Tiger Cakes

February 10, 2012


Oh I know what you’re thinking. “Tiger? Really? That doesn’t look like a tiger at all.”

Oh yes it does. See that chocolate ganache running down the side? Tiger stripe, people!

Also, look at the insides. See that brownish, chocolately goodness that’s also sort of stripedy? More tiger stripes!

Now perhaps you can understand why we call these little gateaux “les tigres” in France.

Or what I call some of the best little snack-while-you’re-running-errands around — if, that is, you can find them.

They are not everywhere. I found them first maybe seven years ago at a patisserie in Biarritz; then again at Stohrer on rue Montorgueil here in Paris. I have bought them one other time, on a Sunday at the Publicis on the Champs-Élyseés, and besides those three places, I’ve not found my tigers.

I am always on the lookout for them, though.

I love these little cakes. LOVE them.

They are madeleine-like in flavor and chocolate bits (ie “vermicelle” in France — or “jimmies” back home) throughout, making them ever-so-lightly chocolately, but not overwhelmingly so. That’s because a thick layer of ganache is on top, which takes this little cake completely over the top in my book, and makes it perfect. No. The crunchy edges make it perfect. This cake has the nicest texture, ever. Like a corner brownie. That hard-to-achieve but oh-so-perfect-when-you-get-it-right soft-crunchy, you know?

I’ve actually been obsessing over these little cakes and wanting to make them for some time, but I galloped down the book-writing road last year and haven’t been playing around as much as I’d like.

Until the other day when I could not not play around any longer.

And…when the LetsLunch posse decided upon a recipe tied to a song for this month’s theme, I knew I had the push I needed to finally get into the kitchen and make my tigers.

And…because we’re also nearly to Valentine’s Day, I realized I already had my song, too: “Teach Me Tiger” by April Stevens. Sometimes things just work out like they should.

Give it a listen. Give these little cakes a try. And share them with someone you love. Waaawaaawaaawaaawaaa.

Tiger Cakes

Makes 24 cakes

  • 1 cup/120 grams of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 ½ sticks/180 grams of butter, softened
  • 1 cup/180 grams of sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • ½ cup/55 grams of almond powder (I like to lightly toast mine in a skillet)
  • cup/60 grams of chocolate jimmies
  • cup/100 grams of dark chocolate
  • cup/180 ml of cream

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F and line a mini-muffin pan with muffin papers (or cut out parchment paper to fit, as I like to do).

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set this aside.

3. In your mixer, beat the butter with the sugar until it’s light and fluffy.

4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating each one for nearly a minute and scraping down the sides of the bowl between each one.

5. Add the flour mixture and the jimmies and mix just until combined – you don’t want to overmix.

6. Scoop the batter into the muffin molds (you want to fill them halfway), and then pop into your oven for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the cakes are slightly brown on the edges. Take these out and let them cool on a baking rack.

7. When the cakes are cool, make your ganache: Chop up your chocolate, toss it into a bowl and set aside. Warm the cream over medium-low heat, and when it’s bubbling on the sides, pour it over the chocolate. Let the warm cream melt the chocolate, and whisk to combine. Spoon your ganache over your cooled cakes. You can serve right away or let the ganache harden a little bit — either way, they’re just greeeeeat!


Here’s what the rest of the gang came up with:

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Steve Denton February 10, 2012 at 3:13 AM

Those look insanely delicious.

Stephanie February 10, 2012 at 4:12 AM

My boulangerie in St Cloud had them and they were so good!

Andrea Beane February 10, 2012 at 8:48 AM

These looks amazzzing. Gotta make ‘em. xoxoAndrea

Becky February 10, 2012 at 10:29 AM

Is almond powder and almond flour the same thing?

epierce February 12, 2012 at 10:58 AM

Becky: Almond powder is what we call ground almonds used for cakes in France; in the US, it’s called almond meal (coarser grind) and almond flour (finer grind). I like the almond powder that includes the skins; some people prefer the blanched almond powder. If you can’t find this, you may make your own by simply grinding almonds to a powder in your food processor.

Emma @ Kitchendreamer February 13, 2012 at 12:11 PM

These sound incredible! I had never heard of them, but they sure look delicious! “see you” in March for the next #letslunch!

Becky February 23, 2012 at 12:16 PM

Thanks for the definition! Now I will try and make them!

Pat March 13, 2012 at 6:04 PM

OMG – Tigers Cakes are wonderful. I had to give more than half of them away to keep from eating all of the them myself.

Peet du Plessis October 6, 2013 at 3:42 AM

We just returned from a week long Paris visit and came across these by accident. Absolutely hooked :) This is a pic and where we found it.


Cowgirl Chef October 6, 2013 at 8:02 AM

Square tiger cakes! I love it! They’re wonderful, aren’t they?

Vicki du Plessis October 11, 2013 at 3:13 AM

As my Hubby has said we are hooked on tiger cakes, we bought one and after one bite we went straight back and bought the last two left. Will definitely be giving your recipe a try. ;)

Vicki du Plessis October 12, 2013 at 4:15 AM

Decided to give the tiger cakes a try last night, turned out amazing, thank you so much for posting the recipe. I tagged you in the picture I posted on Facebook so hopefully you’ll see my efforts! ;)

Cowgirl Chef October 12, 2013 at 7:46 AM

Vicki, I’m SO glad you made them and they turned out well! Aren’t les tigres amazing? They are truly one of my most favorite gateaux in France, and I was determined to make them at home…a dangerous thing, as you’re no doubt learning. They must be eaten quickly. ;)

Vicki du Plessis October 14, 2013 at 3:30 PM

You’re so right about them being dangerous, I’m all full of good intentions to share them with my freinds and neighbours but so far only two have made it out of the house, we keep accidentally eating the rest!

Cowgirl Chef October 14, 2013 at 3:33 PM

Oooh, I wish I had a Tiger Cake right now to enjoy with my afternoon coffee. I do, however, have some cookie dough in the fridge…NOT the same. ;) Vicki, when I’m in the UK, I want to come over and taste some. ;)

Vicki du Plessis October 16, 2013 at 1:28 AM

It would be an absolute pleasure to make you some tiger cakes, let me know if you’re in the UK and we will have to see if we can sort something out! Have since accidentally made a third batch and managed to deliver some to the neighbours this time but I think I’ll have to put them on the back burner for a while or my Xmas baking will never get done. ;)

Cowgirl Chef October 18, 2013 at 6:19 AM

Ha. I love that. Accidentally made a third batch! The best sort of kitchen accidents indeed.

Vicki du Plessis October 18, 2013 at 5:26 PM

My next project is to try and master Brioche de Saint Genix which considering I’ve never made brioche before is probably going to be quite some challenge…tasted a sample at Francois Pralus which was delicious but they were so big I couldn’t justify buying a whole one. Main problem I think is going to be finding pink pralines in the UK, I’m guessing there’s not a huge demand for them here! ;)

Cowgirl Chef October 20, 2013 at 9:23 AM

Sounds like a trip to Paris may be needed. You can get those pink pralines at G. Detou, I think. I LOVE it, too.

Vicki du Plessis October 20, 2013 at 11:20 PM

Ooh, I think we went in there while we were in Paris, I stood there for ages pondering an enormous bag of crystallised violets. I’ve found a website that sells pink pralines in the UK but I think a trip to Paris to stock up on baking supplies sounds like a better idea! ;)

Cowgirl Chef October 21, 2013 at 6:51 AM

Always. And with that zippy Eurostar, no reason not to!

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