Little bites of happiness. These strawberry and vanilla friands are moist, light and packed full of flavour! And so simple to make!
If you haven’t tried a friand before, prepare to fall in love. These tiny cakes are moist, light, packed full of flavour and so easy to make. Made from ground almonds, eggs whites, butter and icing sugar; friands are an Australian variation of the French financier. Financiers are traditionally made with browned butter, ground almonds and no additional flavouring, unlike friands which often include fruits, chocolate or nuts. Though….one of the most popular recipes on the blog is my Pistachio & Raspberry Financiers so I have bucked tradition a little there!
Key Ingredients You’ll Need
- Ground Almonds – I love working with ground almonds. Not only are they delicious but they keep bakes so moist! You may also know it as almond meal or almond flour.
- Fresh Strawberries – Baking with fresh fruit really can’t be beaten, especially when in season! The sweet juicy fruit pairs so well against the almond sponge and adds the perfect amount of acidity to the sweet bake.
- Vanilla Extract – Good quality vanilla extract gives baked goods a delicious depth of flavour. The sugary floral notes works beautifully with the strawberries.
How to make strawberry and vanilla friands
Friands are really simple to make and they only need 15-20 minutes in the oven, so you’ll be enjoying them before you know it! As theres only a small amount of flour in the friands, you can also easily swap it for a gluten-free alternative on a 1:1 ratio. Or use a naturally gluten free flour altogether like rice or coconut flour. And once you’ve made them once you can make your own variations, perhaps with cherries or my raspberry version!
Making the friand batter
The first step in making friands is to melt the butter. The butter should then be left to cool a little whilst you weigh out your dry ingredients. The butter doesn’t need to be cold or even lukewarm, you just don’t want to use it whilst it’s still piping hot.
In a large bowl the icing sugar, flour and ground almonds should be sifted together and the vanilla extract stirred in. Then you can start on the whipped egg whites. You’ll notice theres no baking powder used in these friands, and thats because the whipped egg whites are what we’re use as a raising agent. So with that in mind, the egg whites need to be whipped until they’re foamy and really well aerated. They can then be gently folded into the dry ingredients along with the melted butter. Gently is key here as you don’t want to knock out all the air that you’ve just created. The air is what keeps the friands so light!
Baking the friands
Friands are traditionally baked in oval moulds, but I just bake mine in a regular muffin tin. I do however make little ‘handles’ to help get the cakes out. Simple strips of baking paper laid into each muffin tin hole, that mean you have something to pull when your cakes are baked.
The friand batter can be divided evenly between the 12 muffin-tin holes, and then freshly chopped strawberry chunks popped on top, along with flaked almonds. Then they’re ready to bake!
The friands only need 15-17minutes in the oven. You’ll know they’re ready when they’re golden brown on top and springy to touch.
The final step for these friands, is a liberal dusting of icing sugar. And I mean liberal. The sweet icing sugar against the flaked almonds, juicy strawberries and floral vanilla is the perfect combination!
Frequently Asked Questions
Your friands might feel dense if your egg whites weren’t whipped enough, or you knocked too much air out of the batter. Make sure your egg whites are very foamy before combining them into the batter, and be very gentle when you do.
Friands should be kept at room temperature in an air-tight container. Storing them in the fridge will harden the friands and dry them out.
Friands will keep in an air-tight container for 1-2 days, but they taste best served on the day of baking.
These strawberry and vanilla friands are moist, light and packed full of flavour. And best of all they’re super easy to make! They’re the perfect bake to make for an afternoon tea, to take to a picnic or just for a mid-morning treat with a coffee! I really hope you love these as much as I do!
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Strawberry and Vanilla Friands
- 200 g unsalted butter
- 225 g icing sugar plus more for sprinkling
- 75 g plain flour
- 150 g ground almonds
- 1 tsp vanilla extract/paste
- 6 large egg whites
- 150 g fresh strawberries chopped
- 2 tbsp flaked almonds
- For the sponge: Firstly, preheat the oven to 200C/180CFan/Gas Mark 6. Then cut strips of baking parchment and place in the muffin tin holes of a 12-hole muffin tin. This will give you 'handles' to help remove the friands once they're baked.
- Melt the butter in a small pan or in the microwave, then set aside to cool a little. Sift the icing sugar, flour and ground almonds together into a large bowl, then stir in the vanilla extract. Then in a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites together until foamy and well aerated (you don’t want soft peaks).
- Then pour the whisked egg whites and the melted butter into the dry ingredients and using a spatula carefully fold the mixture together until just combined. Divide the mixture between your muffin tins, and then add chopped strawberries to each – pushing some down into the mixture so they don’t all sit on top. Finally, sprinkle on the flaked almonds and bake for 15-17 minutes until golden brown.
- Leave to cool for a few minutes, then remove from the tins – you might need to run a knife around the friands before pulling on the 'handles' to release them. Dust liberally with icing sugar and serve.