Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Fanny Cradock's Invention Test

In the days before Masterchef, Fanny herself ruled the TV cooking game. I'm not sure what she would've made of ordinary people being encouraged to cook, never mind encouraged to make up their own recipes. Just ask poor a Gwen Troake, who famously was involved in the decline of Fannys career on TV. Fanny did not approve of her trying to out-do the professionals (herself included) by daring to deviate from well trodden menus and techniques. 'You are among professionals now dear.' However Fanny obviously saw herself as a class apart, and more than able to unveil her own creations at the drop of a hat. So, if Fanny found herself on Masterchef (it would obviously be 'The Professionals' by the way and not the 'Celebrity' edition) and the following ingredients were presented in the Invention Test there would be no need for panic. Caster Sugar. Flour. Egg Yolks.

The obvious recipe, as far as Fanny is concerned at any rate, is a sponge cake. She calls it Le Biscuit de Reste, presumably as it's made from the 'remains' of the eggs that she's already used the whites to make the Fluffy Angel Cake. Or perhaps meringues. I guess Fanny is worried that if you have a pile of leftover egg yolks and you simply cannot do without cake, then you should have a recipe. It's only fair. 

So how does this minimal ingredient sponge come together? The yolks need to be whipped alone 'very thoroughly indeed' before the sugar is whipped in too. The mixture goes white and ribbony at this stage, or as Fanny notes, pale and frothy. Stop whipping altogether at this point and move to gentle mode, lightly but thoroughly folding the sifted flour in. The mix is really thick, and the flour doesn't really fold in very gently I have to say... But then, it's not my invention test.

Fanny turns the thick, bright mix (I'm tempted to say 'paste' but I'd be chased out the kitchen) into a ready prepared Victoria Sponge tin for baking. Fanny says it should be inverted on a cooling rack before turning out, which suggests it is quite delicate and light. I may have done something wrong of course, but mine doesn't seem like it's about to collapse. Still, I invert and when cooled it looks exactly the same as before and I reckon I could've just cooled it the right way round. Fanny suggests a quick dusting of icing sugar, and voilĂ  she's ready to present it to Marcus Wareing (now that Michel Roux Jnr has gone) and Monica Galetti for tasting. Would they have the nerve to tell her it tastes like eggy cardboard? If you find that you've only got yolks and really need a cake in a hurry, then this is for you, but otherwise... 


  1. Despite you saying it tastes like eggy cardboard the next time I have some yolks leftover I'm going to try this!!! Will report back if I do!

    1. Please do, and don't be put off by me! I think it just needs some flavour added, maybe use it for a trifle or something? Nice colour though! Thanks...

    2. Using it for a trifle would be an excellent idea! I'm also going to try this because Angel Cake is next on my list!

    3. Thanks, that's where my egg yolks came from - did you see my previous post on Angel Cake? Let me know if you make it! Thanks...