French Financiers are the best teacakes, and in this recipe, you will learn how to make them in 3 different flavors; almond, hazelnut, and pistachio! They are delicate, super moist, and full of natural nutty flavors due to the nut flour and browned butter used in the cake batter. Financiers are bite-sized treats like cookies, however, they belong to sponge cakes both in terms of texture, also in terms of the technique and process of making them.
📖 What are financiers
Financiers are small French teacakes. The taste is characterized by the two main ingredients; nut flour eg. almond flour, pistachio flour, hazelnut flour and browned butter (beurre noisette). Financiers are light, moist mini cakes that are usually baked in a small rectangle mold (Financier tin) similar in size to petits fours and they were widely popular across the world, eg. available from Laduree US.
The name financier is said to derive from the traditional rectangular mold, which resembles a bar of gold. According to another tradition, the cake became popular in the financial district of Paris surrounding the Paris stock exchange, as the cake could easily be stored in the pocket for long periods without being damaged.
In my financier recipe, I will teach you how to make 3 different kinds of teacakes; hazelnut, almond, and pistachio flavors. Please note that financers can be flavored with a great variety of spices, eg. orange zest, cardamom, and vanilla bean. They can be also filled with chocolate or raspberries, and even coated with chocolate, for example, feel free to experiment.
If you love French desserts, make sure to check out my ultimate best French pastries list with recipes!
💡 Difference between financiers and madeleines
Madeleines and Financiers have many similarities. Both of them are bite-sized French teacakes that are super versatile. Both of them are broadly available in France and made using brown butter and baked in a special tin.
Now, let´s move on to the differences;
- Madeleines are made in an iconic shell shape, while Financiers are typically made in a rectangular mold
- Authentic Financiers always include nut flour, typically almond flour, while Madeleines are usually made with wheat flour only
- Madeleines are made using a whole egg, while for the Financiers we will use egg white only
- Finally, Madeleines typically contain baking powder that helps to achieve the signature bump rise on their "belly", while the Financier recipe does not contain baking powder
I really recommend trying Madeleines too, check out my madeleines recipe!
🌟 Why this is the best recipe
- It is rather easy – As fancy as it sounds making this French financier recipe is extremely easy, quick, and no special equipment is needed. If you don´t have a financer tin, feel free to make it in a mini loaf cake pan or muffin pan
- It is super delicious – I never compromise on taste! These financier cookies are the perfect bite-sized treats. They are crazy moist, with a luxurious deep nutty aftertaste, absolutely irresistible. You will be pleasantly surprised how much flavor can fit into such a tiny dessert
- It is an honest, detailed tutorial – I will teach you how to make not just one flavor (almond flavor is the most common one), but 3 different flavors! While this recipe might look long, all the information I have written here, every tip and trick will help you achieve the perfect results without any issues on the way. Remember, baking is science, and every little detail written here is to help YOU!
📝 Ingredient notes
- Flour: All-purpose or Pastry flour works absolutely well in this recipe. Remember, the financier is a kind of sponge cake so you want to avoid high gluten content flour. If you want to be a Pro when it comes to deciding what type of flour to use in your baking, please read my flour guide
- Nut flour: Financiers are traditionally made with almond flour. In this recipe, I am giving you 2 more alternatives with hazelnut flour and pistachio flour. You can either purchase these flours or pulse bland roasted almond/hazelnut/pistachio with the flour mentioned above until it becomes a powder-like texture
- Salt: An essential ingredient in most dessert recipes. Balances flavor and enhances other ingredients
- Powdered Sugar: Powdered sugar/icing sugar works best when making financier cookies. If you want to learn about the different types of sugar and how to use them in baking, please read my sugar guide
- Egg white: We will use egg whites only to make these French teacakes. As you can see no raising agent is added to the recipe (eg. baking powder) as the small rise will come from the egg whites. If you want to use up your egg yolk, my Crème brûlée or Pastry cream recipe!
- Butter: Use always unsalted as you want to be in control of the quantity of the salt. I am using 82% fat content butter in all my recipes. While in most of the recipes butter needs to be at room temperature, this is an exception as butter needs to be melted, in fact, we will be making brown butter for the maximum taste!
