Okay, so in my 20-something bloggers profile I brag somewhat about having an 'increasing knowledge of after-tea cakes'. This is something which I stick by, a side-effect of my many pleasant Sunday afternoons in Trinity College Dublin.
I had a bit of a routine for Sundays:
1) Wake up, with a bit of a hangover
2) Watch films/ Play about online/ Read (but NOTHING to do with law stuff)
3) Go for a bit of a walk around the beautiful Trinity campus, maybe doing a bit of shopping or any chores or whatnot,
4) Go get some food, either going out for a subway (chicken and bacon ranch, grilled with cheese, with jalapenos, black peppers, green peppers and gherkins and honey mustard sauce) OR bu a massive pizza from Apaches
5) Nip to the shop to buy the newspaper (the Observer/Guardian, how I heart thee) and, of course, some tea cakes.
6) Go visit my mate Spark for a cup of tea and a chinwag.
Now, in the course of these Sundays, I happened upon manies a variance of post-tea confection, and in the course of these entries into the Afer-Tea Confection Journal (hereinafter 'the ATCJ')I shall attempt to critique the many tea-cakes, fruit slices, cookies, biscuits (NOT the American imposter that is actually a scone, but the proper British/Irish biscuit) and the myriad other species of sweet jollity that so stoutly accompanies a heart-warming cuppa.
[NB: The term After-Tea is somewhat misleading, but let it be known that the 'tea' in question is the evening meal, and the other 'tea' that is mention is the fabled drink. So an after-tea confection is indeed consumed with a cup of tea.]
The French Fancy.
The French Fancy is a delightful little cake-ette, small enough to be eaten in a quick gulp and tasty enough that an entire box is often in most ghastly peril of being wholly devoured ere the teapot run dry.
Yes, for some reason i am talking like a old timey gentleman.
The Tech Stuff
A small cube of moist sponge, with a little mound of vanilla cream on top, all encased in one of three types of icing laminate (lemon, chocolate or strawberry) and crowned with a streak of chocolate drizzle. Individually wrapped, they come in packs of 8 and can be easily shared amongst a small group of conversationalists. At between £1.50 and £2.50 a box, it's a within a smidgen above the acceptable confectionary range.
An invention of the wonderful Mr Kipling, these cubes of tasteliness are described as 'delightful fondant iced sponge cakes with a vanilla flavoured filling.' One might think this to be a rather grandiose boast, but it's evident that Mr Kipling is not big-upping his skills. For they are delectable.
In terms of after-tea cake they are almost perfect. The combination of tangy icing, moist sponge, smooth vanilla and chocolate drizzle is ridiculously tasty, and as I've said above, due to the rather small nature of the cakes and its horrendous edibility, it's almost impossible to eat just one.
So, if I am to pick a random number out of which to score these cakes I must ask myself the 'Fundamental Ideals of Cakemanship'. A YES gives 1 point, a 1/2 gives...well, you get it.
1) - Is the confection easy to slice/share/prepare, thus enabling hassle-free cakemanship? YES
2) - Is the confection comfortably within the realms of the sweetness spectrum? YES
3) - Is the confection of affordable price in comparison to the amount of joy it brings? 1/2
4) - Is the confection sufficiently moreish? YES
5) - Is the confection sold in a way which allows for ample portion? NO
6) - Does the confection contain a subtle yet delicious blend of flavours? YES!!
7) - Does the confection taste well with a cup of tea? YES
8) - Does the confection make me feel like an old lady? YES
Therefore, it is with great joy and much diabetic rumblings of my post-teacake belly, keeping in mind the delicious taste, the addictive nature of it, it's tea-friendly nature and, unfortunately, the small portions, it is my great honour to award the Kipling French Fancy
6.5 / 8
Mazel tof, Mr Kipling. Jolly good show.
How to eat a Mr Kipling French Fancy:
1) Look at your prospective Confection with a mixture of awe, fear and delight (and lust)
2) Admire the attractive packaging of your Confection as it poses on the kitchen counter.
3) Acclimatise your French Fancy with it's new surroundings by letting it interact with tea accoutrements (such as a mug as pictured) and encourage it to do a little sight-seeing.
4) Allow (or coerce) a small family member into making you a cup of tea.
5) Smile cheesily with your Fancy and your Spongebob Mug (wink optional)
6) Devour greedily, allowing your tastebuds to drown in a tsunami of palatableness as the Fancy gleefully joins your person.
7) Sigh happily.