Gastronomy  Financier: the story of the million-dollar cake
08/09/201700:00 TV5MONDE
Have you ever tried a Financier (pronounced fee-nahn-see-AY)? Contrary to popular belief, this is actually not a pastry but a small, fluffy cake instead. They have been sold in France for more than 100 years and are starting to become very popular abroad. Traditionally, the key ingredient (and flavour) to this cake is almond, but this little bite of heaven is now available in many flavours (ginger lemon, chocolate, caramel, pistachio, green tea...) and even shapes. You might find yourself looking at a financier shaped like a little muffin in some of the Parisian patisseries these days.
Different flavours, ingredients - if you can name them, the skilled bakers can make them!

We call it the million-dollar cake because there is a story behind its very creation. This cake was created in 1890 by a pastry chef, a Mr. Lasne. His shop was located on the Rue Saint-Denis which is close to La Bourse, Paris' stock exchange. The baker wanted to create a treat that would be adapted to his customers' daily needs, and his regular customers are the ones working in banking and finance. These individuals are always in a hurry (the same goes in today's world!), are impeccably dressed and don't have time to sit down for a treat. He therefore designed this cake which presents two advantages. One, it could be eaten on the go, without the use of a knife and fork. Second, it's small enough to carry in your hand and does not contain any cream or add-on ingredients which could fall and ruin a nice dress shirt.
La Bourse, Paris
Lasne then took one step further and made a marketing move well ahead of his time. To attract the desire of his buyers, he modeled and made the cake into the shape of gold bars. Not only are these cakes easy to carry in your hand and to eat, they now look like a major currency of trade. Now why would a business man not be enticed to try out this new invention?

Have you ever tried this light, moist cake? It tastes rather similar to the sponge cake (but is of a slightly heavier texture) and is usually made from a mix of almond flour. Next time you are in Paris and especially if you find yourself near La Bourse, be sure to try this cake!
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