Baby Cakes {CtBF}

I have mixed feelings about French desserts.  Tarts I adore, but I’m indifferent to many of the pastries. Maybe it’s because I’m not a big fan of pastry cream and whipped cream.  There are plenty of French sweets I’d never met before.  Over the past couple of years, making more French recipes, I’ve started to have a new appreciation for little French cakes.

The past two challenges for Cook the Book Fridays have been for little cakes.  Both are rich from butter, but in counterpoint, are not too sweet.

The first one, financiers, are little almond cakes with browned butter.  They taste nutty from almond flour and the browned butter.  The French have a special mold for baking these, but I used mini-muffin pans.  These baby cakes are simple to mix up and are a good way to use up extra egg whites.  And they taste good too!

Is my browned butter too brown?

The other little cakes I made were madeleines.  The batter is also simple to make, but these require a special pan.  I had more trouble with these.  In the past, I’ve chilled the batter, but this time, the recipe just said to let it rest (at room temperature, I assumed).  The molds are supposed to be filled just three-quarters.  The imprints are so shallow, it’s hard to judge.  I used my smallest cookie scoop, but it was a bit too much.  The cakes rose and touched their neighbors.  Not the way it’s supposed to work.  There was some extra batter, so I chilled it overnight, and tried again.

Round 2, I was more careful about filling the molds, erring on the side of underfilled.  That worked much better, though my pan-buttering technique had some shortcomings.  The cakes stayed inside the expected boundaries, but most of them stuck to the pan.  When they finally came out, they were NOT pretty.  I had brushed the mold with melted butter, but I think I should have smeared it around with a paper towel for better coverage.

Even though their appearance was lacking, these baby cakes tasted lovely.  I liked the subtle flavor of honey – just a touch, not cloying at all.

I’d be confident in whipping up some financiers any time, but the madeleines will need more practice.

If you want to try yourself, you’ll find the recipe for financiers on page 268 of David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen and the recipe for madeleines on page 274.  My friends’ reviews for financiers can be found here and for madeleines here.

Boston people: I have something you must check out this month.  Last week I went with some friends to check out some of Fujiko Nakaya’s fog sculptures on the Emerald Necklace. At 5 different locations, special misting nozzles create fog that rolls through the landscape.  It’s hard to describe, but it’s quite magical.  Fog x FLO is a special exhibit in honor of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy’s 20th anniversary.  It runs through the end of October. Find all the details here.

A friend and I wander through the fog at the Arnold Arboretum
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Posted on 5 October 2018, in Baking, Cook The Book Fridays, my paris kitchen and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. My preferences are for small french pastries like madeleines and financiers too. Who won’t like the burnt buttery taste? I’d love to see the misty fog exhibit. I have to find a reason to go to Boston. Silicon molds don’t have sticking issues but you don’t get the lovely crust. Happy baking!

  2. Betsy! What an interesting exhibit!! The gorgeous fog! Thanks for sharing. I really need to make both of these still. I put my madeleine pan in storage, not buying a new one. So mini muffin pans might have to do. Your descriptions sound lovely, even if the madeleine pan was cranky! These really look great, especially the financiers!!! Hope your weekend is wonderful.

  3. That fog looks incredible!
    I really liked the taste of these. I used my fingers and rubbed softened butter all over the entire pan and then put it in the freezer as Mardi suggested in her C’s and C’s link and it seemed to help.

  4. The FOG!!! And yes, I’m not sure why you wouldn’t just flour the pans as well – since you’ve got all that wait time to fill in LOL! An interesting recipe I’m glad I tried…

  5. That exhibit sounds so interesting. I’m not sure if I was just plain lucky or the silicone pans helped, but mine did fall out easily. They were quite tasty and I loved the flavors.

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