ENTREMETS, bavarois, dacquoise, feuilletine and financier sponges – the final of Great British Bake Off a fortnight ago left me open mouthed as they cooked up cakes that I, despite five decades of in-depth research into the subject, had never encountered.

This week, another strangely-named cake-like comestible has been occupying the headlines: Bettys of York and Northallerton has required a small café in Whitby to remove “fat rascals” from sale because it trademarked the name in 1996.

This fall-out between two Yorkshire institutions over a piece of Yorkshire baking caused more than one exclamation of: “Eeh by bun!”

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A fat rascal is a plump, fruity, buttery scone and it seems to be an east Yorkshire coast speciality. It was originally a “turf cake”, baked in a covered pan in the ashes of a peat fire.

There is a reference to fat rascals in a short story which appeared in Household Words, a weekly magazine edited in the 1850s by Charles Dickens. It says: “We used to have cakes something of the same kind at home, when I was a girl, but they called them ‘singing hinnies’. They are famous at Saltburn for their fat rascals.”

A “singing hinnie” is the Northumberland equivalent of a fat rascal. “Hinnie” is a term of endearment, like “honey”, and the butter sizzled and spurted as the cake was cooked on a hot plate, and so it was said to be “singing”.

“Fat rascal” as a name is more difficult to explain. Rascals were lower class people who were scraped together to form an army (there’s a word in Latin and Old French, rasquer, meaning “to scrape”). So rascals were a worthless rabble who hung around on the edge of the trained soldiers.

The word was then applied to thin, sickly deer which hung around on the edge of the herd and weren’t worth hunters bothering with.

Which brings us to Shakespeare. In Henry IV Part II, Sir John Falstaff says to his favourite prostitute: “You make fat rascals, Mistress Doll.” This could be a reference to her cooking being so good that she makes thin animals fat, or it could have nothing whatsoever to do with Yorkshire baking.

Anyway, by 1860, another magazine, The Athenaeum, described the fat rascal as “a very agreeable species of tea cake”. Today, Betty’s make 375,000 a year with a cheeky face of cherry eyes and an almond mouth, and the Sandgate café is selling a new line of “Whitby fatties”.

IT is strange how language evolves. On Wednesday, Priti Patel offered a “fulsome apology” to the Prime Minister and resigned.

“Fulsome” in the 13th Century meant “very full”. It then came to mean “plump, well fed” which by the 14th Century meant that sick feeling you are too full. Overeaters were regarded as gluttons and so the by the early 15th Century, “fulsome” mean “offensive to good taste”, and by the 1660s it meant “excessively flattering”.

At school, I was taught not to use the word because although it sounds positive, it really is very negative. Ms Patel didn’t go to my school and, to be fair to her, in recent times the word has begun reverting to its original meaning. So did she offer a very full apology or was it a greasy, unctuous apology as she slithered out of the government?