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||I've always gone by the mantra that cakes have eggs in them whilst biscuits don't. Things like scones qualify as cakes because they are bound by an egg (although some tight people use milk), whereas biscuits are a combination of sugar, butter and flour in varying quantities and with ingredients like chocolate, nuts etc to provide the interest. I was taught the basics of baking from childhood and have found that this rule has stood me in good stead when negotiating the often confusing world of teatime snacks.|
Perhaps the lack of eggs is what makes biscuits snappable (Colin's theory) and cakes softer. Maybe the hardening of stale cakes is due to the eggs drying out, and the softening of stale biscuits is due to moisture in the air permeating the hard butter/flour/sugar mix, and the end result in either case is the texture of the base of a tunnock's teacake....mere speculation but I believe it could be scientifically proved.
Of course things would all be simple if it weren't for modern industrial recipes - hydrogenated fats, whey powder, dried egg type stuff - these are the ingredients that turn jaffa cakes into either soft biscuits or dry cakes (althought they are clearly cakes).
I entered this debate to help provide answers, but now I feel drained and confused thinking about
|Nicey replies: Oh yes the inclusion of eggs is yet another fairly sound way marker, on the road between biscuit and cake. There are some exceptions as always. The garibaldi has an egg glaze, and there is the occasional biscuit with some egg in its dough.|
I came across this article in the online version of the Oldham Chronicle My first thoughts were how smashing Eccles Cakes are, and wondering whether they would be appropriate for packing into soldier's ration packs, perhaps even replacing the oatmeal block. By the end of the story I was almost in tears though as the couple relived their darkest tea-deprived moments. One can only imagine the sheer pluck required to get through the ordeal.
|Nicey replies: What an inspiring tale of pensioners forced to eat Eccles cakes to survive. I hope they don't tend get them from Greggs bakers as it might not turn out so well next time, in view of their recent decision to withdraw Eccles cakes from sale.|
||Biscuits or cakes?|
I asked a friend when we were discussing the contentious issue of the jaffa cake and she said that she thought oatcakes could f*ck off. I felt that this was a little harsh and asked other friends what they thought. None were kind to the oatcake. One even said that they were a pariah forced traverse the shopping aisles in their oaty doom. Another said that oatcakes were flapjack zombies.
Does anyone else like oatcakes? Am I alone?
Cake or biscuit?
|Nicey replies: Yes that was a bit uncalled for. Still the Oatcake can be quite confusing as it looks like a biscuit and is called a cake, but clearly is really some form of cracker. There are sound historical reasons for all of this, mostly to do with living in Scotland a very long time ago. Still I like oatcakes but tend to munch them with some nice grapes and some tasty cheese and a nice glass of wine. Once again this is plainly not their original intended purpose.
So in summary, Cake or Biscuit?, no Cracker.
|Julie Marlow and Mal Bryning
||Dear Nicey and Wifey.|
We’re in serious trouble. I’m working in Jamaica for six months, from Australia, and loose leaf standard issue tea can’t be bought for love nor money. There’s tea bags, good old Tetley’s (normal and British Blend), which is a relief, and we took the precaution of bringing a stock of Twinings Irish Breakfast tea bags, imagining these would tide us over till we got a packet of good small tipped leaf. Alas, there’s plenty of other kinds of leaf here, but NO TEA. Or not so as we’ve found, but we’ve scoured the malls and supermarkets of Kingston to no avail. Can any kind Jamaican soul out there please advise??
I must say though that a nice cup of Blue Mountain coffee and a slice of rum cake goes down very nicely at teatime as a substitute.
Looking forward to your book,
Yours, Julie Marlow and Mal Bryning
Frustrated tea drinkers of Jamaica
I thought I would reply to Alison Debenham's email about Tottenham cake from the lovely Greggs bakery... I actually live a stones throw from Tottenham and close to White Heart Lane so am also from a Spurs family. Greggs bakers have been in our area for years and I and my siblings (all big fans of most cakes and biscuits) discovered Tottenham cake when we were kids. I have to say I love the stuff, true it is just plain sponge and icing, but there's just something about it, plus the fact that it comes in really decent sized big slabs, hurrah! Anyway, given that the pinkness of the icing clearly jars with the the traditional Spurs colours of blue and white we also wondered where the cake got its name. So a bit of investigation led us to that font of all local knowledge, my nan, may she rest in peace. She told us that the cake had nothing to do with football at all. In fact, it was related to, believe it or not, waste disposal in London. In the 'old days' when people kept pigs and chickens etc as part of the household (around the WW2 period I think) there was obviously a need to feed the animals. According to my nan, they were fed on a diet of leftovers that came from restaurants all over London. These scraps were put in bags taken to somewhere in the Tottenham area which people could then buy for feed, hence 'tottenham cake'. So the original tottenham cake was basically food waste and pig fodder, how that relates to the Greggs incarnation of the porcine delicacy (maybe that explains the pink...?) or what it says about the ingredients that go into it I don't know!
Yours (still lovin the site, can't wait for the book!)
|Nicey replies: Hi Vicky,
I think I follow that, but it does imply that the term 'Tottenham cake', is a bit derogatory. This also implies that the iced sponge was a bit useless and picked up this name as some kind of put down. Perhaps there is a bit more light left to shed on this matter still.