Thursday, 13 January 2011


Friands are ubiquitous in Australian cafes. However, it wasn't until recently when I saw a friand at Caravan cafe on Exmouth Market, that I noticed their absence in London.

Friands are little oval cakes made with almond meal and caramelised butter. They have a lovely dense, nutty taste and, I think, are the more sophisticated friend of the cupcake. They are originally from France but seem to have become an Antipodean "thing".

My mum used to bake friands (amongst other deliciousness) for Sydney cafes and I used to help her. It feels like I've made friands hundreds of times because my mum was always making them, but (until this batch) I'd never made them myself. I think making them will always make me think of her.

Mum sent me over some of her friand tins and her recipe. She agreed to let me share it with you. (Mum tells me the recipe is based on Maureen Simpson's, but to me, it's entirely my mum's). Here it is:


(makes 10)

175g butter, 125g almond meal, 250g sifted icing sugar, 55g plain flour, 5 egg whites, 10 friand moulds.

Put butter into a saucepan and simmer gently until it just starts to turn pale golden (but don't burn). Then set aside to cool slightly. This preparation of the butter produces a delicate nutty flavour.

Meanwhile, put the almond meal, sifted icing sugar and flour into a mixing bowl then add the unbeaten egg whites and mix together.

Pour the warm butter through a fine strainer into the mixture and mix through well.

Grease and flour (v important) the friand moulds well then spoon in the batter, filling them no more than three-quarters full.

Place the moulds onto a baking tray then bake in a preheated very hot oven 230C for 5 minutes, then reduce oven to hot 200C for a further 10-15 minutes (you may need to rotate the tray half way through the cooking time).

The friands should rise up.

Turn out onto a cake rack to cool (with your hand covered with a tea towel, up turn each tin into your palm and bang the base with a knife until the friand falls out and into your hand - my mum's tins have very dented bottoms as a result!).

Serve with a light drift of sifted icing sugar over the top. The little cakes will keep fresh for days.

When mixing the ingredients you can always add orange or lemon rind, blueberries, raspberries, banana and poppy seed, substitute some plain flour for cocoa - the possibilities are endless.
Thanks mum!


Salty said...

Lovely! Went on holiday to Australia last spring and when I came back looked everywhere - in vain - for friand tins or a friand pan. Any idea where to find one in London?

Gourmet Chick said...

Lex these look fantastic I love friands as well - as Salty says the problem is getting the friand tins

LexEat! said...

Hi ladies - have just done some googling and checked out Lakeland too and no luck with the tins! I saw a muffin tray of loaf type ones at Party Party in Dalston - I have sometimes seen friands in rectangular shapes. I'll keep a look out - otherwise the next person back to Oz can buy a batch!

vintagemacaroon said...

These are so much better than cupcakes. I don't know why they aren't more popular!

Gloria said...

I've written about friands on my blog
and get regular requests for info about the tins oval moulds. Most recent I've found is an ebay seller who does them in silicon. Don't look as substantial as my nice metal tin but think they'll do the job nicely.

Raluca said...

Really need to try these..Hmm..Do you think I can bake them in a muffin tin? Or is it forbidden?

LexEat! said...

Raluca - Nicola of The Shed Likes Food tried out this recipe with muffin tins today and they apparently worked perfectly.

So to everyone wondering about the tins, muffin trays will be fine - just don't fill them up past about 2/3 and you might want to cook them a little longer - just test with a skewer as for any cake.

Good luck!

LexEat! said...

I agree Vintage Macaroon - why aren't they everywhere in London?

Many thanks Gloria - so glad the friands are so popular on your blog!

Su-Lin said...

It's the browning of the butter that's always made me nervous of friands - but you make it sound easy! I've got to give these a go.

LexEast! said...

Su-Lin, you brown the butter very slowly, so it shouldn't burn or anything, plus you strain off the little browned bits in it.
I've seen some recipes without browning the butter, but I think this is part of the nutty taste.