Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Oh Madeira! Stickly Pricklies

This is one of those Fanny Cradock recipes that I had to read and re-read many times, surely it couldn't be right? I know Madeira Cake as a buttery, lemony, dense cake, fairly simple but sometimes simple is best. But hang on a minute, Fannys version, which she calls Real Madeira Sponge - or Gâteau au Madère - is made from only three ingredients - eggs, sugar and flour. Where's the butter and the flavour? Fanny says it's from an old Mrs Graham Blandy family 'receipt' which she has never found an equal for anywhere else. I don't think she looked very hard. Presumably Fanny calls it 'real' to mark it against all those imposter Madeira cakes that are being baked and scoffed in huge numbers all over the world. Pah, what do they know? 


The recipe that Fanny favours seems to make a ginormous cake, as well as a 'surplus' of mixture which Fanny suggests you can make an additional smaller cake from or lots of little buns. It also uses seven eggs. Yes, seven! These two things together lead me to cut the recipe down to a more manageable three egg version. I'm sure Mrs Blandy would understand.


The only problem in cutting things down is the uncertainty of what size cake tin to butter and flour in preparation, but I plump for a smallish oblong one. Be brave I think to myself, listen to all that Fanny has taught you so far. The cake itself is made from whisking up the egg yolks, adding in the sugar, caster of course, whisking again and adding the flour. It becomes quite a thick paste at this stage, I really can't see how it will transform into a sponge at all. The final addition is the whisked up egg whites, which do loosen the mixture but also require a fair bit of beating to incorporate. Have I just whipped all the air from my sponge? Fear not, after some careful baking it appears from the oven looking golden and pillowy, and literally jumps out of the carefully prepared tin to cool.


Now, it doesn't look or sound like the most exciting cake in Fannys collection, but of course she has a perfect idea to tiddle it up and inject some fun into this fat free sponge. That is to transform them into replicas of little wooden hedgehog toys that she saw on a shopping trip to Heals with Johnnie recently, naturally. I mean it would be almost everyone's first thought, right? I don't have the hedgehog toy to work from, just a picture, but Fanny made a template and cut copies from the Madeira cake, so, so do I. Except I have to draw the hedgehog first. Once brushed with warmed apricot jam and buried in a mountain of desiccated coconut they are brought to life with eyes and a snout. Fanny uses squished currants for hers, but I have some chocolate chips to hand. Fanny adds on 'wheels' made from little Macarons. The original toy had wheels. My drawing didn't. And there we have it, Stickly Pricklies as Fanny calls them. I'm not sure who would make them or why, but they do seem to have little 'eat me' personalities that the fatless Madeira alone could only dream of. No butter, no flavouring and albino. Didn't anyone tell Fanny hedgehogs aren't white?

10 comments:

  1. Super awesome, super cute. I may have to make these for the little ones in my family. I wonder if I have a hedgehog cookie cutter in my boxx, the last time I cut out a shape for cookies was Christmas and it was a Robin, little fiddly - but worth it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cookie cutters would make it all sooooo much easier! You could use any cake or sponge I think, it's not too fiddle and certainly fun! Let me know if you make them!

      Delete
  2. These look absolutely gorgeous, kudos for cutting them all out by hands!

    S xo.

    blinkeredbarbiebakes.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, it did take a while by hand, but was kind of therapeutic! Glad you like them!

      Delete
  3. Did they taste nice? Seems a very sparse recipe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is! The sponge itself tasted like those sponge fingers you use in trifles and tiramisu. Without the apricot jam and coconut they wouldn't taste of much really... They were nice I'd say, not very sweet and light...

      Delete
  4. Stickly Pricklies! Love it. We in the good ol' USA sure missed out on Fanny Cradock.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She was certainly one of a kind! Thanks...

      Delete
  5. Actually, hedgehogs probably were white. If you baked them in clay for long enough like Fanny apparently had to do in her poverty-stricken days in the 1940s.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She did! This is as close to her famous Baked Hedgehog as I'm likely to get though...

      Delete