Friday, February 25, 2011


I attended accounting classes many years ago. It almost drove me insane. I sat at my chair, back rigid, knuckles white from squeezing my pen and my eyeballs glued to the whiteboard as the lecturer rummaged with numbers and rattled incessantly. Then I blinked. And I lost everything.

Each time I crawled out of that class I felt beaten up. My back hurt, my fingers numb, my eyes dry and mostly my mind and spirit beaten to a pulp. That's what accounting and finance did to me. I'll never forget and forgive finance.

So financiers .....the name in itself brings me to little hell. I would never dream of making them. Eating them. Smelling them.The word conjures up in my mind thin bespectacled men in severe black suits squishing little cakes with thin lips, legs crossed and a cane in one hand. Ready to beat the pulp out of me. Totally devoid of humour, heart and humaneness.

BUT of course one must never runaway with one's imagination. So once I made these Cherry Cupcake 'Financiers' my mind made a complete turn around. I discovered them to be wholly decent., interesting and cute. But these little ingots I topped and made prettier and gooder with slices of plum. That took the severity off the financiers instantly. I LOVE my Financiers. They good.

Btw....I managed to get through my accounting papers by the skin of my teeth. And with my mind intact. I think.

I also decided to make these because dear Sarah-Jane of had gifted me a silicone financier mould. The mould was so cute and each cell produced a perfect single-sized serving. It was really neat!! Ejecting the financiers was effortless. All I had to do was to let them cool a little and then I simply nudged them out from the bottom. 

I greased the moulds with my finger and dusted them with flour before using. Nothing stuck. The little cakes came out as good as gold freshly minted.

I also let the financiers bake half way through before inserting thin slices of plum on the top. This ensured that they would not sink in and disappear. I think they looked as beautiful as they were delicious. The browned butter added so much flavour and scrumptiousness. And of course because they are Financiers they are rich.

The recipe ~

These little cakes are dense, firm and moist from the ground almonds with a rich nutty buttery flavour from the browned butter. Financiers are not light sponge cakes as I first thought them to be. But even without any leavening agents with the egg whites being simply stirred in they did rise a little above the mould because of the mould's narrowness. I had filled the mould right to the top with batter. But since they rose a little I will in future fill the mould just short of the top so that they will come out perfect and even on the edges and look like real gold ingots. Just for fun.

I got this recipe from Dorie Greenspan's blog through Chez Pim. 

Adapted from Paris Sweets, Great Desserts from the City's Best Pastry Shops
Makes 12 cookies

1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces; 180 grams) unsalted butter
1 cup (200 grams) sugar
1 cup (100 grams) ground almonds
6 large egg whites
2/3 cup (90 grams) all-purpose flour

Put the butter in a small saucepan and bring it to the boil over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally.  Allow the butter to bubble away until it turns a deep brown, but don't turn your back on the pan - the difference between brown and black is measured in seconds.  Pull the pan from the heat and keep it in a warm place.

Mix the sugar and almonds together in a medium saucepan.  Stir in the egg whites, place the pan over low heat, and, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, heat the mixture until it is runny, slightly white and hot to the touch, about 2 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the flour, then gradually mix in the melted butter.  Transfer the batter to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, pressing it against the surface of the batter to create an airtight seal, and chill for at least 1 hour.  (The batter can be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).  Butter 12 rectangular financier molds (these were tested in 3-3/4 x 2 x 5/8-inch [10 x 5 x 1-1/2-cm] rectangular molds that each hold 3 tablespoons), dust the interiors with flour and tap out the excess.  Place the molds on a baking sheet for easy transport.

Fill each mold almost to the top with batter.  Slide the molds into the oven and bake for about 13 minutes, or until the financiers are golden, crowned and springy to the touch.  If necessary, run a blunt knife between the cookies and the sides of the pans, then turn the cookies out of their molds and allow them to cool to room temperature right side up on cooling racks.

I followed the recipe to a T and they turned out PERFECT. These are little cakes you must try.

Monday, February 21, 2011


I'm elated. These cuffins made TOP 9 on Foodbuzz to day 23rd February 2011. Happy Buzzday. Thank you Foodbuzz Foodies!

