Friands are small almond cakes, a version of the classic Financier cakes. Both cakes are made with egg whites, almond meal, powdered sugar and a small amount of flour. The major difference is in the butter: while the Friands use melted butter, the Financier is made with brown butter.
Another difference lies in their shape: the Friands are pretty much baked in any mold, while the classic Financiers are baked in rectangular molds. The story is that the resemblance of the rectangular golden cakes to a gold bar is what gave them their name. The term Friand in French is also not used solely to describe these cakes. It also means a gourmet (person) and a meat pie! But for our purposes, it is suffice to know that Friands are very tasty and very easy to make mini cakes.
Here I’ve decided to bake the cakes in a mini Bundt pan. If you don’t have one, use a mini muffin pan instead. I’ve also decided to add Cardamom powder to the batter, as I find it goes great with almonds. You can, however, omit it, or use other warm spices, such as ginger or cinnamon.
Pairing the tiny cakes with Lemon Curd is only a serving suggestion, though a very tasty one. It is also quite practical, as it puts the remaining egg yolks into good use, so it’s a win-win situation!
Makes: 12 mini Bundt cakes
Prep time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 12 minutes
1 stick (115 grams) butter
3 L egg whites, at room temerature
½ tsp vanilla
¾ cup powdered sugar
½ cup almond meal
¼ cup flour
1 tsp cardamom powder
¼ tsp salt
1. Preheat the oven to 375F (190C). Melt the butter and keep in a warm place. Use a bit of the butter to brush the pan and sprinkle it with a flour. Turn upsidedown and tap on the pan, to get rid of excess flour. Place the pan in the fridge until using.
2. Mix the egg whites and vanilla in a large bowl, and whisk for about one minute, until large bubbles appear. Add the powdered sugar and whisk until frothy, about 1 minute.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix briefly to a fairly liquid batter. Use a measuring cup to divide the batter evenly between the baking cups.
4. Bake for 12 minutes. Take out of the oven and leave in the pan for a minute. Place a large tray on top of the baking pan and turn it upside down, to release the cakes. Place on a rack and let cool to room temperature before serving. Serve as is, or with Lemon Curd and fresh berries.
This Lemon Curd is not as thick as others, which is exactly what makes it prefect for serving as a sauce with the Friands.
Makes: 1 cup
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
1 large lemon
3 L egg yolks, at room temperature
¾ cup sugar
2 ½ oz (70 grams) butter, soft
1. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside. Fill a medium sized pot halfway with water, bring to a boil and lower the heat to medium. 2. Zest the lemon and measure 1 Tbs. Juice the lemon and measure ¼ cup.
3. In a medium sized heatproof bowl (that can sit comfortably on top of the pot), mix the egg yolks, sugar and lemon juice. Place on top of the pot and whisk for 2-3 minutes until the sugar dissolves and the mixture warms up. Add the butter, a bit at a time, and whisk until it melts and the mixture is warm and glossy.
4. Add the lemon zest and mix. Place the bowl in the one with the ice water. Whisk occasionally, until the curd cools down and thickens a bit. The curd can keep, in a jar in the fridge, for about 2 weeks.