A small but sturdy cake

We went to an exhibition today, which I will write more about when I’ve thought about it, digested what I saw, processed my impressions and come to some conclusions. I did, though, digest something else, and that was a small cake I had with my coffee while we waited for our allotted time to go in.

It was very fine coffee even though it was in a cardboard cup, and the small but sturdy cake which accompanied it was also very fine. In fact it was so fine I’ve sort out a recipe and will have a go at making some. I couldn’t quite remember it’s name, and what I Googled kept coming up with friendship cakes which are those yeasted cakes made from a starter which lasts for ever and is usually Christened Hermann. I never had any luck with them, the batter soured (no doubt I did something wrong) or the thing didn’t rise, and even if it had succeeded, I didn’t have any friends who would have liked to receive him. A very kind friend had given me a Hermann and she had had great success – I tasted a slice and know, but I obviously mismanaged mine.

Back to the small but sturdy cake I so enjoyed today. Eventually I remembered the name, it’s a friand and this is what Wikipedia has to say about it:

A friand is a small almond cake, popular in Australia and New Zealand, closely related to the French financier. The principal ingredients are almond flour, egg whites, butter, and powdered sugar. A friand typically has additional flavourings such as coconut, chocolate, fruit, and nuts. It is baked in small moulds, typically oval or barquette in shape. French financiers do not have additional flavourings.

I can’t remember having a friand while we were in Australia, but we did have plenty of Lamingtons which we enjoyed which are plain sponge cakes, coated in jam and rolled in desiccated coconut.

Here’s a simple recipe from the BBC


  • 100g unsalted butter , melted and cooled
  • 125g icing sugar , plus extra for dusting
  • 25g plain flour
  • 85g ground almond
  • 3medium egg whites
  • 1 unwaxed lemon , grated rind only
  • 85g blueberries

1. Sift the icing sugar and flour into a bowl. Add the almonds and mix everything between your fingers.

2.Whisk the egg whites in another bowl until they form a light, floppy foam. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, tip in the egg whites and lemon rind, then lightly stir in the butter to form a soft batter.

3.Divide the batter among the tins, a large serving spoon is perfect for this job. Sprinkle a handful of blueberries over each cake and bake for 15-20 minutes until just firm to the touch and golden brown.

4.Cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn out and cool on a wire rack. To serve, dust lightly with icing sugar.

I omitted to take a picture of my friand – it actually wasn’t there very long, so I am sharing a featured image of some Tasmanian sky, beneath which it would be lovely to drink coffee and eat one, or several.


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