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Savvy Top 10: Cakes

Posted on Feb 21, 2011 by Paul Tiernan

Whilst whiling away an afternoon in front of the cricket or feeling peckish between luncheon and supper, cake can complete a chap’s contentment, not to mention a treat of High Tea. A cake can be bought from high quality shops but is never quite as good as when it is homemade. A bought cake may have the veneer of perfection in appearance but it lacks the freshness and individuality of the homemade variety; well, we do appreciate 'hand-tailoring', after all!

We at Savvy Row have selflessly eaten our way through countless cakes and pastries and argued until the small hours about the difference between a pudding and a cake, and will be presenting our research into puddings at another time. We have also eschewed the lure of fresh cream, believing that it is simply de trop for the tea table. The Savvy Row Top Ten represents the pinnacle of what can be achieved with some flour, sugar, eggs and butter.

1. Coffee and Walnut Cake

Slightly bitter coffee offsets the sweetness of the icing and the walnuts give a bite and smokiness to the depth of flavour of the queen of cakes. Savvy Row simply will not recognise a better teatime treat.


2. Lemon Drizzle Cake

Could be considered as an arriviste to the cake world, but as championed by the luscious Ms Nigella Lawson, a plain sponge enlivened and made piquant by a sharp lemon icing. Should ideally be devoured standing up in the kitchen when the cake is slightly warm.


3. Fondant Fancies

Mr Kipling makes exceedingly good cakes, we’re told, but we would argue the finest proponent of the fondant fancy is Betty’s of Harrogate. Betty makes hers as light as a feather sponge and the fondant only sufficient to be sweet and not sickly. Recommended with a pot of the finest Earl Grey.


4. Victoria Sponge

The august matron of the cake world and no messing about with fancy shapes, icing or colours. Savvy Row recommends the inclusion of raspberry jam (homemade, of course) with butter cream and to ignore stoutly the demands of fresh cream from those who do not know better and are to be pitied.


5. Fruit Cake

Moist with the careful addition of booze after baking, fruit cake can comfort and fill a hole in a chap’s afternoon. As it were. Can be served as Christmas, Wedding or as any other occasional cake but always just really lovely. Try with Wensleydale cheese for a really satisfying snack.


6. Battenburg Cake

Created in 1884 for the wedding of Queen Victoria’s grand-daughter to Prince Louis of Battenburg with the four squares each representing the four princes of Battenberg (Louis, Alexander, Henry and Francis Joseph for the completists amongst you). Yum.


7. Chocolate Cake

This is slightly vulgar, and mainly one for the smaller members of the family, we argue that a little loosening of the collar is necessary every now and again.


8. Tea Loaf

Tea loaf is made with, ah, tea and can appear to be a little dull. Ignore the dubious charms of more outwardly exciting cakes and tuck into warm tea loaf spread with salted butter and eaten with a mug of strong tea in front of fire for proper afternoon comfort.


9. Eccles Cake

Eccles, Chorley or squashed fly cake? As the debate rages, we enjoy the plump currants encased in butter rich pastry. Ignore the diet…


10. Carrot Cake

We chaps were a little unsure about the additional of vegetables into a cake. Whilst probably not contributing one of the five a day, it is jolly good nonetheless.

By the way, did you catch our 'Top 10 Classic Biscuits' article? It's a hard life, don't you know!


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