Small, buttery almond cakes made with brown butter for a decadent, caramel flavor. These financiers are just as delicious as those found in French patisseries! They’re light with a delicate crumb and very simple to make.
Financiers are one of the most famous French pastries. Made with nuts, browned butter, egg whites, and powdered sugar, a classic financier has a crisp exterior that surrounds an incredibly delicate and moist interior. They taste just like the ones you find in France!
What are financiers?
A financier is a small French pastry traditionally made with ground almonds and brown butter. They are often baked in small, rectangular molds. For at-home ease, in this financier recipe I use a mini muffin pan to bake these in but you can use a financier pan if you have one (just adjust the baking time if needed).
The word financier refers to someone who handles a lot of money – quite an interesting name for a pastry! There are several theories on where the name came from. One thought is that the name derived from the cake’s resemblance to a bar of gold when baked in rectangular form. Another theory is that it’s named for finance industry workers who needed a dessert that wouldn’t mess up their suits when picking up an afternoon snack. Either way, the financier cake name stuck!
What are financiers made of?
Classic French financiers are made with a few simple ingredients:
- Brown butter: Liquid gold, brown butter adds a nutty flavor that boosts any dessert it’s in. I only make these financiers with browned butter but you can just use melted butter if you’re in a rush or don’t want to dirty up a pan.
- Almond meal: The primary flour in financiers, ground almonds (also known as almond flour) add texture and richness. You will need to add a bit of all-purpose flour in addition to the nut flour.
- Powdered sugar: This adds a melt in your mouth texture to the financiers. If you only have granulated sugar you can use the same amount in grams (130g). If you don’t weigh it, use ⅔ cup (since volume measurements are different for powdered sugar and granulated sugar).
- Egg whites: These add lightness and help brighten up the financier cakes.
While not traditional, I like to add in some vanilla extract to this financier recipe for some extra flavor. This is a basic almond financier recipe, but you can also add in 100 grams chopped chocolate or raspberries for something extra.
How to make financiers
- Preheat the oven. Start by preheating your oven to 350°F/180°C and greasing a mini muffin tin with butter (you can also line the tin with paper liners). I like to use a silicone pan for easy removal.
- Brown the butter. Heat butter on medium heat in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir occasionally, watching for the butter to foam and then begin to brown. Once it has a nutty aroma and dark golden flecks (these are browned milk solids and where the amazing flavor comes from), remove the butter from the heat and pour it into a bowl. Let cool while you prepare the rest of the financier recipe. (Note: Keep a close eye on the butter because it can easily go from perfectly browned to burnt in seconds).
- Combine the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond meal, flour, sifted powdered sugar, baking powder and salt.
- Mix in the wet ingredients. Gently stir in the brown butter, egg whites, and vanilla extract. Only mix until combined, being careful not to overmix the batter.
- Bake. Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups, filling each cup almost to the top. Add a few raspberries to each muffin cup, if using. Bake the financiers for 10-15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and they are a nice golden brown color.
Garnishing tip: You can top the financiers with a dusting of powdered sugar if you’d like!
Tips for making financiers
-Keep an eye on the butter as you brown it. Browned butter can burn very quickly. As soon as you see brown fleks in the melted butter and smell a nutty aroma, turn off the heat and pour the brown butter in a bowl to cool.
-Sift the powdered sugar. Sifting the powdered sugar to removes any lumps and helps aerate the batter.
-Don’t overmix the batter. To keep these financiers extremely light, mix the ingredients gently and only mix until the ingredients are incorporated.
-Optional garnishes: Feel free to add berries of your choice, chocolate chips or chunks, or a few toasted almonds on top of your financers before baking. They look beautiful this way and taste amazing!
-To freeze financiers, store them in a well-sealed, freezer safe container. They’ll stay fresh for up to 1 month. To thaw, allow to sit at room temperature for a few hours.
More delicious cake and muffin recipes
- Pumpkin Muffins: One of my most popular recipes, they’re perfect for fall or anytime of year!
- Lemon White Chocolate Muffins: Delicate and flavorful, these muffins are the perfect treat any time of day.
- Strawberry Ricotta Muffins: Light and airy with juicy strawberries.
- Nutella Stuffed Banana Muffins: Made with ripe bananas and creamy, rich Nutella.
- Coffee Cake Crumb Muffins: Buttery, rich and topped with cinnamon crumb topping.
These delicate tea cakes are made with almond flour and nutty brown butter. They have an amazingly light and caramel-like flavor that makes them dangerously addictive!
- 7 tablespoons (100g) unsalted butter
- 1 ⅛ cups (130g) powdered sugar, sifted
- ⅔ cup (60g) almond meal (almond flour)
- 6 tablespoons (50g) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 4 large (140g) egg whites
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, optional
- Raspberries, dark chocolate chunks, or almonds, optional
Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Grease a mini muffin pan with butter or cooking spray (or line the tins with paper liners). I use a silicone pan for easy removal.
To brown the butter, place butter in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat and melt. Keep heating just until small golden bits start to appear at the bottom, and the butter smells nutty and caramely. Watch it carefully because the butter can burn quickly at this point. Remove from the heat and immediately pour melted butter into a small bowl. Set aside and allow to cool slightly.
In a medium bowl whisk together powdered sugar, almond meal, flour, baking powder and salt. Add melted brown butter, egg whites, and vanilla extract, if using, and mix just until combined and smooth. Don’t overmix.
Divide batter between the muffin pan cups, filling each cup almost to the top. If you’re adding raspberries or other toppings, add them right before baking to the tops of each muffin. For raspberries, cut in half and place one half cut side down on top of each financier. Press down gently. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the muffin comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool for 5-10 minutes, then remove from pan and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.
Muffins are best the same day they are made but can be kept in an airtight container for 2 days at room temperature or up to 5 days in the fridge. They can also be frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw at room temperature for 2 hours, or in the refrigerator overnight.