Financiers (French Almond Mini Cakes with Brown Butter)

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Financiers might just become your new favorite treat! Follow this easy recipe for French financiers and enjoy the exquisite combination of almonds and brown butter in just a few simple steps.

Tasty French almond cakes

Recipe At a Glance

Here’s a basic recipe for French financiers: delightful, super moist almond mini cakes with brown butter. The batter whips up in just 20 minutes, and a quick 13-minute bake yields a batch of lovely mini cakes.

Traditionally, financiers are baked in special rectangular molds. Luckily, muffin tins serve equally well, and you’re more likely to have those on hand.

The thing about financiers is that they only use egg whites, and quite a lot of them. That means you need to find another use for the yolks.

For me, it’s my favorite thing about these French mini cakes because any time I prepare pastry creams, fruit curds, or creme bavaroise, I can bake some financiers to use up the leftover egg whites.

Making financiers for the first time? Please read the ingredients notes, step-by-step instructions, and tips. If you’re familiar with the recipe, feel free to jump to the recipe card.

Ingredients Notes and Substitutes

Financiers ingredients
  • Egg whites. The base for the mini almond cakes.
  • Unsalted butter. We’ll brown the butter to infuse the cakes with its characteristic flavor and aroma.
  • Sugar. Regular white sugar is perfect, though you can use powdered sugar if that’s what you have.
  • Honey. Honey helps to keep the cakes super moist. To substitute, you could increase the amount of sugar. While the cakes might not be as moist, the ample amount of other liquids (egg whites, butter) in the recipe will help keep them somewhat moist.
  • Almond flour. Go with store-bought, or you can make it at home if you have some blanched almonds on hand.
  • Cake flour. I use cake flour for the financiers based on the Hanbit Cho’s recommendation, but I’ve seen people have success with all-purpose flour as well. The recipe doesn’t use that much flour anyway, so substituting with AP flour shouldn’t be a big deal.
  • Vanilla extract. Optional, but a bit helps improve the flavor.
  • Baking powder. Include baking powder if you prefer your financiers fluffy and cupcake-like, or omit it for a denser texture. For first-timers, I recommend using baking powder.

How to Make Financiers

  1. Preheat oven. Preheat the oven to 390°F (200°C).
  2. Brown butter. Begin by melting the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the butter becomes golden brown and gives off a nutty aroma (brown butter is also known as hazelnut butter for this reason). Depending on the heat, the browning process usually takes 5 to 10 minutes once the butter has melted. Initially, you’ll hear a sizzling sound, followed by bubbling and then a crackling noise. That’s when you should pay close attention to the butter as it should be ready (brown and smelling nutty) soon. Once browned, remove from heat and place in a bowl of cold water so that it cools.
  1. Mix egg whites and sugar. Combine egg whites and sugar in a bowl and whisk until combined. You don’t need to whip the whites – a good stir that makes a tiny bit of foam is good enough.
  1. Add honey and vanilla. Pour the honey and vanilla extract into the bowl and mix everything.
Adding honey
Mix in the honey and vanilla extract
  1. Add dry ingredients. Sift and mix together the almond flour, cake flour, and baking powder. Then, add the mixed ingredients to the bowl and stir to combine.
  1. Add butter. Pour the brown butter into the bowl, including all the dark bits on the bottom of the pot, and stir to combine. Make sure the butter isn’t super hot so it doesn’t cook the whites.
  1. Prepare the pan. For the financiers to come off the pan, you need to grease the mold with butter. The way I like to do this is to scoop some butter onto a piece of wax paper and spread it around the interior surface of the pan, trying to cover everything, including corners and edges. Once done, I use my index finger to spread the butter more evenly and reach all surfaces I might’ve missed. If your pan isn’t non-stick, dust it with AP flour or white sugar to make a non-stick layer. Cover everything and tap out any excess that doesn’t stick to the butter.
  2. Fill molds. Spoon or pour the batter into the molds, filling each to about three-quarters full. Depending on the size of your muffin tin, this should yield between 8 to 12 financiers.
  1. Bake. Place the pan in the preheated oven and immediately lower the temperature to 360°F (180°C). Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until the edges begin to brown and the centers are set. If you need another test for doneness, insert a toothpick into a financier; it should come out dry.
Baked financiers
Bake for 13 to 15 minutes
  1. Cool. Allow the financiers to cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes before removing. To ease removal, gently run a silicone spatula around each cake, then invert the pan onto a wire rack to release the cakes.
Remove the financiers from the pan
Use a silicone spatula to remove the financiers from the pan
  1. Serve.
Simple and classic financiers
Simple and classic financiers served for dessert

