Are you the kind of person who loves to cook but doesn’t always have a lot of time during the week? Well, “The Weekend Kitchen” might be for you. Every second Friday I will feature a weekend-oriented post, with a recipe(s) that you can tackle at a more leisurely pace when you have time on your hands. It might be something that requires some advanced preparation, or multiple steps, or just a little more time than the ordinary weekday cooking. You get the picture? In the weeks to come we could be braising, preserving, baking (in big batches), getting ready for the holidays, making fresh pasta, hosting a dinner party…there is no end to the possibilities. Let’s start with these amazing gingerbread financiers.
Financier describes a French cake, notable for its inclusion of almond flour and browned butter. They are traditionally made in small, rectangular molds. This recipe is an exciting one to have in your baking repertoire: it can be made in advance and the batter keeps for two weeks in the refrigerator. And it can be baked in just about any size or shape of pan. This gingerbread version is full of the flavors of fall. It is moist and rich, and the small cakes have chewy, caramelly edges. Warm spices and white pepper make this a very special cake.
I chose to make my financiers in a miniature tart pan, and top each one with a little dollop of cream cheese frosting.
- 6 ounces (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 cup almond flour
- ¾ cup cake flour
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon allspice
- 8 large egg whites, at room temperature
- ¼ cup unsulfured molasses
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the solids separate and fall to the bottom of the pan. They will be a dark golden brown and have a toasty fragrance. This will take about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool for about 30 minutes, but take care that it does not solidify.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F, with a rack in the center position. Prepare the pan(s) of your choosing; this recipe, used in its entirety, will yield a 10-inch round cake. You can use muffin tins, small molds, loaf pans, and the like. Spray each with pan spray and line flat pans with parchment paper.
- Sift the almond flour, cake flour, and powdered sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add all the sugars and spices. Mix all the dry ingredients, on low speed, for 30 seconds. Add the egg whites all at once and mix on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add the molasses and orange zest and blend in to the mixture.
- Add the melted butter all at once, scraping in the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Mix for 30 seconds on low, then raise the speed to medium-high and mix for 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. The batter will be thick and emulsified. You can now store the batter, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. (Before using refrigerated batter allow it to come to room temperature, then stir it well to mix any butter that may have settled at the bottom of the container).
- Pour the batter into your prepared pan. A large round cake will take about 30 minutes to bake, mini-cakes about 15 minutes. The cake is done when a tester comes out clean. Cool in the pan for a few minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely. Top your cake with your choice of frosting or simply dust with powdered sugar. Wrap leftovers tightly and store at room temperature for 2 days.
From “The Secrets of Baking” by Sherry Yard.