Monday, March 22, 2010

Heavenly Cake Bakers: Peanut Butter Financiers

This week's Heavenly Cake was Peanut Butter Financiers, or ingots. Fancy people make financiers in mini-loaf shaped pans, to symbolize bars of gold. Those of us who are not in high finance make them in our vintage mini-muffin pans that Miriam gave us, which makes them more of mini-cupcakes, although has few other impacts on their general composition. 

Because I made an off-schedule cake this week (Almond Shamah Chiffon with Burnt-Sugar-Apricot Mousseline Buttercream, for those who care), this was the second project of the week that required me to toast and process sliced almonds into almond flour. As recently as last week, I was using regular roasted skin-on almonds in a devil-may-care way, but sensing a lot of this to come, I sprung for some blanched, sliced suckers. They make good decorations too. I have discovered, though, that my little mini food processor does not really do a good job of processing the almonds to a full powder. Usually, I would just use pre-processed almond flour, but all of Rose's recipes very specifically avoid even the mention of that option, so I have to assume there's a reason. (According to Nigella Lawson, there's a fairly serious moisture difference between the preprocessed stuff and freshly ground almonds, so maybe that's it). 

These little cakes weren't much more than brown butter, ground almonds, whip eggs, add peanut butter. They were good, but underwhelming...just little dense peanut butter cupcakes, to which I also added a little buckwheat flour. I just made a half batch at home, and didn't take them to the bakery, as I had a sense that they would turn out not terribly impressive visually.  Still, we ate them, and are ready to move on to the next cake.

While we're here, though, I wanted to take a second to register my unease with the whole 'baby cakes' section of the book. While I appreciate a few instructions for how to convert recipes, and a few fun adaptations such as the Bostini, I think a whole section on this topic seems redundant and overly trendy. Maybe it's my lack of amusement at cupcakes in general, though, speaking sourly through my mouthful of peanut buttery goodness.


Vicki said...

Oh that Almond Shamah was one tricky cake but so worth it! Your peanut butter mini cakes turned out well.

evil cake lady said...

I too have a lack of amusement of cupcakes. Not that I wont eat them...

Mendy said...


Mine also came out dark.

btw, I always use pre-ground nuts in Rose's recipe and have found no difference.

Bungalow Barbara said...

So cute! I'm with Mendy, I used pre-ground almond meal and toasted it in a skillet to bring out the flavor. It seemed to work just fine.