Monday, 25 June 2012

The Friand Cake Company

I have been neglecting my blog recently but this is because I am busy getting THE FRIAND CAKE COMPANY business of the ground. This is going very well but like everything takes time and planning. In the last couple of months at least , I have made and tested more friands than you can possibly imagine, giving them to friends, colleagues associates, cafe's, the public  to test and the over- whelming feedback is that they are excellent, new and exciting. I also have a cafe who wants to buy them from me in town. I have also been sourcing ingredients such as Madagaskan vanilla by a new award-winning company called Little Pod. The vanilla extract takes the cake to new heights in the most subtle way possible. I bought 10 kilos of ground almond, 40 packets of butter, 5 kilos of white chocolate and so on. I now have a wide range of silicone trays including financier tins to make little bars of little gold almond cakes. My logo is nearing completion and I am working on the packaging. I am almost set! I am hoping to launch in a farmers market later in July subject to confirmation of a stall. I am about to get the shelf life of my friands tested. And so on. Hard work but great fun and it makes it even nicer when I get feedback as I have been that I am one the right tracks with the friand cakes. My long term aim is to sell online so let me know if you are interested and I will add you to my mailing list. Also, I have a facebook page below  you can like to follow the development of this company and a soon to be website. I am also happy to advise on any aspect of making your own friand cakes. As I said , I have made a few. It would seem there is an appetite for friand cakes. People love the lightness of the egg whites, the almond texture, the range of fillings and so on. They are a nice size to snack on, they are relatively healthy with almonds and egg whites as main ingredients, there are gluten free and dairy free options. In fact ,with little flour,  the GF free option is something I am considering for all my friands as it does not seem to affect the taste at all. Still testing this.

Anyway, just a quick update.

Friday, 4 May 2012

All About Little Friand Cakes

The Audrey Hepburn of the Cake World

Small, Delicate, Floatingly Light  & Lovely to Behold

Blueberry Friands

To the observant among you, you may have noticed I go on ALOT about friands. You may  think as one twitterer did that  I just have a problem repeatedly mispelling the word friends (until I suggested popping them in the oven that is!). I now call them Little Friand Cakes on twitter to avoid confusion.  I have been making these little cakes for about four years now and have increasingly grown to love them. There are many many variations and I am in the process of compiling a list of recipes which breaks them down into different categories. There are lots of recipes available if you troll the internet but once you get the basic idea, you will probably start to come up with your own versions whether it be adapting another cake recipe you love or just deciding to try different combinations of fillings.  Increasingly, I am  producing them on a grander scale  to sell them at farmers markets as I am convinced, if your not already a convert, you will love them too.  Their small size and egg white and almond base makes them light calorie wise so guilt free. The low or no flour (gluten free)  content and almond (or other nut) base makes them perfect for gluten free recipes

They are great to eat on their own with a cup of coffee. Or you can eat them  as a dessert in themselves. They can be served with fresh fruit and ice cream or with a raspberry sauce for example. This dessert has the potential to be  as good as any you will see in a top restaurant with great possibilities for wonderful presentation by a creative cook.

I did say I love them and I am not alone. I have read many food writers, bloggers who share this passion for friands especially in recent months and I am convinced they are going to take off in the UK very soon, hopefully with my small contribution and also the increasingly number of foodies blogging and reporting on them. It is clear that if they are such a hit in Australia and New Zealand, that it is only a matter of time. You do see them in the odd cafe etc but if you ask most people what a friand is , they look at you blankly.  Everyone deserves to enjoy friands. This leads me on to the telling you a bit more about them.

Potted History of Friands


Friands, it is generally accepted,  started this life as financiers in France little round tea cakes similar to sponge. I read one blog where a contributer felt that perhaps the Friand had more in common with a Friand aux Amandes, another French cake and you can clearly see why they might think that. But I digress. Financiers  are made with  brown butter (beurre noisette) , egg whites, ground almonds, icing sugar  and flour . They are closely aligned with the more common madeleines. They were said to have emerged in the financial district of Paris and were traditionally baked in rectangular moulds to resemble gold bars and round coin like ones as well. While these cakes do not have any fillings, they are often  served with fruit and ice cream or other sauces  as I do now.