Flavor Options

This recipe is a foundation for basic French financiers that you can easily customize. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Top with nuts. For an added crunch and enhanced flavor, top your financiers with sliced almonds, chopped pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts, or shredded coconut. Sprinkle your choice of nuts over the batter once you’ve filled the muffin tin cavities. Here are my pistachio financiers for some inspiration.
  • Add fruit. Alternatively, you can adorn your cakes with fruit. Fresh fruits are preferable as they introduce less moisture than frozen ones. Consider raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries halves, cherries, or even apricot pieces. Place the fruit atop the batter just before baking. Speaking of fruit, check out my raspberry financier recipe.
  • Add a powdered mix-in. Alter the flavor by incorporating powdered ingredients like cocoa (which I did in my chocolate financiers that I frosted with milk chocolate whipped ganache), matcha (check out my matcha financiers recipe), or spices. Mix the powders into the batter along with other dry ingredients, and stir the batter well.
  • Frost. Another option is to bake the financiers as they are and then frost them to your liking, much like you would with cupcakes or muffins.
Classic financiers for dessert

Tips

  • Adjust baking time. The baking time will vary depending on whether you use a financier mold, a regular muffin tin, or a mini muffin tin. A typical muffin tin usually takes about 13 to 15 minutes, but expect about 10 to 12 minutes for a financier mold or mini muffin tin. Monitor your financiers closely on the first bake to determine the precise timing needed. Look for signs of browning around the edges and a set top.
Brown edges
Browning around the edges
  • Prep batter while browning the butter. Browning the butter is the most time-consuming step of the prep process. Luckily, it doesn’t require constant attention—just a quick stir every minute or two. This allows you to measure and mix the other ingredients while the butter browns.
  • Use a scale. Bust out your kitchen scale when measuring all the ingredients, especially egg whites. While the recipe lists a specific number of egg whites needed, this is just an approximation. Egg sizes can vary, and the weight of four egg whites may differ significantly from one batch to another.
Light and nutty french almond cakes
Light and nutty French almond cakes

Storage

Store plain financiers in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days. If you frost them or add fruit, refrigerate them in a sealed container for the same amount of time.

Tasty French almond cakes

Financiers

Financiers might just become your new favorite treat! Follow this easy recipe for French financiers and enjoy the exquisite combination of almonds and brown butter in just a few simple steps.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 13 minutes
Total Time: 33 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Almond Cakes, Financiers, Mini Almond Cakes
Servings: 9 financiers

Ingredients

  • 5 oz egg whites 141 g, about 5 egg whites
  • 4 oz butter 113 g, plus a bit more for greasing the pan
  • 3 oz sugar 85 g
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract optional
  • 1 oz honey 28g or about 1 1/3 tbsp
  • 2.5 oz almond flour 70g
  • 2 oz cake flour 56g or about 9 tbsp
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder optional

Instructions

  • Preheat Oven: Set the oven to 390°F (200°C).
  • Brown Butter: Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat until it turns golden brown and smells nutty, about 5-10 minutes. Cool it by placing in a bowl of cold water.
    4 oz butter
  • Mix Egg Whites and Sugar: Whisk egg whites and sugar just until a bit of foam forms.
    5 oz egg whites, 3 oz sugar
  • Add Honey and Vanilla: Stir in honey and vanilla.
    1 oz honey, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Incorporate Dry Ingredients: Sift almond flour, cake flour, and baking powder together and mix into the wet ingredients.
    2.5 oz almond flour, 2 oz cake flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Combine Butter: Add cooled brown butter, including the burned bits, ensuring it's not too hot.
  • Prepare Pan: Grease the mold with butter, ensuring all surfaces are covered. Optionally, dust with flour or sugar if not using a non-stick pan.
  • Fill Molds: Fill each mold about three-quarters full with batter.
  • Bake: Place in the oven, immediately reduce heat to 360°F (180°C), and bake for 13-15 minutes until the edges brown and the center sets.
  • Cool: Let financiers cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then remove.
  • Serve: Enjoy your financiers once cooled.
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