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White Chocolate Nonnettes + Orange Poppy Seed Friands

White Chocolate Nonnettes

Small Cakes, World Cuisine | 12th January 2012 | By

If you’ve not heard of nonnettes before, you’re in for a treat. They’re delicious egg-free French honey cakes with a lovely smooth texture. These white chocolate nonnettes are topped with marmalade to give a delightful bitter contrast to the sweetness of the cake.

When I saw Phil’s We Should Cocoa entry in the orange challenge from his blog As Stong As Soup in December, I couldn’t resist making these nonnettes for my mother’s birthday.


Nonnettes, it seems, are little known outside of France. I searched on google for more information and alternative recipes, but Phil’s was the only one I could find in English. I gave up after page six. The name means “little nuns” and they are a speciality of Dijon in France. They’re little spiced honey cakes made with marmalade and rye flour and unusually, no eggs.

Orange & Poppy Seed Friands

To use up the rest of the orange zest (I did have a very large orange) as well as the 4 eggs whites left over from making the trifle, I also decided to make friands as I’d not made those before either. Friands are little cakes that contain only egg white. They’re Australian but are influenced by France where they are known as financiers.

Orange & Poppy Seed Friands

For the friands I used a Waitrose recipe. I scaled down the quantities to four egg whites and added the zest of half an orange along with two tablespoons of poppy seeds. The friands are light and slightly crunchy due to the poppy seeds and are delicious little cakes. And a great way to use up egg whites too.

White Chocolate Nonnettes

For the nonnettes I mostly followed Phil’s recipe. But I did, of course make a few changes. I substituted some of the honey for agave nectar as I didn’t have quite enough honey. But I’ve only used honey for the recipe below. I also added more rye flour and less white chocolate as I was worried about the nonnettes being too sweet.


Although the friands were good, the nonnettes were my favourite. They are truly delicious and I’m not usually a fan of marmalade in cakes. But the bitterness of the marmalade contrasted really nicely with the sweetness of the cake. And the rye gives a satisfying smoothness to the texture. The lumps of white chocolate are an added bonus.

Thank you Phil. I shall ever be grateful to you for this recipe.

Other Orange Cakes You Might Like

For more eggless cakes take a look at the best egg-free cakes recipes.

Keep in Touch

Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make these white chocolate nonnettes, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.

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White Chocolate Nonnettes – The Recipe

White Chocolate Nonnettes
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White Chocolate Nonnettes

Delicious egg-free French honey cakes with a lovely smooth texture. They're topped with marmalade to give a delightful bitter contrast to the sweetness of the cake and then drizzled with icing.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Afternoon Tea, Snack
Cuisine: French
Keyword: cakes, cardamom, egg-free, honey, oranges, rye flour, white chocolate
Servings: 12 cakes
Calories: 303kcal



  • 80 g unsalted butter
  • 200 ml good quality runny honey (I used 150 ml (pre-biotic NZ Beech Forest Honeydew with 50 ml of agave nectar)
  • 100 g light brown sugar
  • 100 ml milk
  • 100 ml water (I used 90ml water and 10ml of homemade orange liqueur)
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • ½ large orange - grated zest
  • 200 g plain flour
  • 100 g wholemeal rye flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 50 g white chocolate - chopped
  • 12 tsp seville marmalade


  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • orange juice or orange liqueur



  • Melt the butter in a large sauce pan.
  • Add the honey and sugar.
  • Turn off the heat and add the milk, water and orange liqueur (if using).
  • Stir until smooth then leave to cool a little.
  • Grind the seeds from the cardamom pods in a pestle and mortar and add to the mix along with the orange zest.
  • Sift the dry ingredients into the bowl and gently stir until the mixture just comes together.
  • Stir in the chocolate pieces.
  • Leave in a cool place to stand for an hour.
  • Divide the mixture between twelve buttered silicone muffin moulds.
  • Place a teaspoonful of marmalade on the top of each one.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 180℃ (350℉, Gas 4) for 20 minutes.
  • Leave to cool in their moulds.


  • Mix the icing sugar with a little of the orange juice to form a slightly runny icing.
  • Drizzle over the warm cakes whilst still in their moulds. Leave to cool completely, then turn out.


Please note: calories and other nutritional information are per serving. They're approximate and will depend on exact ingredients used.


Calories: 303kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 119mg | Potassium: 347mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 36g | Vitamin A: 256IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 115mg | Iron: 1mg


I’m linking these white chocolate nonnettes to Baking Addict’s blog for #CitrusLove.


  1. Foodycat

    12th January 2012 at 11:44 am

    Spread the friand love! I want every cafe in the country to sell them, like they do in Oz.

  2. Jean

    12th January 2012 at 11:52 am

    Your nonnettes and friands look lovely. I have made friands a few times but had never heard of nonnettes until I read about them in Phil’s blog. I had never seen them for sale in France either, until this last visit when I found them on sale in a gift shop!

  3. manu

    12th January 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Sounds delicious!!
    Have a great afternoon.

  4. Kath

    12th January 2012 at 1:27 pm

    I am glad you made them, I saw Phil’s and they looked so good and now yours too – delicious.

  5. Working london mummy

    12th January 2012 at 2:00 pm

    what a lovely idea! I love friands and little cakes . these look so more ish!

  6. Choclette

    12th January 2012 at 2:41 pm

    FoodyCat – any cafe would be good! They are on the list for my cafe – when I start it :-S

  7. Choclette

    12th January 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Jean – how funny they should be on sale in a gift shop.

    Manu – thank you.

    Kath – they are so worth making. Are you going to give them a go?