Lime & Coconut (delicious)

The friand cake  emerged in  New Zealand and Australia and is typically (lots of exceptions with friands) oval in shape. The basic ingredients of a friand are the same as a financier. The main difference seems to be in the melted butter which in a friand typically  (see what I mean) isn't brown.   The second big difference is that friands have fillings of an almost infinite variety and open up this cake to experimentation and versatility. It would seemed a whole world of possibilities opened up for friands in the same way cupcakes and muffins have.  It is as a friand that this cake really comes into its' own. Saying that a plain friand dusted with icing sugar definitely has its place alongside a lovely cappucino as a morning snack.

ok this does have Blueberries but you get the idea


What Does a Friand Taste Like?

Glazed Apple & Vanilla , my latest style
Mixed Friands

 As a financier, a friand is described as a tea cake and seems to be similar to a madeleine. One of the defining features of a friand is its lightness and texture. The crunchy edges and the soft centre and the melt in the mouth sensation if it has a filling. Some people like the contrast of the sweet filling with the bitterness in some fruit such as raspberries. Here are some quotes from various blogs.

" The more sophisticated friend of a cupcake." Lex Eat

The nuts and egg whites make them slightly superior to a muffin ( whilst a muffin looks up to a friand but down to a fairy cake - the fairy cake says ‘I know my place’), but the extent of their variations with different nuts and added fruits means they are just as versatile."Laundrey etc
"About four bites of the moist heavanly little cakes in the world." Marie from the English Kitchen

Shaped like a Little Friand!

The friand is perceived  as a class act superior in style to its counterparts.The friand is to the cake world what Audrey Hepburn is to the screen;  small, delicate, floatingly light and lovely to behold. I made some with fresh coconut and a marcapone cream filling for  a christmas party this year for Caliberi Interactive. They were piled high and resembled a wedding cake,no knives required!  This  impressed the guests eyes and palates, the chilled fresh coconut and cream filling makes each mouthful a taste of pure heaven.

Fresh Coconut with Marscapone Cream Filling

Some people come to making friands because they gave some left over egg whites to use. However, once you have made them once, it is likely you won't wait for left over egg whites until you make them the next time.  If you set out to make friands then the left over egg yolks are perfect for making ice cream. A friand with a dollop of ice cream with a scattering of fresh raspberries is truly a marriage made in heaven for me and a regular feature in my home and on my menus.

A Word on Friand Tins

This is what I use but I had to order from France and at some cost as the oval shape holes are not readily available here yet. This is silicone which solves every noted issue as lots of people complain about getting them out of the tins.  I started with individual tins which were fairly tricky and time consuming in the "losing the will to live" way. So whatever shape you make them, my advice  is use silicone as the friands just pop out.

Are You Converted?

Let's hope so. In the meantime, here is an few of the friand options out there. If you are already a convert and have interesting recipes to share I would love to see them. You can email me at I hope to meet you at a farmers market in the Borders or in Edinburgh very soon. If you are interested in attending a cake event dedicated to friands, let me know. Perhaps one of these fab cake groups would consider hosting one.

  • Fig & Pistachio       
  • Blueberry & Lemon        
  • Chocolate Hazelnut     
  • Orange & Poppy Seed
  • Coconut & Mango       
  • Lemon Curd          
  • Christmas Spiced       
  • Banana & Cinnamon
  • Raspberry & Galangel      
  • Candied Lemon      
  • Pecan & Maple    
  • Rhubarb with Flaked Almonds
  • Sticky Gingerbread        
  • Orange Drizzle          
  • Pineapple & Macademia       
  • Caramel Easter