixed in with sugar would be amazing, as would thinly sliced almonds on top of the cakes just before baking!
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