Friday, September 18, 2015

Prince William Cake - Part 2

Colleen continues:

So the cake is very hard to slice if you take it directly from the fridge.  So last night I left it out about an hour or so, and then Charlotte had a slice with whipped cream.  She pronounced it very good.  Basically like cookies with chocolate ganache.  I will update you on consistency of cookies over time.  I assume they will get a bit softer, but I doubt that is the intended texture.  Several of the recipes say the cake will keep for two weeks, but it never lasts that long in a proper British household.

It did strike me that there was a connection of sorts between Eton Mess and this cake.  Both involve a very crisp cookie being crumbled and mixed into another concoction that is sweet.  And trifle is also similar with the layers of lady fingers and cream and fruit.  Perhaps these sort of contrasting textures are very appealing to the British palette, or perhaps these are "short cut" recipes to dessert.  If you buy the meringues or the biscuits or lady fingers, the rest of the dessert is just assembly.  Certainly much easier than making a torte or cake or pie.  

I will try to do a little research and see what the origins are of these things.  When I was making the cake, it reminded me of the Mock Apple Pie recipe that used to be on the back of the Ritz cracker box.  I never understood WHO WAS MAKING OR EATING that pie.  Now, of course, it makes sense in that fruit distribution was much different - you might not have access to apples year round - and of course, fruit was also very expensive and Mock Apple Pie would give you the flavors of pie (sweet, cinnamon) without having to source apples. 

Anyway, the cake was good, but it really seems like something you would develop a taste for as a child and desire in a Proustian, Remembrance of Things Past, sort of way.  I might make it again for fun or if I were to have a Wimbledon party or something, but otherwise it won't go into my favorite dessert rotation.

Later, Colleen sent in a link to a Washington Post article on the Prince William cake:  "A Must Read!" 
https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/the-mcvities-biscuit-as-british-as-tea/2011/04/26/AFJtoryE_story.html "


Rich Tea on the left.  Original Digestive on the right.

If you are wondering what McVities biscuits are, like I was, here is a photo of them.  They both taste like animal crackers.  But drier.  Very simple.  

Rich Tea is thinner and snaps.  The Original Digestive is made of whole wheat and is thicker. 

It took me two trips to the store.  The first time I came home with Digestive McVities which are not used in the recipe. I should have gotten Rich Tea biscuits.

When I asked Colleen, she said:
Yes, tea biscuits are very crisp, more cracker like.  The digestives are softer and thicker usually.  
I guess I was exposed to more of this because we went to Victoria every summer growing up and we would go to proper "teas" at hotels and you'd get served these sorts of things.  My mother is an anglophile and gets very excited about all of her teas and biscuits.  
Steve had some of the cake last night and said it was good.  It is quite tasty if you are not expecting actual "cake."  
If I made it again, I would melt a little white chocolate and drizzle it over the top of the glaze to dress it up a bit.  It needs a little something.

On the second trip I noticed they had Golden Syrup which is also called for in the recipe.  So I grabbed that, too.  Who knew Wegman's carry 4 different kinds of biscuits?  They had caramel ones.  And Cadbury Chocolate ones.  In addition to the Rich Tea and Original Digestive ones.

Not sure that I will actually make the cake, but it has been fun to try the biscuits and learn about their history.  

The Washington Post article is an enjoyable read.  Here is the link again:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/the-mcvities-biscuit-as-british-as-tea/2011/04/26/AFJtoryE_story.html

B





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