Tigre Pastry Recipe

Prep Time:

15 Min

Cook Time:

20-25 Min

Total Time:

35-40 Min

Jump To Recipe
Tigre au Chocolat cake with almond flour

Tigre Pastry Recipe

If you’re looking for a sweet and simple French dessert to make at home, this Tigre pastry recipe is for you!

Tigre pastry – also known as a tigre cake – is a delightful, mini, dense and buttery almond cake speckled with chocolate pieces and filled with chocolate ganache. I was first introduced to this dessert while studying and living in Paris.

I lived in a tiny apartment off Rue Montorgueil with floor space that was only about as big as a rolled out yoga mat. It was charming and oh-so Parisian though, and it was right down the street from the Stohrer, the oldest pastry shop in Paris (open since 1730!).

Naturally, I spent a lot of time trying everything in the pastry case until I found my favorites: a caramel éclair, mini chocolate filled beignets, and the tigre pastry.

The Stohrer eventually stopped making tigre cakes and I moved from Paris to Versailles, but tigre cakes are still one of my favorite French pastries to make at home. They are also one of my favorite recipes in my cookbook, French Pastry Made Simple. They are surprisingly simple but feel really special.

What is a Tigre Pastry?

Tigre is a classic pastry that you rarely find in pastry shops now. If it’s name makes you think of “tiger cakes” then you’re exactly right! It’s named for its tiger-like appearance thanks to swirls of chocolate specks (frankly, I think it looks more like a léopard cake but I’m not about to change the name!).

The base of the cake is a butter almond cake, typically called a financier, that is made with rich and toasty browned butter. There are many different variations of financiers, but the tigre pastry includes a soft chocolate ganache filling that creates a decadent, melt-in-your-mouth treat.

These are typically made in special molds, but you can also make them with a muffin tin, mini muffin tin or mini donut pan if that’s what you have!

Tigre Cake vs Tiger Cake

Tigre cake and tiger cake seem like they’d be the same dessert, but they’re actually very different. If you try to search for tigre cake recipes using an English spelling, you’re more likely to find a Nordic chocolate marble cake that looks delicious but is definitely not a delicate butter almond cake 🙂

What You Need to Make Tigre Pastries 

There are two main parts to making tigre cake: the cake batter and the chocolate ganache. Thankfully, you probably already have most of what you need in your pantry right now!

Tigre Cake Batter Ingredients:

  • Unsalted butter
  • Almond flour or almond meal
  • Powdered sugar
  • All-purpose flour
  • Egg whites
  • Vanilla extract
  • Bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

Chocolate Ganache Ingredients:

  • Bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • Heavy cream
Molly Wilkinson making tigre pastry cakes with teaspoons
Photo by Joann Pai

How to Make Tigre Cakes

Making tigre cakes requires a few different steps but is actually quite simple. Even if you’re a beginner baker or you’ve never tried to make French pastries at home, you can make these delicious cakes!

How to Make Financiers

The first step toward making tigre cakes is to make the financier base. And this process starts with making the delicious browned butter. You’ll heat butter in a saucepan over low to medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally. Cook it until it starts foaming and brown bits form on the bottom and then remove from the heat.

Next, mix together your dry ingredients in a bowl before adding in the egg whites, vanilla and browned butter. Once the batter is combined you’ll stir in the chopped chocolate. Just make sure it’s not warm from the butter, or the chocolate will melt.

Cover and let the batter chill for at least one hour and up to two days to firm up a bit before baking.

How to Make Tigre Pastry Without a Special Mold

While tigre cakes are traditionally baked in a special mold, you can make them in a standard cupcake tin (I like this one!). Make sure you grease the tin and only fill the molds ¼ of the way full. Then, to keep the cakes from rising too much, place a piece of parchment paper on top of the cupcake tin and top with a flat, sturdy baking sheet.

Once the cakes have baked and then cooled for about 5 minutes, turn them out onto a clean surface. Use a teaspoon-sized measuring spoon and use the back to firmly press into the bottom of each warm cake to make an indentation. This is where you’ll put your chocolate ganache.

