I have always been fascinated with the way recipes change and adapt as they make their way around the globe, with each country putting their unique spin on the original.
The café and coffee culture, once dominated by Europe, has been whole-heartedly embraced in the lands Down Under, though everything has been switched up to suit the local tastes.
While New Zealand and Australia will never agree on who created the pavlova or the flat white coffee, friands are definitely an Australian invention.
What are friands?
Friands are small, moist almond cakes, with a deliciously chewy crumb. Friands are usually flavoured with fruit like berries as well as vanilla and sometimes orange or lemon zest. They are traditionally baked in an oval friand pan, similar to a muffin pan.
These tasty little cakes actually began life as French financier cakes; small, rich, gold-bar-shaped mini cakes. As the story goes, a cook working in Australia wanted to make financiers but didn’t have the properly shaped forms, so he or she used small oval aspic moulds, and the friand was born.
What’s the difference between friands and financiers?
Apart from the shape, financiers are usually eaten plain. Friands on the other hand are always flavoured, usually with soft fruit like berries, as in today’s recipe: Raspberry and Almond Friands.
Friand pan vs. muffin pan
In Australia, buying a friand pan to make these in is usually as simple as popping out to your local Woolworths or Kmart, not the case when you live abroad. I use and thoroughly recommend the Masterclass friand pan (affiliate link) which is easily available online and of very good quality.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a friand pan! This recipe will work wonderfully using a regular muffin tin instead, which also gives perfect results.
Friands are made with simple ingredients and can easily be adapted to be gluten-free. To make friands at home, you’ll need:
- powdered or icing sugar
- plain flour (can be gluten-free plain flour)
- ground almonds / almond meal
- egg whites
- vanilla or almond extract
There is no need to add any baking powder or other raising agent as the egg whites add all the air necessary to these delicious cakes.
How to make friands
Friands are so simple to make that you don’t even need a mixer, just a couple of bowls and a whisk.
- First, stir together the dry ingredients.
- Whisk the egg whites until light and frothy
- Fold the beaten egg whites and the almond mixture together
- Pour into a well-greased friand or muffin pan
- Top with berries and nuts
- Bake until risen and golden brown.
I like to make Raspberry and Almond friands as the flavours so so well together, but you can mix and match the flavours to suit what is in season. You could try:
- Blueberry and lemon (add plenty of lemon zest)
- Blackberry and hazelnut
- Fig and pistachio
- … or let your imagination run wild!
If you like, use a mix of fruit and make different kinds of friands in the same pan.
Depending on which baking tin you are using, it is important to grease the pan extra well. This will ensure that the friands don’t stick to the sides. If you find they are stuck to the sides, don’t panic! Loosen them gently with a small, sharp knife, twisting gently until they come loose.
These delicious little cakes will keep for several days, well covered in a cool, dry place. The recipe makes 12, though you can scale the recipe up or down to suit your needs.
Take care out there, and happy baking. x J
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a ‘standard’ muffin tin? What is a friand pan and where can I buy one?
A ‘standard’ muffin tin holds 75ml of liquid in each cup – the sort you would use for small cupcakes.
A friand pan is an Australian invention and combines the shape of the original aspic mould with the ease of a muffin tin. Outside of Australia, you can get them online (link in recipe card).
What can I do with my leftover egg yolks?
Can I make friands with other fruit?
Friands are a fantastic way to use up whatever soft fruit is in season. They are especially good with berries, stone fruit or figs.
Can I make friands gluten-free?
You sure can! Just replace the very small amount of plain flour with your favourite gluten-free flour blend.
- 150g (5.25 oz.) unsalted butter
- 250g (8.75 oz.) powdered or icing sugar
- 100g (3.5 oz.)plain flour
- 150g (5.25 oz.) ground almonds (almond meal)
- pinch of salt
- 6 medium egg whites (see notes)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract or 3-4 drops bitter almond oil (see notes)
- 24 fresh raspberries
- 2 Tbsp flaked almonds
- 3 tsp finely chopped pistachios (unsalted)
- Heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F /Gas 4. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, and generously brush a 12-hole standard muffin tin or friand pan (see notes) with a little of the butter. Place the friand or muffin pan in the fridge for 2 minutes, then brush again with butter. Place in the fridge while you continue the recipe.
- Sift the sugar and flour together into a large mixing bowl, then stir through the almonds and salt.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk the egg whites just until they are light and fluffy, only a minute or two, it is not necessary to whip them to soft peaks. Stir the egg whites into the dry ingredients, then pour in the melted butter and vanilla, mixing gently, until combined.
- Divide the mixture between the cups of the muffin tin or friand pan, and place 2-3 raspberries and a pinch of flaked almonds on the top of each friand. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes until well risen and golden brown.
- Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out to a rack to cool completely. If you need to loosen the friands from the side of the tin at all, use a thin, sharp knife to loosen, then twist gently before turning out. Transfer the friands to a wire rack to cool.
- Friands can be eaten warm, but are much better served at room temperature, or even chilled, dusted lightly with powdered sugar. These cakes will keep in an airtight container for several days and they get better as they go on! If you have a smaller muffin tin or friand tin, simply halve the recipe.
Save the egg yolks! They are great for making mayonnaise, creme brulee or custard!
A ‘standard’ muffin tin holds 75ml of liquid in each cup - the sort you would use for small cupcakes. A friand pan is an Australian invention and combines the shape of the origin aspic mould with the ease of a muffin tin. I use and thoroughly recommend the Masterclass brand of friand pan, link below.
I love the flavour of bitter almonds, so I like to add a few drops of bitter almond oil to the friand batter. This is easily available in Germany and available online. Only a few drops are needed as a little goes a long way!
Imperial measurements are approximate. For best and most accurate results I use and recommend a digital kitchen scale.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 friand
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 150Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 54mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 1gSugar: 10gProtein: 3g
Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.
If you enjoyed this recipe, please leave a star rating in the recipe card and share it using the buttons below so that others can find it too!