Beat me. Hit me. Flog me. But please don't fog me. 

Don't those foggers annoy the nonsense out of you? I appreciate them coming around but they really should give a warning before they do. I am forever leaping and flying from one end of the house to the other. Shutting our doors and windows the moment I smell the sudden pesticide-y hiss from the fogging truck. Just so we won't get ourselves fogged and drop like the mosquitoes. Or inhale pesticides for a pre-dinner high.

I digress. 

Let me try again.

Beat me. Hit me. Flog me. But wait! I made these cuffins. I hope that makes up for lost time and blogging lapse. I've been bad. But when that squishy parcel landed in my arms I knew I wouldn't be bad any longer.

Dear Sarah-Jane of Silicone has again inspired me. Again. She designs the most amazing moulds and silicone bakeware. She sent me a scrunchy soft big parcel full of things a baker girl could ever wish for. And got.  I. Am. SO. Excited.

First off I couldn't wait to use these Crown American Jumbo Silicone Muffin moulds. Now I can be as Starbucky as the next Starbucks muffin. They made the most beautiful jumbo muffins ever. Only... they aren't muffins. They are CUFFINS.

Because .....they are exquisitely soft, so moist and fluffy inside, like cake, but proud, crusty and high on top like muffins. And I invented it. I invented the cuffin for those of you  who have been aggravated by my blog. For the past month or so all you would have seen was the same old Apple Pie Pizza staring back at you if ever you dropped by. I know. And I apologize.

I've used dried cranberries and some beautiful festive sugar nibs that Sarah-Jane (bless her heart) had given me as well. I have to tell you that cranberries and sugar nibs made the prettiest of friends and are perfect for cuffins. They gave my cuffins a crowning glory. I. Feel. TOTALLY. GLORIFIED.

I was trying to come up with a healthy snack/breakfast/dessert/something to eat ....I mean really healthy without butter or too many eggs with more fruits and not too sweet. So I took the risk of wasting ingredients just in case it turned out a failure. I whipped bananas and sugar, added the one  egg, and then a stream of olive oil, flour and cranberries. I was smitten. I officially declare myself The Inventor of Cuffins

The jumbo polka dot cupcake cases were gifted to me by Sarah-Jane as well. Thank you so much Sarah-Jane. I'll be on a baking roll now. :)

The recipe...........

I think it worked well and I achieved the dome of a muffin yet the lightness of cake because beating bananas and sugar was very much like beating butter and sugar. The fat in the bananas made up for the fat in butter.While whipping the oil in a thin stream was very much like making mayonnaise. It gave more volume and made the cuffins light and airy as it emulsified. The egg and flour gave them structure and held them all together and the 2 tablespoons of baking powder and baking soda gave them the dome and golden crust. Of course the cranberries added more flavour and sweetness and the sugar bits made my cuffins look like princesses at a ball. Need I say more?

5 large bananas
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup olive oil or any vegetable oil
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup dried cranberries, plumped up by soaking in orange juice or some weak tea if liked. And then drained 

sugar nibs if you have them (optional)

Pre-heat oven at 200 C. Lightly grease or oil the extra sides of the muffin mould. I found that it did not need flouring.

Beat banana and sugar in a mixer machine until light in pale colour (unless you use frozen bananas). Beat in the egg until light. Pour in olive oil in a thin stream and continue beating on medium until light and fluffy.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl. Take mixer  bowl off the stand and fold in the sifted flour etc and cranberries till flour mix disappears. Spoon into paper cups set in the jumbo muffin pan or regular pan. I filled them full right to the top. Very full in fact. Top with a few more cranberries and sugar nibs.

Bake at 200 C so that the batter rises in a burst from the high heat and after 10 minutes reduce to 180 C and bake for a further 10 minutes if regular size or 20 minutes if jumbo.

You will notice that the cuffins at the back are not jumbo simply because I did not fill the mould with enough batter as per Sarah-Jane's instructions. I had read her email to me only after I had baked the first six cuffins. But the last one was jumbo. 

Because I had empty moulds while I was baking the last cuffin I filled the empty muffin cups with water half way up. Like you would do with the usual muffin pan.

PS : I have lots more silicone moulds yet to use. So watch out for future posts!


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