These little cakes achieved almost legendary status in an online foodie group I am part of. And with reason: these beauties are the stuff of dreams. They have a (deceptively) light texture, a perfect, delicate lemon flavour, and even though they look and taste like someting Marie-Antionette herself would not have sniffed at, they are not hard to make. The basic ingredients are ground almonds, egg whites, butter and icing sugar, in this case flavoured with lemon zest and lemon icing.
Before my friend Thanh posted the recipe for these almond cakes on her gorgeous blog I had never heard of friands. That all changed, because after making these once I knew I had to have the baking equivalent of the Holy Grail, a ‘proper’ friand tin. Of course you could easily make these in a muffin tin but the oval, flower-emblazoned tins (individual or as a 12-hole tin) are the real deal. Although they are French in origin, for some reason friands are very popular in Australia, which means the tins are widely available over there, as opposed to over here, where they are more of a lucky find.
The reason I am posting about these friands now is that I was given 6 individual friand tins (avec flower) by my lovely friend Kelly-Jane last week, and I have a 12-hole tin winging its way to me all the way from Adelaide, sent by my equally lovely aunt and uncle. I did not plan it like this, I am just surrounded by great people. 🙂
The first time I made lemon friands I baked them in a silicon financier ‘tin’, which turned them into rectangular bars, and they were gorgeous even then. Baking them in a metal tin makes all the difference, though. Now that I have these tins, and more on the way, I am going to have to get creative with friands but I am sure these lemon drizzle friands will remain a firm favourite.
You cand find the recipe here. I follow it pretty much to the letter, but I do add the zest of two whole lemons to the batter for extra zing.