    WLM – yes, little cakes to go!

  8. Laura@howtocookgoodfood

    12th January 2012 at 2:46 pm

    I love reading your blog for recipes like this. I have never heard of Nonettes but they sound wonderful and look great too. Have you ever tried canelles? They are my fave little cake I always buy at the food market on holiday in France. If and when you set up a cafe I will be first in the queue!

  9. Junia

    12th January 2012 at 2:52 pm

    these little muffins look fabulous! sending some #citruslove to you!

  10. oxslip

    12th January 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Yeah friands! Delicious
    I am jealous of your clafoutis dish, it’s beautiful
    Have you see this in The Guardian:

  11. Rolling Pin Claire

    12th January 2012 at 8:49 pm

    I’m sold on the Nonnettes! So simple but they look and sound amazing. They’re on the list for the weekend, will let you know how I got on

  12. A Trifle Rushed

    12th January 2012 at 10:59 pm

    What delightful little cakes, I’ve made friends before, but have never heard of yet alone tried nonettes! And I went to a school run by French nuns, you’d think they would have let us know about these lovely treats! Jude x

  13. A Trifle Rushed

    12th January 2012 at 11:02 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. A Trifle Rushed

    12th January 2012 at 11:06 pm

    Sorry, I am having a few problems with blogger and or my iPad!

    The spell check has written friends instead of friands! And my last apology came out as gobble-de-gook!

    Jude :-)x

  15. Phil in the Kitchen

    12th January 2012 at 11:41 pm

    Thanks so much for trying my nonnette recipe. Maybe we’re ahead of the curve in predicting the next big thing in the cake world. They’re not a well known cake but I think they deserve to be a lot better known. Incidentally, the very best nonnettes I’ve eaten in France have been sold in local markets and made by small-scale beekeepers and producers of honey.

  16. Baking Addict

    13th January 2012 at 1:39 am

    Brilliant entry for #citruslove. Thanks! I saw the nonnettes recipe on Phil’s blog and it was the first time I’d heard of it. They look really good, I must give them a try. I’ve never made friands either but I did buy a friand tin last month. Both of these have really good combination of flavours. Wish I could try some now!

  17. leaf (the indolent cook)

    13th January 2012 at 6:51 am

    I must make nonnettes sometime, I don’t think I’ve ever had them but they sound absolutely delightful!

  18. thelittleloaf

    13th January 2012 at 1:45 pm

    I’d never heard of these before but they look gorgeous. And what better way to spread the word than with this perfect post. Definitely going to have to have a go at these soon 🙂

  19. Dom at Belleau Kitchen

    13th January 2012 at 5:24 pm

    it sounds like you’re speaking a made-up language… nonnettes…. friands…… chocolate….

  20. Johanna GGG

    14th January 2012 at 12:34 pm

    wow this could start a nonette fad in the english speaking blogosphere – would be interesting too – these sound great

  21. C

    14th January 2012 at 2:22 pm

    They look great, and it sounds like a lovely combo of flavours. A good one to remember next time I run out of eggs.

  22. Sarah, Maison Cupcake

    14th January 2012 at 8:01 pm

    Nonettes is such a cute name! I’ve long meant to investigate friands and hoping 2012 will be the year I manage it.

  23. Karen S Booth

    14th January 2012 at 8:04 pm

    Nonettes and Friands are some of my favourite French bakes, and I DO have a recipe for both that I translated from French to English of you fancy another version? They look TOTALLY wonderful too….

  24. cakeboule

    14th January 2012 at 8:25 pm

    What a cute little cake. They look good and I especially like the fact they have no eggs inthem as sometimes I am sans ouefs!

  25. Janice

    14th January 2012 at 9:37 pm

    Nice looking little cakes.

  26. Chele

    15th January 2012 at 6:43 am

    Mmmmmmmmm – my stomach is rumbling now and it isn’t even 7am!!

  27. Choclette

    15th January 2012 at 9:09 pm

    Laura – I haven’t ventured far into French baking and have – or it seems eating!!! Haven’t had canelles either. I’ll let you know about the cafe 😉

    Junia – thank you.

    Oxslip – am yet to use the clafoutis dish. Thanks for the link, I had a read, which I probably shouldn’t have done as I couldn’t resist making myself a cup of hot chocolate – with real chocolate.

    Claire – oh please do let me know what you think. We need to get these little beauties better known.

    Jude – they must have thought you weren’t quite good enough for them 🙂

    Phil – So I’m going to have to try and find myself a beekeeper or two next time I’m in France! We need to get these better known. It would be fun to start a trend.

    Baking Addict – now you have a tin, you must make friands. I want a special tin now and one for nonnettes 😉

    Leaf – they are delightful AND they are easy 😉

    LittleLoaf – oh yes, please do and spread the word a little further 🙂

    Dom – Now wouldn’t that be a thing to have made up chocolate?

    Johanna – I very much hope so. Haven’t seen teh nonnettes posts rolling in yet though.

    C – yes, it’s great to have a really good eggless recipe up one’s sleeve BUT don’t run out of honey!

    Sarah – good luck with 2012 and friands 😉

    Karen – trust you. Yes please, I would love to try your recipes. Will you do a post on them?

    Cakeboule – things can get very tricky sans ouefs, so next time remember, it’s nonettes to the rescue.

    Janice – thank you.

    Chele – maybe you need some breakfast!

  28. Cupcaker

    17th February 2013 at 9:26 pm

    The nonnettes look delicious, I had never heard of those before which is what made me check them out

  29. JaynesDen

    22nd April 2013 at 10:54 am

    These look delicious. I must find out what a nonnette is !


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