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Tea Time Treat, anyone? Or in this case… Coffee Time Treat, anyone? Whether it is to enjoy with a nice, hot cup of coffee or just as an everyday snack, you will struggle to eat only one of these Coffee Financiers!
This recipe was developed as part of my new project: a French Baking class called “Bake it French”. When I decided to look for classic French Sweet Treats that were easy enough to make for beginner bakers, I knew that Financiers would have to be included! These little Almond Based Cakes are just a delight – deliciously fluffy, airy and buttery. The perfect reflexion of French Pastries!
Having lived in Melbourne for more than 4 years now, I have given in to the Coffee Addiction. Not only it is the best drink ever (take that, tea drinkers!), Coffee is also an awesome flavour to add to cakes. My Raw Chocolate Espresso Tart is still to this day my Fiance’s favourite cake. He has now added these Coffee Financiers to his top 3. I guess I should bake with coffee more often!
What is a Financier Cake?
A “Financier” is a small cake made with (or flavoured with) Almonds. They are known for their distinctive rectangular or oval shape. The exterior of the cake is slightly crunchy while the interior is super soft and light, making this treat seriously addictive! Often made with “Beurre-Noisette” or Brown Butter, Financiers can be kept basic or flavoured with a variety of ingredients – like coffee.
The word “financier” is a rather interesting one to be given to a cake. Some people say that it’s because their rectangular shape that reminded them of bars of gold. Another source says that the cakes were first invented around the financial district of Paris. They were particularly enjoyed by people working at the Stock Exchange. That’s because they were so easy to store in their pockets without breaking. Interesting stories, right!?
Just like other small French Cakes like Madeleines, Financiers are perfect as little sweet treats or small snack. They are great to eat with your afternoon tea – and in this case, even better with your afternoon (or morning) coffee. If you are addicted to coffee like my Fiance, you might even want to dip your Coffee Financiers in your coffee. Yup, it’s a thing!
Friand vs Financier
If you have never heard of the word “Financier” before, you might have heard of the name “Friand” instead. Technically, it is hard to find a difference in the recipe itself. While called “Financiers” in France, the name “Friand” sticked in the Anglo-Saxon world. Friand are especially well-known here in Australia and New Zealand.
Depending on recipes and sources, there are two main differences between Friands and Financiers. First, Financiers use Brown Butter and Friands don’t. Second, Financiers are traditionally made with Almonds only, while Friands are often flavoured with Fruits, Nuts or other ingredients.
Nowadays though, it seems like these two cakes are blending more and more into one. You will find lots of recipes for Financiers that do not use Brown Butter and are being flavoured with other ingredients than Almonds. It is the case for today’s recipe. To make it easier to reproduce with students, simple melted butter is used, and Coffee is added for flavouring. Coffee Financiers, here we come!
How to make Coffee Financiers
The recipe to make Financiers is rather basic and uses rather common ingredients: Plain Flour, Almond Meal, Egg Whites, Butter and Icing Sugar. Making Financiers will maybe remind you of making Macaron. Just like Macarons, Almond Meal is mixed with Icing Sugar and Egg Whites beaten into strong peaks binds it all together. The main difference is the use of Plain Flour on top of Almond Flour and the addition of Butter.
To make these Coffee Financiers, I used Instant Coffee Granules and a little bit of milk. You can also use Decaf if you do not want caffein in there or if children are going to eat them. I also topped the Coffee Financiers with a few little Coffee Granules that nicely melted over the cakes. It is a great way to get an even stronger coffee flavour, if that’s your thing!
The process is simple: melt the butter and prepare your coffee milk. Mix the dry ingredients together. Beat your Egg Whites into Medium Peaks and fold it in the dry ingredients. Add the melted Butter and Coffee Milk. It shouldn’t take you more than 10 / 15 minutes to have them ready for the oven!
As always, remember to let your melted butter and milk cool down before adding them in. This will help you avoid breaking (or melting) your Egg Whites.
Like mentioned above, one of the things that make Financiers special is their recognisable shape. You could use a simple muffin or cupcake pan, but is a Financier really a financier if it doesn’t look like one? I use an Oval-Shaped Friand Pan that I love. If you want the real traditional shape, you can also use a real Financier Mold Pan or simply a Mini Loaf Pan. For once, I recommend using a metal pan that is sturdier than silicone.
- 100 gr (3,5 oz) Butter - melted
- 120 gr (1/2 cup + 1 tbsp.) Almond Meal
- 50 gr (1/3 cup) Plain Flour
- 50 gr (1/3 cup) Icing Sugar or Powdered Sugar
- 1 pinch Salt
- 4 Egg Whites
- 50 ml (1/4 cup) Full Fat Milk
- 1 1/2 tbsp Instant Coffee Granules
- Melt the butter and set aside to cool down.
- Warm up the Milk in the microwave and stir in the Instant Coffee. Set aside to cool down.
- Preheat your oven on 160'C.
- In a medium size bowl, mix the Almond Meal, Plain Flour and Icing Sugar.
- Beat the Egg Whites into Medium Peaks with the Pinch of Salt. Gently fold them into the dry ingredients in three times.
- Pour in the cold melted Butter and Coffee Milk. Gently stir in until all combined.
- Fill your Financier Pans with the batter and top with a few granules of coffee. They will rise a bit so don't fill the pans all the way to the top.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Leave to cool down on a cooling rack.