🛒 You’ll find detailed measurements for all Ingredients in the printable version of the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post
👩🍳 How to make this recipe
1. How to make brown butter
Brown butter (beurre noisette) is a classic French one ingredient gold that just makes everything better! It has a deep nutty, complex flavor and really elevates butter to the next level. Use it for making chocolate chip cookies, medeleines, or even on savory dishes like on top of grilled salmon, gnocchi, etc.
Making it is incredibly easy, takes 5 minutes and everything tastes much better with it so please do not skip it!
- Heat butter in a saucepan on medium heat. Make sure that the heat is not too much otherwise the butter will just burn quickly
- First butter should melt, then it will foam
- Then, white bits (milk solids) will start to appear on the bottom of the pan
- The brown butter is ready when the white bits on the bottom of the pan will turn into golden brown and you will start to feel a lovely nutty smell
- Once your brown butter is ready, carefully pour it into a cold heatproof container so it will cool as soon as possible
That´s it! Making brown butter is super easy, you will manage it!
💡 Top Tip: Make sure you carefully watch it throughout the process, stir regularly, and remove it from the heat before it starts burning
2. Process of making the financiers cake batter
Making this Financier recipe is very quick and easy but you have to be precise and more importantly patient, as the cake batter should be chilled in the fridge before piping. The recipe makes 12 classic size classic brown butter Financiers as you can see in the pictures.
- Start with making the brown butter and let it come to room temperature
- Whip egg white with a hand whisk for a few minutes until foamy
- Whip in icing sugar just until combined
- Then, whip in browned butter, again just until combined
- Then, divide the batter into 3 and fold dry ingredients into each of them. One should be folded with flour, hazelnut flour, salt. The other should be folded with flour, almond flour, salt. The third part should be folded with pistachio flour, flour, salt
Your financier batter is now ready, however, for the best result, chill it in the fridge for an hour before piping it into the financier mold.
💡 Top Tip: When chilling the brown butter to room temperature, make sure that you do not let it fully set as it would make it impossible to mix it with the rest of the ingredients. You can start to work with it as soon as it is not hot but still runny
3. How to bake
While chilling the Financier cake batter prepare your baking tin. You will need a Financier tin to make this recipe (or use a mini loaf tin or mini muffin pan) and similarly to most sponge cake recipes, the baking tin requires some preparation whether it is nonstick or not.
Brush the tin with melted butter then dust with some flour. Make sure you apply the butter + flour lightly, in order to do so, hold the pan upside down and tap it a few times, in this way you can easily get rid of any excess flour. Alternatively, use a silicone tin eg. the one I used. With silicone financier mold you do not need any tin preparation and the mini cakes will pop out from the mold without any issue.
Once the cake batter is chilled, I recommend that you pipe the batter into the baking pan, simply, it is neater than trying to spoon the batter. Once all the financier batter is piped into the tin, hint them with chopped nuts (almond, hazelnut, pistachio).
Bake the financiers at 175C / 347F for 20 minutes. Feel free to experiment with your own oven for the best results. With the help of a Digital oven thermometer you can better understand how long it takes for your oven to heat and cool and achieve the desired temperature and result.
Once they are baked, let them rest for 2-3 minutes in the tin then remove them. They are the best eaten fresh. Any leftover can be stored in an airtight container at room temp for a few days.
💡 Top Tip: In general, start pre-heat your oven 15 minutes before baking. Make sure you invest in an inexpensive Digital oven thermometer especially if you are experiencing under-baked or burnt desserts
🎓 EXPERT TIPS
- Do not skip the brown butter, it is the heart of making financiers and gives the most amazing flavor
- Do not overbake the financiers as that is the most common reason for dry texture on this kind of dessert
- You can experiment with different fillings in the financiers eg. raspberry pistachio is a classic one
- These mini cakes can easily be made in a muffin tin or even in a donut tin
- Try to serve them fresh out of the oven, or warm gently them up in the microwave
🥣 Equipment notes
For a consistent, happy baking experience always measure your ingredients with the help of a Digital scale. This is absolutely a MUST.
