The Audrey Hepburn of the Cake World
Small, Delicate, Floatingly Light & Lovely to Behold
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)|
|ok this does have Blueberries but you get the idea|
What Does a Friand Taste Like?
|Glazed Apple & Vanilla , my latest style|
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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