Financiers are one of the most famous French cakes and an obligatory experience for every almonds fan. In fact, they hardly contain any flour, no vanilla or other aromatic ingredients and are a quintessence of what an almond cake should taste like. They are soft, have a very sophisticated, yet simple taste and disappear very quickly, so I usually make a double portion. Produced since the Middle Ages by the French nuns of the Visitation of Mary, they were not called financiers and had an oval form. Then, for a certain time they were forgotten and around 1890, Lasne, a Parisian confectioner, revived the recipe. Since his shop was close to the stock market and financiers were his regular clients, he named the cakes “financiers” and transformed their form into the one recalling a gold ingot, probably thinking they appealed more to his clients.

I have baked financiers dozens of times and even though at the beginning I used my special ingot shaped forms, I quickly started to prefer the muffin-shaped ones. I simply find them cuter this way and even cuter when baked in mini-muffin forms. Financiers are very easy to prepare and are an excellent occasion to use up egg whites. The only tricky thing might be finding powdered (not only ground) almonds, but I always buy ground almonds and sift them through a sieve. The leftover big bits of ground almonds are excellent to prepare the even easier Thumbprint Almond Cookies (see the recipe here):

The financiers recipe I have been doing since I remember comes from Leçons de cuisine de l’école Ritz-Escoffier . The only thing I modified is the sugar amount (70 g instead of the original 85g).

BEWARE! You might be convinced (I was too!) that something labelled as “almond flour” would be perfect here… I have recently noticed online products labelled in English as “almond flour” are in reality ground almonds… For this recipe you must use almonds powdered to a point where they resemble almost wheat flour, so if you realise you have coarser product (which frankly should be labelled as almond meal or simply ground almonds), sieve it.

Click here for some ideas of using the remaining egg yolks.

Preparation: 30 minutes

Ingredients (6 muffin shaped financiers or 12 mini-muffin shaped):

50 g powdered almonds

70 g sugar

50 g butter

2 egg whites

1 heaped tablespoon flour

a pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 190°C.

Prepare the “beurre noisette” (lit. hazelnut butter): heat the butter in a pan on a low heat and observe the milk solids, which will separate at the bottom. When they become light brown (hazelnut colour), put the pan aside.

Combine the egg whites, the sugar, the almond powder, the pinch of salt and the flour in a big bowl. Add gradually the butter, mixing with a spoon.

Pour the mixture into greased -with butter – muffin forms (or other small cakes forms) 2/3 of their height.

Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes until golden.

Let them cool down before taking out of the forms.

14 Replies to “Financiers”

  1. I’ve never tried financiers and only recently heard about them. Recipe looks simple and even better there is only a few ingredients. I bet my first attempt will not turn out as beautiful as yours

    1. Thank you! I am happy you like them. They are really surprisingly easy. Do try them! I am sure they will be very beautiful!

  2. Wow Sissi, your financiers look so delicious! I enjoyed the history of it and I wish I can have one… You know I don’t bake. It’s so tough just looking at these yummy treats (and not being able to bake)…. please don’t tell me go bake them….. Arrrrrhhhh….. You said “surprsingly” easy. But could be difficult with my skills. LOL. I love the pictures by the way. Very tempting…

    1. Thank you Nami! I am happy you like the picture, I find taking pictures so difficult… I must probably invest in a new camera. And a special lamp for rainy, dark days and evening pictures. You are always welcome to come and have a cake with me (with a glass of shochu of course 😉 ) And yes, they are very very easy!!! (Even easier than pizza dough and much quicker).

  3. These look really good…! I’ve tried baking with almond powder in the past when I was doing a low-carb diet (which I clearly don’t do anymore ;)), I was surprised that the cake turned out quite yummy. I’m sure I’ll try this recipe to in the near future :)!

    1. Thank you! Almond powder replaces very well the flour (and tastes much much better). Low-carb diet would be very difficult for me… I haven’t even tried doing it. I hope your try making financiers one day. Good luck!

  4. It is the most amazing delicacy ever!!! Exactly as you said: pure, sophisticated, stunning, making you wish it lasted forever!!! Everyone should definitively give it a try!!!

  5. I ran across a mention of financiers at the same time that I was searching out madeleine recipes and intend to make them one of these days, though like you, I’ll use mini muffin pans rather than buying the special gold INGOT shaped pans. 🙂

    1. Financiers are fantastic, although, contrary to Kings’ Pie, they cannot be made with ground almonds, only powdered almonds (I sift ground almonds through a fine sieve to obtain the almond powder).

  6. Love your recipe from Escoffier. He is the king of Edwardian cookery and did so much to improve British cuisine. I share recipes for Afternoon Tea and wrote about Financiers awhile back using a recipe from famous Fortnun & Mason’s Tea book, It was a gift from a follower from Boston who travelled to England based solely on a tweet I posted for an ladies luncheon featuring the current lady of Highclere Castle where Downton Abbey is filmed. So, never be too surprised about how your writing will affect others.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment. I will read your posts about tea with big pleasure. Tea is one of the most fascinating British habits (at least for some of us, foreigners). The only way I know Fortnum and Mason is from excellent tea box a friend bought for me there. Somehow I missed this shop when I was in London.

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