Golden dainty cakes
Pronounced (fee-nan’-see-a), this is a small French cake that is accessible to anyone. Recently on the ‘British Invasion’ episode of Chopped, a contestants made a financier using one of the ingredients processed into crumbs. I had never heard of financiers so I did some checking around and found they are a dense yet spongy mini cake loaded with ground almonds and sometimes topped with raspberries. Along with the almonds, the brown butter gives this dish a nutty flavor and color. The ingredients are simple and probably in your pantry. Add some berries from the farmers market or grocer and you’re off.
The name comes from the shape they are often baked in, a small rectangle that resembles a bar of gold. When these ‘yummies’ are baked they are a beautiful golden color. Then again, it may be because they are a favorite dessert often enjoyed in the financial district of Paris. For me, they are ‘money’ as Guy Fieri from the Food Network describes a great dish. You pick your version but don’t miss the chance to enjoy some almond goodness with a gorgeous fresh raspberry topper.
Prep Time: 12 Minutes | Cook Time: 10 Minutes | Yield: 12 servings | Level: Easy
- 1/2 cup finely ground almonds, see note below
- 1/4 cup flour
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/3 cup beurre noisette (brown butter)
- 3 egg whites, lightly beaten
- 12 raspberries
Special Equipment – muffin pan
3 Turn up the oven temperature to 400 degrees and place a muffin pan on the middle rack to heat.
4 In a large bowl whisk together the ground almonds, flour, sugar and salt.
5 Make a well in the center and stir in the vanilla and beurre noisette.
6 Fold in the egg whites.
7 Remove the muffin pan from the oven. Spray with cooking spray. Divide the batter into 12 muffin cups, about 2 Tbsp each.
8 Bake for 4 minutes. Remove from the oven and place one raspberry on top of each financier. Return to oven and bake 5-7 more minutes until the tops are springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack.
Beurre Noisette literally translated means, hazelnut butter, but we know it as brown butter. To make it, melt 1/2 cup of butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, swirling the pan occasionally. As it boils it will foam on top. Continue to cook the butter until it looks clear and the milk solid have dropped to the bottom of the pan and have turned deep brown. Do not let it get too dark or black. Strain through cheesecloth or a paper towel-lined strainer and let cool to room temperature. Measure 1/3 cup of beurre noisette for the recipe. Click here for another resource with photos on making brown butter.
To make ground almonds, add 1/2 cup of almonds to a food processor and process until they are very finely ground but not turned into paste.
Whip the egg whites in a small bowl with a whisk until they are frothy; no need to rev up the electric beaters.
Placing the raspberries on the financiers after they have baked for 4 minutes allows the fruit to bake into the top of the financier without sinking to the bottom.
Make 24 mini muffin tin size Financiers by placing 1 tablespoon of batter in each cup, bake for 3 minutes, place 1 raspberry on the top of each, then continue baking until tops are springy to the touch, about 4 more minutes.
Financiers are usually baked in shaped molds. A muffin pan works great. Small shaped molds work great or try a rectangular bar or small round fluted mold.
- Exchange raspberries for blackberries or boysenberries.
Inspiration – Joy of Baking
Cook with Sauces
Written by Helen Horton
Photographs by Helen Horton
Updated: June 3, 2012