||Just to add some officialese to the "cake or biscuit" query from Sue Resner, Snowballs, Teacakes and Coconut Mallows are legally defined as cakes and not biscuits at all. This means they are zero-rated for VAT, along with our old friend the Jaffa Cake. As you've observed, the clue is in the name. Well it is for Teacakes anyway.|
Re. 'No matter how much stuff you heap upon it if there is a biscuit inside then it doesn't transmogrify into a cake.'
What about cheesecake? It's stuffed with biscuits (although disappointingly little cheese). Bit of a mystery that one.
Should we call it non-cheese-biscuit instead?
|Nicey replies: Gavin,
You know as well as me that cheesecake bases are made from smashed up biscuits mixed with butter. This makes them some sort of derivative thing. If it were one enormous digestive baked and then decorated then I would say that there is a very good case for it being seen as a huge biscuit.
Of course our modern idea of cheese cake comes from eastern european migrant Jews whose delicatessen shops gave us the New York Cheesecake, which is based on soft cheeses. However cheesecakes in one form or another date way back before roman times in fact to our earliest agricultural leanings and back then anything culinary that was made into a big lump was called a cake. Biscuits as we know them of course were only really invented in the 19th century.
||My friend and I have been sitting discussing the difference between cakes and biscuits, at much length (because were both on diets!)|
Can you tell us if a "Snowball" is a cake or a biscuit...?
Sue & Claire
|Nicey replies: Well it has a biscuit base with elaborate decoration so I would always say that it is a biscuit. I know its tempting to drag in the 'TeaCake' which is of course similar and point to the 'Cake' in its name, but they to are elaborate biscuits. No matter how much stuff you heap upon it if there is a biscuit inside then it doesn't transmogrify into a cake.|
Thanks for your speedy reply yesterday. After reading all of the correspondence from the civil service and others on the vexing question of the white bourbon it was clear to me that it would help a lot of
people to get to the bottom of this particular mystery. I decided to go straight to the horse's mouth and write to the customer services people at United Biscuits.
According to the makers it's a Dark Vanilla Cream Finger. I think I preferred it when it was called a White Bourbon but I suppose its nice to know that it tastes of vanilla. I've included the email from McVities below.
"Thank you for your e-mail regarding the above. The biscuit that looks like 2 miniature Hobnobs stuck together with soft brown filling is a Fudge Brownie Cream. The one that looks like bourbon creams but have a white filling is a Dark Vanilla Cream Finger."
|Nicey replies: 'Fudge Brownie Cream' in a Rover tin, its a bit transatlantic for a British institution isn't it, no wonder they kept the name under wraps! I bet they used 'White Bourbon' as its project name when it was in development in secret underground biscuit caves, and all McVities/Crawfords operatives have all had 'Dark Vanilla Cream Finger' drummed into them. |
Here at my office we are kept well fed with supplies of McVities Crawfords Rover 1kg selection packs. Some of the biscuits are particularly nice and while we can spot a bourbon or custard cream quite easily some of the other biscuits are harder to identify. I wonder, do you know what are the usual biscuits in a pack of Rovers? We're really puzzled by the ones that look like two mini hobnobs with a soft brown filling, and the ones that look like bourbon creams but have a white filling.
|Nicey replies: Excellent probing questions indeed. Yes the oat sandwhich one also turned up in the lovely retro selection tin that McVities did at Christmas called 'Baked to Perfection' which had pictures of old biscuit tins from the 1920 - 1940s. I don't know what its called but I think it has bits of hazelnuts in it and is really fairly posh for the Rover selection. At a push I would say its an 'oat and hazelnut chocolate cream sandwich'. The 'white cream bourbon' was the subject of a totally informal investigation by some members of the civil service last year, who were trying to find out how these biscuits kept turning up at meetings. I think if you trawl the site a bit via the search box you'll turn up some mails about them. |