These delightful little cakes are based on the French Financiers, but are a little lighter (as the recipe only uses the white of eggs) and are also so quick and super easy to make.
The basic Friand is an almond base and what then makes these then stand apart is the wealth of variations, only limited by your imagination.
Always keep to the basic recipe and then make adjustments accordingly, see my suggestions below. Make a traditional Friand in a miniature loaf tin, but if you don’t have these, you can use any small tin. Silicone moulds work well or use a mini muffin tin. Ultimately the cake should just be a couple of bites, no bigger; they are quite delicate. Serve Friand as part of an Afternoon Tea, or simply with a cup of tea. They make a great after-dinner Petit Four, and of course perfect for parties, picnics and the lunch box.
- 75 g / 3 oz plain flour
- 75 g / 3 oz caster sugar
- 75 g / 3 oz ground almonds
- 4 large, or 5 medium egg whites
- 125g /4 oz unsalted butter, melted and cooled plus a little extra for greasing
- Icing sugar for dusting (optional)
Basic Friand Recipe
Heat the oven to 180° C/ 350° F/gas 4
- Sieve the flour into a large, roomy baking bowl. Add the caster sugar and the ground almonds and stir well. In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until foamy and light but not firm peaks (you are not making meringues).
- Add the egg whites to the dry ingredients, add the butter and gently stir everything together until you have created a thickish cake batter.
- Place 6 small, lightly greased loaf tins (they should hold about 120 ml or half a cup of liquid) onto a baking sheet. Using a dessertspoon, ¾ fill with the cake batter. Clean up any spillages or cake batter on the cake tin rim or sides (if not the batter will burn before the cake is cooked and spoil the flavour of the cakes).
- Cook in the centre of the oven for 15 – 20 minutes or until risen and golden brown, when the centre is pierced with a toothpick it should come out clean.
- Leave the cakes in the tins for 5 minutes, then remove and leave to cook on a wire cooling rack.
- Once cooled dust with icing sugar if using.
- Friands are best eaten on the day they are made. They will keep for a couple of days in a airtight tin and will benefit from slightly warming in the oven before eating.
Variations on Basic Friand Recipe
Coconut and Mango: Replace half the ground almonds with desiccated coconut and proceed with the recipe until filling the cake tins. Once the batter is in the tins, push small cubes of fresh, ripe mango into the batter and bake as usual. The inspiration for this recipe comes from About.com’s Guide to Australian Food.
Lemon Friand: Add the zest of 1 unwaxed lemon to the dry ingredients and proceed with the recipe.
Blueberry Friand : Once the cake batter is in the tin, push two or three blueberries into the cake batter and bake as usual. Only use fresh blueberries for this recipe. Any other summer fruit can also be used - raspberries, strawberry pieces, ripe pear pieces etc