Some days we all just want to keep things low key. We might be feeling a little bit quiet. We might be feeling a little bit flat. We might be feeling just a little bit ordinary. Nothing wrong with that. Nothing much to shout about. Maybe we just want to have something comforting and familiar in our lives. Fanny always has the answer, and it's usually cake. As it happens her solution here is her 'signature' with a twist. The cake is normally flat, normally ordinary, always comforting, always familiar. So, imagine it with oooopmh, and you have her Swiss Roll, presented as a Gâteau...
Fanny has her own ideas on how a Swiss Roll should be made, and we've made them a few times together before. For my money, they always work, always produce a light, spongey cake panel and always go down well. She shoots hot sugar into eggs as they whisk, until a light, yellow, fluffy double-in-size mixture is created begging for you to fold in some flour and bake. She calls it the 'Swiss Roll Which Will Never Crack', and like her smile, it doesn't.
This time, Fanny bakes it in a perfectly ordinary 8-inch round cake tin, all lined and ready with greaseproof paper. It bakes for longer than an ordinary, flat Swiss Roll, but comes out just as springy and light. Fanny splits it carefully with a large knife and spreads it either with homemade jam, or when it is available scum from the jam. Yes, scum. Perhaps she really means something very different, she often does, but to me scum is the frothy stuff that rises to the top when you make jam. You skim it off and throw it away. Does Fanny really spread it in her cakes?
I don't have any to hand regardless, so use my homemade Bramble Jelly. We know how Fanny loves a Bramble. In addition to spreading it in the middle and 'clapping' the two halves together again, Fanny brushes it all over the sponge. It feels a little wrong, am I reading the instructions correctly? I should really have more faith in dear old Fanny, soon all becomes clear. She has plans. It's all methodical. Panic over. It's not only for taste, but also for glue.
Fanny takes some Langues de Chat (Cats' Tongues) biscuits that are either homemade or shop bought (I bought some this time), brushes them with more jam and dips them in freshly milled pistachios. She knows this is rather extravagant, so it remains optional. Then, they are stuck round the outside of the gâteau. The glue-jam helps them to stand proudly. A cheerful border of freshly whipped cream, a little icing sugar and a whipped egg white is piped around the inside, before the centre is piled high with the chosen berries. Fanny choses blackcurrants. I chose blueberries. Suddenly the day feels less flat, less ordinary and more familiar as I tuck quietly into a hearty slice of this satisfyingly spongey surprise. And *maybe* another one too. Just don't shout about it.