With the ever present danger of turning this blog into one about a singular subject entity (that being friands, in case you just discovered me) I present to you
just one more friand recipe. Here are my raspberry and orange friands. So whilst I will tell you these are tender, tart but sweet elegant little cakes, with that jamminess that baking whole fresh raspberries brings to the party, I am going to ramble on about more than just their loveliness tonight.
I thought I’d chat about recipe development for a little while tonight. Those of you who know me or have read my earlier work will know I have always baked but it wasn’t until I left home to go to university that I really found my own feet in the kitchen and the freedom that came with living in student digs which allowed me space to grow. I don’t recall a specific moment when I broke free from the restraints of a recipe book and free-wheeled it with any success. It just happened, and do pardon the pun, organically as I cooked more and more.
For the longest time, it has been said that baking is as much a science as it is a creative, artistic thing to do. Many authors speak of the rules which we must follow in order to produce serviceable bakes of many sorts, often never actually spelling out what they may be. The interesting thing is, I have done my fair share of cake making. I have some where close to 30 years of home baking experience under my
bulging belt so far and I’m here to tell you – rules are there to be broken. And most importantly (and I really can’t stress this enough) – there truly is nothing new under the sun.
Back in the day, long long ago, some clever baker discovered that weighing ones eggs in their shells then combining with equal quantities of butter, sugar and flour gave a rich, dense but lusciously crumbed cake. Depending upon which side of the Atlantic you fall, you may now know this cake as either Pound Cake or a Victoria Sponge. Well, sort of. You see, a quick Google of either cake name will yield almost innumerate methods and ingredient proportion variations. Yet they are all still called “Pound Cakes”, for instance. Now copywriting is a topic for blog post all by itself so we won’t go there but needless to say, besides personal biases and preferences, a lot of these recipes will only be minor variations on the theme so that the creator can call them theirs. Ignoring recipe ownership issues, it is undeniable that a great many of these recipes produce a delicious bake which is well worthy of making time and time again. You know what struck me after making twenty or so supposed Victoria Sponges? You can tweak, tweak and tweak some more and still have a beautiful cake at the end of the day! Sometimes my tweaks were borne out of necessity like not having enough of one ingredient, having the wrong sized cake tins or having to bake in an oven whose temperature is vastly different from my own but once I’d done enough of these variations, I began branching out and just seeing what happened if I deliberately hiked the sugar content, swapped the flour for ground almonds, used a different fat etc etc. The world didn’t end, I still had a sweet treat to eat.
Now, I know not *every* cake or bake out there is a merely minor variation on a Victoria Sponge. Other winning formulas do exist – friands being the example of the day. It’s more I’d love to encourage you to go out there, have a play in your kitchen and don’t be afraid if you haven’t always got a specific equation to follow. It is so freeing to just have a go. Sure, I’ve had my flops which no amount of salvage could save but I think only good things can happen from deviating ever so slightly from a beloved recipe the next time you repeat it, each time getting a little bolder, learning from the tweaks which didn’t go so well and feeling empowered by those which deliver a little bit of baking magic. Personally, I loves me a good list I do, as the notebook pictured here eludes to. Each time I create something new, I note what the differences were. This blog is a good showcase of many of them. For instance, when I switched up my basic friand recipe, most recently seen in my Crystallised Ginger ones, to create these raspberry ones, I learnt that adding the soft fruits and all their moisture added a good 5 minutes more to the stated baking time. Also, you may notice that in my Chocolate Cherry or Rhubarb and Custard friands recipes, that I use the equivalent of 6 medium egg whites, yet in the latest two renditions, I use 250ml of pasteurised egg white. That is because I really like the Two Chicks egg whites and I find using slightly more egg white give a more moist, tender crumb to the finished friands. You live and learn!
I know some of you are very accomplished bakers yourselves with beautiful blogs of your own but equally, I know some of you are just starting out and finding your own feet in the kitchen. I love to read your comments and hear what you made of my recipes, so why don’t you go forth and create your own singular sensation? It’s really not as hard as you might think 🙂
- 250ml egg whites*
- 250g icing sugar
- 125g ground almonds
- 100g plain flour
- Zest of one orange, finely grated
- 160g butter, melted
- 200-250g fresh raspberries (or frozen, not thawed)
- Scant half cup of icing sugar
- Juice of the orange used above
- *= I use Two Chicks pasteurised egg whites for friands as you need a lot and they are excellent quality. You can substitute 6 large egg whites if you wish. One carton will make two batches of these delicious friands.
- Grease your friand tin with soft butter and preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Whisk together the icing sugar, flour, zest and almonds in a big bowl.
- Whisk your egg whites until frothy – you don’t need soft peaks or anything like that.
- Fold the eggs into the dry ingredients.
- Fold in the melted butter and about half of the berries – ensure the butter is just incorporated before spooning into your prepared tin.
- Stud the extra berries on top of your berries, two or three per cake.
- Scoop into your prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes until risen, browned and a skewer comes out clean from the centre of a friand.
- Cool in the tin for 10 minutes then remove to sit on a rack to cool. They will be a little more fragile due to the soft fruits compared to other friand recipes on this blog.
- Make the topping by mixing the icing sugar and enough orange juice to make a thick but pourable paste that just about runs off your spoon. Drizzle over the cooled cakes with a fork to get nice zig zagging lines.
- Note – you may use a muffin pan instead of a friand tin but you’ll probably have more mixture than you need to make twelve.