A Financier tin is not strictly necessary but makes the teacakes look very professional. Alternatively, use a mini loaf tin or mini muffin tin.
❓ Recipe FAQs
Yes, you can but why would you? Brown butter is a fundamental part of any Financier recipe and brings wonderful flavor as well as texture
Financiers are historically made with nut flour eg. almond meal and I would not skip it, however, if you are allergic to nuts, feel free to replace the nut flour with an equal amount of all-purpose flour
Financiers are traditionally made in a bite-sized format, but you can of course make it a bit smaller, or bigger. Having said that, I would not use this cake batter to make a full-sized cake
Yes, most probably you can, however, you can´t just replace flour with gluten-free flour 1:1 without reformulating the recipe. When one ingredient changes, some other ingredients need to be changed too in order to keep the balance in the texture and flavor. If replacing flour with nut flour entire, you would want to use less butter and you can expect less rise on the cakes
Probably you can, however just as making it gluten-free, you will need to adjust the ingredients somewhat if the egg is left out. Sadly, I am not able to provide substitutes for all sorts of allergies and diets
When making Financiers we are not expecting a huge rise. The small rise will come from the egg white
Mini muffin pan, mini loaf pan, or any other mini cake tin could work perfectly fine
Financiers are the best eaten fresh out of the oven, however, due to the fat content (butter as well as nut flour) they actually will stay fresh for 1-2 days at room temperature if stored in an airtight container
You can simply freeze the financiers, however, as usual, expect some texture change after thawing
🧁 Other Mini Cake recipes
French financiers (VIDEO)
- 150 g (0⅔ cups) Unsalted butter to make the brown butter
- 150 g Egg whites approx. whites of 5 eggs
- 100 g (¾ cups) Icing sugar
- 75 g (⅔ cups) All-purpose flour (25g into the almond version. 25g into the hazelnut version and 25g into the pistachio version)
- 75 g (⅔ cups) Nut flour (25g almond into the almond version. 25g hazelnut into the hazelnut version and 25g pistachio into the pistachio version)
- Large pinch of salt
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
- Heat butter in a saucepan on medium heat, first it will melt then it will foam. It is ready when the white bits on the bottom of the pan turn into golden brown and it has a nutty smell. Make sure you carefully watch it throughout the process, stir regularly and remove from the heat before it starts burning. Let it cool to room temperature
- In a bowl whisk egg whisk for a few minutes until foamy, then whisk in powdered sugar
- Whisk in brown butter, then divide the batter into 3 if making all 3 flavors
- One should be folded with flour, hazelnut flour, salt. The other should be folded with flour, almond flour, salt. The third part should be folded with pistachio flour, flour, salt. You can of course chose to make only 1 flavor only, in that case no need to divide the batter
- Move each cake batter into a piping bag and let them rest in the fridge for an hour
- In the meantime, pre-heat your oven and prepare your financier mold
- Ideally using a piping bag fill the tin with the 3 different cake batter, then, before baking, hint them with chopped roasted nuts (pistachio, hazelnut, almond)
- Bake at 175C / 347F for 20 minutes
- Once they are baked, let them rest for 2-3 minutes in the tin then remove them.
- They are the best eaten fresh. Any leftover can be stored in an airtight container at room temp for a few days.
- Measure your ingredients with a Digital scale for accuracy
- Do not skip making brown butter. Use 82% European style butter when making brown butter
- Sift icing sugar before using as it tends to form lumps
- Feel free to make all 3 flavors but of course, you can choose to make 1 or 2 flavors only. Either way, overall you will need 75g nut flour. If making 3 different flavors, use 25g almond flour, 25g hazelnut flour, 25g pistachio flour. If making 2 flavors use 37g flour x and 37g flour y
- Make sure you read my Expert tips section above to maximize your success. A short recipe alone is not able to cover all the necessary details, and science behind baking.
- While making the brown butter, cook the butter on medium heat and watch carefully so the butter won´t burn
- You should use the brown butter after it is not hot but before it solidifies