"This calls for some tonic wine and a sponge finger"

   "Oh, I am pleased, this calls for some tonic wine and a sponge finger" .
                                      Yes Mrs O. I should jolly well think it does".
Cake Yes. Cake, we all like a bit of cake, don’t we? I know I do. I love, I do I love a bit of cake. I do. I just like cake. I’m one of those people. I come home and all I want, I just love cake. I just love cake, I just love a bit of cake. CAKE. I love a bit of cake I. Cake. Lovely. Oh My God, Is That Chocolate Cake? Give It To Me Right Now Cake. Or The Nothing Is Ever Going To Be Okay Again If I Don’t Have Chocolate Cake Cake. Or The I Want Marjorie Dawes Chocolate Cake Cake. Really, I tried to come up with a less cumbersome title, but “chocolate cake with chocolate frosting” doesn’t convey the urgency with which "I want cake and I want it right now "requires. The cake in question required sponge fingers and I had a packet  coming up to their "use by date", magdalenas left over from my last trip to Alimentación Orta in Ayamonte.What I did not realise was what defines a sponge finger.To the best of my knowledge a sponge finger was what I knew from childhood as a "Lyons" trifle sponge,very similar to a magdalena. How wrong could I be, a sponge finger apparently is what I was brought up to call a boudoir biscuit or ladyfinger.
Ladyfingers, sometimes known by their Italian name savoiardi,, sponge fingers in  English, or as Boudoir in French, are low density, dry, egg-based, sweet sponge biscuits roughly shaped like a large finger.
Having a passion for everything Italian I was also au fait with the name savoiardi,but how come these biscuits bear no physical resemblance to anything at all sponge like. They are  crisp, dry and crunchy,where as magdalena sponges are soft moist and crumbly.well I know where my preference lies.
In Portugal they are biscoitos de champanhe ("champagne biscuits") or palitos la reine.
In the UK sponge-fingers are called "boudoir biscuits", "baby biscuits",or "boudoir fingers"
In France: boudoirs or biscuits à la cuillère ("spoon cookies/biscuits") 
and in Italy: Savoiardi. 
For me there seems to be an orthographic uncertainty that has beset this expression in that one other type of food has shared the same name ,bhindi or Okra.Well its hardly a wonder i can´t tell a sponge finger from a so called lady finger.
 So without any further ado,I thought stop meddlin Madeleine and lets get baking.The recipe also embraced almonds, perfect and very Algarvian,Moorish too.
I followed the recipe using my magdalenas,and as it turned out it just might be the best chocolate cake I had ever made from scratch. 
Its a week later and I have made it again following the same recipe but using so called lady fingers and the verdict was.....Not much in it but the version with the magdalenas seemed slightly lighter and wetter.The latter with the lady fingers had some texture to it as the biscuits dont crumb fully.The choice is yours.

6 sponge fingers
300g quality dark chocolate,in small pieces
150g butter
165g caster sugar
4 eggs
125g ground almonds
3 tbsp orange liqueur
Preheat the oven to 180ºC.Grease a30 x 20cm baking tin and line with baking paper.Crumble the sponge fingers and spread a tablespoon on the bottom of the tin.Melt the chocolate in a small bowlover a large pan of boiling water.In a bowl,whisk together the butter and the caster sugar with an electric whisk to a creamy consistency.Add the eggs one by one,before adding the rest of the crumbled biscuits,along with the ground almonds,the melted chocolate and the liqueur.Mix well.Pour the mixture into the lined tin and bake for 40 minutes.once baked,leave to cool completely in the tin.       
40g dark chocolate,in small pieces
30ml whipping cream
10g unsalted butter
1 tbsp almond liqueur 
While the cake is in the oven,start making the icing.It will take time to set and become spreadable.Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.Pour in the cream and using a rubber spatula, stir well until all the chocolate has melted.Add the butter and almond liqueur and beat until smooth.Leave at room tempearture until the cake has cooled down and the icing has started to set.You want to catch it at the point when it spreads easily but isn´t hard.Do not try and rush it by by refrigerating!spoon a generous amount of icing on top of the cake and shape with a palate knife.


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