Rhubarb and raspberry friands with lime buttercream

FriandsEasterOooh, the first of the forced rhubarb – what a joy to be able to cook with this gorgeous vegetable. We’re all rather spoilt in being able to get year-round fruits, but I do still think it’s a real seasonal treat when rhubarb starts appearing to buy. My own rhubarb is starting to sprout in its container in my garden too – so, all in all, the appearance of rhubarb is a real herald of spring for me.

My husband has a habit of nicking rhubarb and eating it raw, dipped in a bit of sugar. He’s the only person I know who does this and I have to hide the stalks from him if I want to use all that I have. I cooked up more rhubarb than I needed for this recipe and have saved the rest to add to ice creams, on porridge/granola etc, so you can just pinch the part of the recipe for that.

Tea Time TreatsI decided to link this recipe to the lastest (March 2016) Tea Time Treats linky party hosted by The Hedgecombers and Lavender and Lovage. I’ve occasionally joined in before with enjoyable link-up – but it’s been a long while. Maybe this’ll remind in future to join in more 🙂


Makes about 10 friands

If you don’t have friand moulds, you can make these in muffin cases


  • Large bowl
  • Wide base saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Baking tray, lined with baking parchment
  • Piping bag and star nozzle (for meringues)
  • Piping bag and slanted petal nozzle or rose nozzle (for buttercream roses)
  • Friand moulds or muffin cases and bun tin
  • Wire cooling rack

Ingredients – meringue kisses

  • Eggs – 3, whites only
  • Caster sugar – 175g
  • Vanilla extract – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Pink/red food colouring
  • A selection of sprinkles

Ingredients – rhubarb

  • Rhubarb stalks, trimmed into 3cm pieces (about 240g in total)
  • Pomegranate or cherry juice – 50ml

Ingredients – friands

  • Eggs, medium – 3
  • Ground almonds – 40g
  • Plain flour – 100g
  • Caster sugar – 140g
  • Unsalted butter, softened (but not runny) – 140g
  • Baking powder – 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • Vanilla extract – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt – a pinch
  • Flaked almonds – a handful (about 40g)
  • Fresh raspberries – a handful (about 60g)
  • (Cooked rhubarb – from this recipe)

Ingredients – buttercream

  • Unsalted butter – 100g
  • Icing sugar – about 200g (you will need to adjust this according to the moisture level of your butter and how much milk and lime juice you add – you may need a little more or a little less)
  • Milk – a little just to loosen the buttercream; this will be 20- 30ml or thereabouts
  • Lime juice – to taste but roughly 1 teaspoon
  • Yellow/primrose food colouring

Ingredients – additional decorations

  • Mini meringue kisses – from this recipe
  • Lemon balm leaves
  • Mini eggs

Method – meringue kisses (prepare in advance)

  1. Heat the oven to 90C fan/100C conventional
  2. Line a large baking tray with baking parchment (or two smaller trays)
  3. Separate the whites of three eggs (reserve the yolks for custard etc)
  4. Whisk to firm peaks
  5. Whisk in the caster sugar in batches (don’t tip it all in at once)
  6. Add in the vanilla extract and food colouring and whisk until combined evenly
  7. Using a piping bag with a star nozzle, pipe small meringues (each about 2cm in diameter) across the baking sheet
  8. Gently cover the tiny meringues with the sprinkles
  9. Bake for 50 minutes
  10. Take out and leave to cool
  11. These will store in an airtight container for a good few weeks

Method – preparing the rhubarb

  1. Using a large base saucepan (it needs to be large so that the rhubarb cooks evenly), place the rhubarb in the bottom and cover with the fruit juice
  2. Simmer over a low heat for about 6-7 minutes until the rhubarb begins to soften on the outside
  3. Remove from the heat and set aside

Method – buttercream

  1. Beat the butter and icing sugar together and add a little milk to ensure a smooth consistency
  2. Mix in the lime juice to taste and the food colouring (you’re aiming for a nice primrose colour)
  3. Leave to one side, covered until the cakes are cooled

