Parisian pastry chef Lasne will turn in his grave. Yesterday, I decided to recreate his financier and investigate on how to make a full-fledged cake. But that is not the issue. My recipe tells you how to add a sinful caramel frosting that will leave you licking the icing and crumbs on your fingers.. If you think it is undignified, then do.
In 1890, Lasne decided to restore the famous cake of the nuns of the Visitation Order (http://ginkgoproject.com/blog/2012/07/01/le-financier/). Since most of his clients were gentlemen from the Paris Stock Exchange, he decided to create an almond cake, which could be eaten without dirtying the fingers – for regular customers visiting his shop on the rue de Bourdaloue.. Technically, my recipe will give you ‘cleaned fingers’. Sorry Lasne..
After intense research, I adapted the financier recipe (http://lacerise.blogspot.com/2007/04/financiers.html) You can see that I was too lazy with stepping out for raspberries and that her cakes are brilliant – but sadly, I am not interested in small cakes. I like a large slice of cake with icing for tea and to silence beloved friends into helplessness.
After lot of search, the caramel frosting was adapted (http://www.italian-dessert-recipes.com/caramel_frosting.html) by using brown sugar since I never buy white.. Frankly, I looked at many images of icing but was not convinced by the method. This site had no pictures but seemed to be one of those old-fashioned recipes – of which, I am a huge fan after eaten many cakes that look great but taste of air or nothingness..
1 and half cup brown sugar (I powdered one cup brown sugar with 1 tsp vanilla)
1 and 1/4 cup ground almonds (ground with little sugar as recommended by the blog and 1 tsp vanilla)
1 cup flour
5 tbs honey
A little over 1/2 tspn baking powder
180g unsalted butter (visually divide your 250 gm Lurpak and cut it folks)
6 egg whites (the leftover egg yolks can be thrown into a makhani base in the evening and boiled for 7 minutes)
Preheat your oven to 180°C. Butter two baking tins.
First make the “beurre noisette” (or burnt butter). Melt butter in a thick-bottomed pan and let it boil slowly till it takes on a golden brown hue and the kitchen is filled with a fragrant and buttery, nutty smell. Leave to cool.
Next, take out your food processor bowl. Add sugar, ground almonds, flour and the baking powder and stir. Pour the cooled butter and mix. Add honey and egg whites and blend till smooth. Pour batter into two tins and bake for 20 minutes. Do check in between for doneness since this cake has a tendency to go from brown to burn in a very short span. Mine was browned as you can see in pixs below. Cool.
Caramel icing ingredients
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbs water
1/4 cup fresh cream (I used Nestle)
1 tsp vanilla powder
8 tbs butter (room temperature)
1 tsp of sea salt
1 cup powdered brown sugar mixed with 1 tsp of cocoa powder
How to make caramel icing
Mix sugar and water in a pan and heat on low flame. Let it cook without stirring till mix turns dark amber – around 7 minutes. Remove from pan and quickly add cream and vanilla else caramel will harden. Stir till smooth and leave for 30 minutes, said the recipe. I did.
Then add butter and salt and blend till smooth for another 3 minutes and add sugar. Since I had caramel bits, I melted the caramel using the double boiler method (icing bowl over a small saucepan of boiling water) and then placed the icing in the fridge to thicken (maybe half an hour). Hang the laundry, chat to a friend and be patient..
Frost the first cake with the icing. Then place the second one on top and pour the caramel all over the cake and smoothen with a knife.. Not perfect to look at but an absolutely melt-in-the mouth caramelly and moist, almondy experience. This cake tastes better the next day.