This Black Sesame and Chocolate Financier Cake looks utterly spectacular but it’s actually easy to make: if you can make muffins, you can achieve this cake! Plus, you can make the batter and even bake the cake in advance, which makes it the ultimate stress-free dessert.
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It’s no secret I love financiers. Financiers are tiny cakes made with brown butter and powdered almonds, and I love them so much because, despite their fancy name and elegant appearance, they’re super easy to make (if you can make muffins, you can make financiers!), and they’re extremely versatile: you can make them with any type of nut and garnish them with any fresh or roasted fruits, dried fruits or citrus zest, or even chocolate chips! What’s more, you can (and should!) make financier batter in advance and it will keep in the fridge for a few days, which makes it the ultimate stress-free dessert.
For as many financiers I’ve baked, I’d never thought of baking financier batter into a cake. That revelation came to me when I attended a three-day professional pastry class with renowned chef Patrice Demers. Chef Demers demonstrated how to make 10 of his best desserts, each of which featured several components. The goal of making these desserts was to perfect specific techniques and discover new presentation ideas.
I loved all the desserts I created with my incredibly inspiring fellow chefs (I learned so much in just three days!), but one cake especially stayed with me: Chef Demers’ Black Sesame and Chocolate Financier Cake. The idea of making a financier cake alone made it worth attending the class! I also picked up a few useful tips that make financier batter better suited for a cake. I’ll be sharing these with you in this post.
Although this Black Sesame and Chocolate Financier Cake sure looks spectacular, it’s super easy to make. It’s no more difficult to make than muffins are! In fact, the biggest challenge you could face with this chocolate financier cake might very well be finding a suitable pan! Chef Demers uses a savarin mold, which is a shallow, donut-shaped mold that makes a cake with a perfectly rounded top. This type of mold contains a lot less batter than a Bundt cake mold, and it’s a good thing because this chocolate financier cake looks and eats better in smaller slices.
If you don’t have a savarin mold, you might not be inclined to buy a new pan—I get that. Here are different pans you can use to make this Black Sesame and Chocolate Financier Cake:
- Ring mold pan: Ring mold pans tend to be a bit deeper than a classic savarin pan, but they work well. The resulting cake will have a slightly different shape (likely wider and less tall), but it will still show that gorgeous ring shape.
- Giant donut pans: These trendy pans are usually made of silicone, which makes them easy to work with.
- Classic cake pan: Forgo the ring shape and go for a classic cake shape! You can bake this chocolate financier cake batter in an 8-inch (20-cm) round cake pan. I recommend not only greasing and flouring the pan as indicated in the recipe but also lining the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper to make sure you’ll easily be able to unmold the cake.
- Muffin pans: You can, of course, make classic, mini black sesame chocolate financiers using this recipe! Simply line the cups of two 12-cup muffin pans with parchment paper cups, then fill each cup with about 2 tbsp (30 ml) of financier batter. Bake the financiers at 350°F (175°C) for about 15 minutes. Invert the cooled financiers on a rack (so the financiers sit on their wider end), then pour the chocolate ganache over the financiers. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with candied lemon zest, if desired.
In addition to all these options, you can also, of course, use a classic financier pan! Whichever pan you choose, you’ll create a memorable dessert.
Helpful Tips for Making Black Sesame and Chocolate Financier Cake
- Use the right pan for the job: Refer to the above information and pan substitution ideas to pick the right pan for baking this financier cake. The instructions to make individually sized financiers are also included in the recipe below.
- Make sure those black sesame seeds are toasted: It’s impossible to tell by sight whether black sesame seeds are toasted. They’re usually sold raw, so you should make sure to toast them and let them cool fully before you use them in this recipe. Toasted sesame seeds have a much deeper, more interesting flavor, which is what makes this financier cake so delicious!
- Don’t be afraid of making brown butter: If you’ve never made it before, browning butter might sound like an intimidating task. Yet it’s really easy: simply make sure to use a stainless pan to melt the butter, as the light color will allow you to monitor the butter color easily. Stay close to the stove throughout (the process takes only a few minutes!) and use your nose: brown butter has an amazingly enticing, very distinctive nutty aroma, so when you start smelling it, it means your butter is almost done! Refer to the recipe below for detailed instructions.
- Combine brown butter with canola oil to create a cake that remains moist and tender for days: This is a tip I picked up from Chef Demers. Combining brown butter with canola oil allows the financier cake to stay soft and moist for days. That, along with the chocolate ganache coating, makes this cake a perfect make-ahead treat. Simply Let the cake cool completely, coat it with the ganache and sprinkle with sesame seeds, let it set, and store the cake in an airtight container or under a cake dome at room temperature for up to 3 days. Garnish with candied lemon zest right before serving, if using.
- Use the best dark chocolate you can afford: You should always use quality dark chocolate in desserts. Quality dark chocolate has a high cacao content, a low sugar content, has few additives or overall ingredients, and no added flavors or preservatives. Quality chocolate is also made with cocoa nibs roasted at a low temperature, which enhances the unique flavors of cacao beans, which have different profiles depending on where they were harvested (like grapes for wine!). Quality dark chocolate melts more easily, has a better flavor, and preserves a gorgeous shine when it is turned into a ganache. My favorite dark chocolates for baking are Valrhona’s Guanaja Dark Chocolate, Callebaut’s Dark Bittersweet Chips, and Cacao Barry’s Ocoa Discs.
For the black sesame financier cake
For the chocolate ganache
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