Method – cakes

  1. Turn the oven on to 180C fan / 200 conventional
  2. Grease and flour the friand moulds or place the muffin cases in the bun tin, ready for use
  3. Sprinkle the flaked almonds into the bottom of each friand. If you are using muffin cases, reserve these for the top of the sponge (see later note)
  4. Mix the sponge as an all-in-one method: that is, put the eggs, sugar, flour, ground almonds, butter, vanilla extract and baking powder in a bowl and mix until smooth
  5. Chop up about 100g/ half a cupful of the cooked rhubarb into 1cm pieces and add to the sponge mix
  6. Add in the fresh raspberries, crushing them slightly between your fingers so that they spread out and bleed a little into the sponge mix
  7. Gently swirl the rhubarb and raspberries into the mix, making sure you have an even spread but don’t over mix. You want to still have discernible blobs of fruit
  8. Spoon the mix into the moulds/cases
  9. If you are using muffin cases sprinkle the flaked almonds on the top of the sponge mix on every cake
  10. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until they are light brown and spring back when pressed
  11. Leave to cool a little in the moulds and then turn out on to a wire rack to cool thoroughly. If you are baking in muffin cases, move the cases to the wire rack to cool

Method – decorating

  1. Fill a piping bag fitted with a slanted petal nozzle or  a standard rose nozzle with the buttercream
  2. Pipe a rose on to the top of each cake
  3. Use a little of the buttercream to fix the meringue kisses and mini eggs to the top of the cakes
  4. Take one or two lemon balm leaves and push their stem into the base of the piped roses


Orange and chocolate firands

Orange and chocolate friands

These are based on the Orange-chocolate cake recipe in the ‘La Mere De La Famille’ recipe book by Julien Merceron. The original recipe is for two large-ish loaf tin cakes. I have tweaked the recipe a little so that it can be baked perfectly as smaller individual cakes.

There are two absolutely essential changes: the cooking time and the oven temperature. Both length of time in the oven and the level of heat must be reduced to bake individual small cakes.


Makes about 10 friands/cupcakes

The changes made to produce small cakes are:

  • double cream replaces single cream
  • the recipe was halved except for the orange zest and juice – this remains the same, so effectively doubling the strength of the orange flavour in the small cakes
  • slightly more baking powder to ensure the rise
  • dropping the temperature from 200C to 185C
  • reducing the cooking time from 35 mins to 18 – 20 mins
  • I also tweaked the syrup to a preferred own version
  • The original recipe says to warm the cream, but after doing this the first time I made the cakes I found no difference to using it cold, so there’s no need to bother

I have noted the changes and the original amounts (halved) have been put in brackets in the ingredients list.


Friand moulds or other small cake moulds (making these into cupcake/muffin cases will be fine too)
Mixers – stand or hand electric or hand whisk
Cooling rack and baking tray (to catch the drips from the orange syrup)
Pastry brush
Measuring jug
Small saucepan

Ingredients – cakes

Oranges – zest of 2 (reserve the juice for the syrup – see below)
Caster sugar – 140g
Eggs, medium, whole – 2
Double cream – 50ml (the original recipe would equate to 50g of single cream)
Plain flour – 110g
Baking powder – 1 tspn/5g (the original recipe would equate to 3g)
Butter, unsalted, melted – 35g
Chocolate chips – 35g  for the cake mix and about 10g extra to sprinkle on top
Optional – pearl sugar – 10g

Extra butter for coating the moulds

Method – cakes

  1. Put the orange zest into the sugar and mix – let this infuse for a few minutes
  2. Whisk the eggs and zest-sugar mix together until it lightens in colour, looks creamy and has thickened a little
  3. Add in everything else bar the chocolate chips and stir in (not whisk)
  4. Once all the ingredients are blended thoroughly tip the 35g of chocolate chips in and mix.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 185C (190C if you don’t have a fan)
  6. Prepare the moulds (you can skip this step if using cupcake cases) by painting a little melted butter all round the insides of the moulds then dusting with flour
  7. Fill the moulds about 2/3 full
  8. Pop in the middle of the oven for 20 mins, although you can check them after about 18 mins – just press the top of one lightly with your finger and it will spring back if done. You’re aiming for a rich golden colour
  9. Fetch out of the oven and allow to cool in the moulds

Ingredients – orange syrup

Juice from the two oranges used above
A little water
Caster sugar – 50g

Method – orange syrup

  1. Squeeze out the juice of the two oranges into a measuring jug and top up with water to 100ml (the orange juice will be around 70ml from two oranges)
  2. Tip this into a small saucepan and add 50g of caster sugar
  3. Bring to a light boil and reduce to about half the original amount
  4. Leave to cool – it can be used at room temperature


  1. Tip out the cakes onto a wire rack stood over a baking tray (if you’re making cupcakes just stand the cakes in their cases inside a tray)
  2. Douse the cakes in almost all of the orange syrup, reserving a couple of tablespoons of it
  3. Sprinkle on the remaining chocolate chips and the pearl sugar, if using
  4. Pour over the rest of the syrup – this little extra bit of syrup will help ‘stick’ the chocolate chips and sugar pearls to the top of the cakes
  5. They are ready to eat once completely cool