How to Make Chocolate Ganache

Chocolate ganache is so easy to make and so good. Simply place chopped chocolate in a small bowl and then heat the cream until just boiling and pour it all over the chocolate. Whisk to combine and you’re done!

You can transfer the ganache to a piping bag or simply use a spoon to fill the cavities of the tigre cakes with chocolate. Let the chocolate set at room temperature for about 30 to 60 minutes or (if you can’t wait) enjoy them right away with a gooey chocolate center.

Tips & Tricks for Tigre Pastry

Making tigre pastries at home is actually very simple, but following these tips and tricks can make it even easier.

  • The batter needs to chill for at least an hour, so I like to make it the day before I plan to bake them.
  • For the chocolate pieces you can use any kind of chocolate you have on hand, including mini chocolate chips or baking chocolate in bar, disk or chip form. But no matter which variety you use make sure you chop them up into small pieces.
  • When making the browned butter, turn off the heat as soon as you start to see brown bits to ensure it doesn’t turn into burned butter. You can add these brown bits to the batter!
  • I make these cakes with a cupcake pan, but you can also use a mini donut pan. 
  • Don’t be afraid to switch up the flavors in these tigre cakes. I’ve filled these with caramel before and they were delightful! You could also try using different types of chocolate to see which you like best or even swap out the vanilla extract for a different flavor.
  • You can store assembled tigre cakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.

Tigre Cake

A dense and buttery almond cake filled with chocolate ganache.

Prep Time:

15 Min

Cook Time:

20-25 Min

Total Time:

35-40 Min

Ingredients

For the Cake Batter:
  • 1 stick or 8 tbsp (115 g) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup (60 g) almond flour or meal
  • 1 cup (140 g) powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup (45 g) all-purpose flour
  • 4 (120 g) egg whites
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 oz (1/4 cup) (45 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
For the Ganache:
  • 2 oz (60 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Place the butter in a saucepan and heat on low to medium flame. Swirl the pan occasionally. Cook until brown bits form on the bottom, then remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, powdered sugar and flour. Then add the egg whites, vanilla extract, and browned butter. Stir the chopped chocolate into the batter (even the chocolate dust).
  3. Cover and let chill at least one hour or up to two days to firm up.
  4. When you’re ready to bake the tigre, preheat your oven to 350F/175C. 
  5. Grease a standard cupcake tin with baking spray or melted butter. Fill the molds ¼ of the way full. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the cupcake tin, and then top with a flat sturdy baking sheet.
  6. Bake 20 minutes, then remove the baking sheet and parchment paper and bake another 3-5 minutes.
  7. Let cool 5 minutes and then turn out on to a clean surface.
  8. Take a teaspoon sized measuring spoon and use the back to firmly press into the bottom of each warm cake to make an indentation.
  9. While the cakes cool, make the chocolate ganache filling.
  10. Place the chocolate in a small bowl. Heat the cream just until boiling on the stove or in the microwave and pour, all in one go, over the chocolate. Whisk to combine.
  11. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe into the cavities, or simply spoon it in!
  12. Let the chocolate set at room temperature (about 30 minutes to an hour) or enjoy immediately for a runny center.

Notes

Make Ahead: Whip up the cake batter up to 2 days in advance.

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Tigre au Chocolat cake with almond flour
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Leave A Comment & Rate This Recipe!

Mini individual Mary Ann molds are like mini savarin molds only the centre does have a bottom. So are these Tigre cake molds the same as Mary Ann molds?

What is the diameter of these cakes? Will antique individual Mary Ann tins work?

Hi Denise! Tigre cakes are traditionally baked in a special mold, but you can make them in a standard cupcake or muffin tin! That would be about 2″ diameter

May I suggest that you pour off the browned butter into a small bowl instead of leaving it in a pan? I left mine in the pan and the carry-over heat burned the butter.

Also, regarding the egg whites, do you whip them a little before adding or just mix in as is?

Thanks for the lovely recipe.

M.

Hi Madonna! You can whisk the egg whites right now, no need to whip them before 🙂

Thank you 🙏 love these recipes will definitely 💯 give them a try!
Merci beaucoup 🥣🍫

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