Whenever I am in a cafe in Australia or New Zealand, I head straight for the cake cabinet to see if they have my favourite afternoon tea treat. Blueberry Friands! These delightful little cakes are not as common as they once were, which is a real shame as they are so tasty and the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.
The good news is that they are super quick and easy to make at home – you don’t even need a special friand tin. However, if you are a friand fanatic like me, it is totally worth buying one!
What are friands?
If you’re reading this recipe, you’ve probably tasted one of these moreish little cakes before, but if you are new to friands, you are in for a treat! Friands are a small, oval-shaped cake based on a French ‘Financier’. They are quite dense and buttery and usually have a little fruit, such as berries added.
Fun fact: Friands are oval as they were originally baked in a traditional French aspic mould!
To make my easy Blueberry Friand Recipe, you need the following main ingredients:
- Unsalted Butter: It is best to use unsalted butter for baking so that you can control the amount of salt in the final product. If using salted butter, omit the pinch of salt from the recipe.
- Powdered Sugar / Icing Sugar: This gives the friands their lovely cakey texture.
- Plain Flour and Ground Almonds: These form the base of the friand batter. Self-raising flour is not suitable for this recipe as it will rise too much.
- Egg Whites: Beaten egg whites act as the raising agent in this recipe as well as binding everything together. Be sure to save the egg yolks, they make a fabulous custard, mayonnaise or shortbread.
- Blueberries: The star of the show! It’s worth getting juicy, fresh blueberries for this recipe, you don’t need too many so even though they are expensive it is worth it.
- Lemon, almonds and vanilla: These flavours compliment blueberries beautifully. I like adding a few drops of bitter almond essence to max out the flavour.
Blueberry Friands are simple to make, perfect for an impromptu afternoon tea or an easy school lunchbox filler. There are 4 main steps:
- 1. Prepare your friand or muffin pans. Because friands are not baked in paper cases it is important to grease the pans well to avoid the friands sticking. I apply a double layer of butter for best results.
- 2. Stir together the dry ingredients, then lightly beat the eggs and mix into the dry ingredients with melted butter and flavourings.
- 3. Top the friands with fresh berries and nuts – you can even mix and match and have different friands all in one pan.
- 4. Bake until golden brown and well risen.
After that, all you need to do is eat them all up! They never last long in my house!
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 (this is an Amazon affiliate link) which is easily available online and of very good quality. It’s made of a heavy, sturdy material and the friands pop right out every time.
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.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How do you make gluten-free Blueberry Friands?
Easy! Simply swap out the plain or all-purpose flour for a gluten-free equivalent.
Can I make friands with other fruit?
Of course! Try my recipe for Raspberry Friands (they are great with a little white chocolate added). It’s best to use a soft, tart fruit, so think of things like plums, berries, feijoa or similar.
Can I make friands without nuts?
Unfortunately, this is not possible. A major part of friands is the almond component. How about a lovely berry sponge cake instead?
- 150g (5.25 oz.) unsalted butter
- 250g (8.75 oz.) powdered or icing sugar
- 100g (3.5 oz.) all-purpose or plain flour
- 150g (5.25 oz.) ground almonds (almond meal or almond flour)
- pinch of salt
- 6 medium egg whites (see notes)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract or 3-4 drops bitter almond oil (see notes)
- lemon zest (to taste, approx 1 medium lemon)
- 125g (4.5oz.) fresh blueberries
- 2 Tbsp chopped almonds
- Heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F /Gas mark 4. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, and generously brush a 12-hole standard muffin tin or non-stick 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 the prepared pans in the refrigerator while you continue the recipe.
- Sift the sugar and flour together in a large bowl, then stir through the almonds and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites until they are light and fluffy, only a minute or two; whipping them to soft peaks is unnecessary. Stir the egg whites into the dry ingredients, then pour in the melted butter, vanilla and lemon zest, mixing gently until combined.
- Spoon mixture into the muffin tin or friand pan cups, and place 5-6 blueberries and a pinch of chopped 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 onto a rack to cool completely. If you need to loosen the friands from the side of the tin, use a thin, sharp knife to loosen them, 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 extra icing sugar. These cakes will keep in an airtight container for several days, and they get better as they go on! If you have smaller muffin tins or a 6-hole friand tin, halve the recipe.
- To make Gluten-free Blueberry Friands, replace the plain flour with gluten-free flour.
- The temperature given is for a standard oven. If using the fan setting, you'll need to reduce the temperature to around 160-170° C fan-forced. Cooking time may vary.
- Save the egg yolks! They are great for making mayonnaise, creme brulee or custard!
- Fresh berries are best for this recipe. If using frozen berries, let them thoroughly defrost and drain before using.
- 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 that combines the shape of the original 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 readily available in Germany and available online. Only a few drops are needed, as a little goes a long way!
- Imperial measurements are approximate. I use and recommend a digital kitchen scale for best and most accurate results.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 143Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 50mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 0gSugar: 10gProtein: 3g
Nutrition is calculated automatically and may not always be 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!