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Home • Recipe • Traditional • Sponge Drops
Published by Amy
The perfect little cake! Sponge Drops are a lovely light cake, sandwiched with cream & jam. Perfect for afternoon tea or any special celebrations.
Say hello to the cutest little cakes you’ve ever seen! Who doesn’t love a simple sponge, perfectly sandwiched with some cream and strawberry jam? How could you possibly improve on such a classic?!
Well, make it smaller of course! Your very own little individual portion of cake, there’s no way you could resist. Perfect for afternoon tea, bake sales, celebration buffets…or just because you want to get in the kitchen and make something delicious and dainty.
Sponge Drops are a lovely little dessert made from mini genoise-style sponge cakes, sandwiched together with freshly whipped cream and some sweet jam. They are like little individual portions of Victoria Sponge cake, but with a slightly different texture in the actual sponge (which is almost verging on biscuit-like), due to it being a fat-less cake.
It’s hard to say where exactly Sponge Drops origins lie. I have always seen them pop up in Granny’s recipe books, so I had assumed it was a British recipe, particularly given it’s similarities to Victoria Sponge.However, when doing some research I also found that Sponge Drops were a popular recipe in New Zealand and Australia. That could of course be down to their Commonwealth ties though.But despite some digging, I’ve not found a definitive place of origin – let me know if you have some information I’ve missed though!
When I say Sponge Drops are easy to make, I mean it…kind of. They are very simple in concept and even in practice, but they do take a fair bit of whisking to get right. Don’t let that put you off though!You simply start by whisking your eggs, before add the sugar. You’ll then continue to whisk until the mixture is light, thick and very fluffy. This does take about 10 minutes of whisking in total, so I’d always recommend using an electric hand mixer, or a stand mixer.Next you add a little vanilla, before sifting in your flour and baking powder. You need to be super gentle when folding in the flour but that’s literally it for your prep. You simply spoon this mixture onto some lined baking sheets and bake.As for the filling, whipped cream and jam is the iconic choice but you can get creative and add whatever you’d like! And finish with a dusting of icing sugar for maximum effect.
Free-range Eggs Eggs are a vital part of your sponge drops, as we are venturing along the lines of a genoise sponge cakes but in mini form (and without any butter or oil added). So not only do the eggs serve as a binder, they also provide the bulk of our actual sponge drops. How? Because we are going to whisk the living daylights out of them, until they don’t even resemble eggs anymore! Generally I’d recommend using medium sized eggs, purely because using large may result in a slightly more eggy taste to your sponges, due to the additional volume of egg overall. But if you only have large eggs available though, you’ll probably be ok. Oh, and be sure to use free-range eggs, when possible.
Caster Sugar The make or break of a perfect batch of sponge drops is in the whisking of the eggs and sugar – this is where we get the majority of the light texture from. As such, a caster sugar is non-negotiable. The fine texture of caster sugar allows it to whisk with the eggs in a way that any more coarse sugars just can’t. You can swap for a golden caster sugar, if you feel inclined but that’s about as far as you can go in terms of substitutions.
Vanilla If we’re talking traditional, vanilla wouldn’t usually be featured in a Sponge Drops recipe – this is a bake that pre-dates a time when vanilla was so easily accessible. Those that know me also know that I’m not a fan of throwing vanilla into every bake willy-nilly. However, I do find a smidgen of vanilla can really compliment the sponge biscuits in this Sponge Drops recipe. Because they are mostly made up of egg, sugar and flour, the flavours mostly come from the egg and sugar; if you don’t whisk quite enough, you risk an eggy taste coming through & becoming prominent – the vanilla helps prevent this. Plus, it helps balance out the sweetness from the sugar too. And it compliments the whipped cream and strawberry jam perfectly.
Self-raising Flour Although we achieve a lot of volume with the whisking of the eggs and sugar, self-raising flour helps add a little bit more lift. The last thing we’d want is to put in all that effort whisking, to then add some heavy flour that flattens it all out whilst baking. That is also the reason that sifting the flour is also essential -don’t skip that step either.
Baking Powder Most of the lifting power in the sponges comes from the whisking of the eggs & sugar, and the raising agents in the flour. But we add just a little bit extra to help them along, with a tiny bit of baking powder.
Double Cream The classic filling for sponge drops is cream and jam. I like to use double cream, as it’s the most accessible. But if you have trouble getting the whipping timing and technique right, whipping cream is a great fail-safe option too. Either way, we want to whip our cream until it has medium-stiff peaks.
Strawberry Jam I opt for strawberry jam as I like the combo with the cream but raspberry or blackberry jam is a great alternative, if you prefer those flavours. And unlike most sponge cake recipes, where I’d usually suggest a seedless jam, I think a good chunky jam can add a nice bit of texture to your sponge drops. If you want to go a little bit extra, you could even add some freshly sliced strawberries in there too!
• Be sure to have your eggs at room temperature before whisking. It might seem like a small, insignificant step but it really can make or break your success with Sponge Drops.
• I cannot stress this enough – when it comes to folding in your flour, be very gentle. The amount of whisking involved is critical in helping your sponges remain light in texture. You want to maintain as much of the air created in whisking, so be careful not to knock it all out by mixing in your flour too vigorously.
• When it comes to spooning your batter onto the baking sheets, use a measuring tablespoon to ensure consistency in the size of your sponges. Not only will they look more uniform but they will also bake more evenly too.
• For success when whipping your cream – and to avoid over-whipping – stop whipping right before you think you’ve whipped enough. The cream will continue to thicken slightly once you stop, and it’s easier to whip a bit more if needed, than it is to let go of cream you have over-whipped (heart breaking).
Nut-free: This recipe for Sponge Drops doesn’t contain any nuts, however if you are serving to someone with a nut allergy, be sure to check your individual ingredients for any hidden nuts.
Dairy-free: The actual sponges in this Sponge Drops recipe are dairy-free. However to make this recipe completely dairy-free, you will need to omit the cream from the filling, or use a dairy-free cream in it’s place.
Omg these look exactly like the ice cream ‘sponge’ we used to get as bairns from the ice cream van! I’ve always wanted to find them in a shop but never have
Are you from Fife Scotland?
Just across the water in East Lothian!
These are so on my to do list, and soon. Amy, well done on the award, totally deserved. I have made so many of your recipes and they are all first class and, more importantly, deliver what you say they will.
I am asked to make granny’s shortbread all the time, Highlander is my personal favourite. Please keep the amazing recipes coming our way and thank you.
Some of my fondest memories include this wee cakes. My granny used to have dinner at our place monthly and in between getting buses we would go into an outstanding bakers in Timaru NZ and buy sponge drops. She liked to buy nice things
Now however I am gluten sensitive. Is it possible to use white rice flour or another kind to substitute?
Keeping my fingers crossed for your reply.
Edmonds Gluten Free Plain Flour Free wheat gluten dairy & yeast Bakes like Regular Flour NZ
Can I use something else my friends don’t like cream
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