One of the best things about friands, is that once you have the basic recipe, you can adapt it to suit any season, any type of fruit and any type of spice. In this version I combined two of my favourites, figs and cardamom. I still maintain that this is the perfect size cake because it is big enough to hit the spot but small enough to make you feel that you haven’t overindulged, unless of course, you have more than one which is easily done as they are so delicious.
125g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
50g plain flour
115g icing sugar
75g ground almonds
4 medium egg whites
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
4 figs (Cut in half and then each half into thirds)
Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan/ gas Mark 6.
Grease a 12-hole muffin tin with a little butter, then line the bases with circles of baking parchment.
Melt the butter.
Sift the flour and icing sugar into a bowl and add the ground almonds and cardamom. Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Stir the almond extract and melted butter into the flour mixture and mix to combine.
Using a large metal spoon, fold a quarter of the egg whites into the flour and butter mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remainder until it is just combined.
Divide the mixture into the holes in the tins. Arrange the figs on the top and bake for 15-18 minutes. Leave in the tin for 5 minutes, then loosen the edges with a knife and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Can you ever have too many baking tins? I used to ask this question about shoes, now it’s baking tins! If you check out the Nordicware website, I’m sure you won’t blame me for my new addiction! I mean, just look how great these cakes turned out. They just wouldn’t have been the same if I had used a traditional bundt tin.
Anyhow, this recipe is adapted from the cardamom and pear loaf recipe in the Waitrose magazine, November 2015. Of course, cooking it in the loaf tin would have been good too. A friend of mine also made this recipe with cinnamon instead of cardamom and that also worked really well.
175g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
2 cardamom pods, split open and seeds removed
175g light brown soft sugar
3 conference pears, peeled, cored and cut into 1cm sized pieces
1 lemon, zested
2 eggs, beaten
175g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 and half tablespoons flaked almonds
Icing sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan/ gas Mark 4. Grease a baking tin (I used a mini heritage bundt tin by Nordicware, (nordicware.com) which produced six mini cakes, but you can use any type of tin, just adjust the baking times).
Crush the cardamom seeds in a pestle and mortar.
Melt 25g butter in a frying pan over a medium heat with 25g of the sugar until bubbling. Add the pears and cook for 5 minutes, turning often until slightly soft. Remove the pears, leaving the butter in the pan and set aside.
Scrape the melted butter into a bowl. Add the cardamom lemon
zest and the remaining butter and sugar. Beat until smooth and creamy, then work in the eggs, a little at a time. Mix the flour and baking powder, then fold into the mixture until well combined.
Put the pears into the mixture. Sprinkle the flaked almonds into the bottom of the tin. Spoon the mixture into the baking tin.
Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
Leave in the tin to cool and then turn out the cakes onto a cooling rack. Sprinkle with a few more flaked almonds and dust with icing sugar.