Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Flavours Column: Spongedrops

Hi folks! I know it's been a mighty long time since I've posted but I will now have fresh new content for you weekly. So much has happened over the summer - a multitude of wedding cakes and many many exciting cake adventures. All of which have been keeping me ridiculously busy. If you'd like to see photos of what's been greedily devouring my time please pop over to my Spongedrop page. Now onto some exciting news - and the reason why I will have weekly content for you...

Last year a friend of mine, who has been nothing but super supportive since I started Spongedrop, put my name forward to the editor of the lifestyle section of our local newspaper. The newspaper were looking for a baking columnist for a new weekly food lift out - and to cut a short story shorter - I was lucky enough to get the gig! So here it is. My first ever newspaper column. Word for word. As published in the Bay of Plenty Times on March 6th 2013. I'm quite proud of it. Which in turn makes me shy and blush a fair bit.

If you try the recipe please leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Disclaimer: Please excuse my very average food photography skills. Thankfully I have some wonderful photographer friends who have offered to help out so the photos will be improving drastically in future!   

A Sweet Treat for your Inner Child

Hello. I’m Danielle, chief cake baker (aka caker) of Spongedrop, a cakes, bakes and sweet treats business. Welcome to my new column! This is a first for me so bear with me as I learn the ropes…hopefully you’ll like what I have to share, both the recipes and the writing. If you’d like to say hi you can find me at The Little Big Markets on the first Saturday of the month.

It seems only fitting to kick-start this column with the recipe that started my baking obsession. I was eight when my love of Spongedrops began. My friend and I would get home from school, whip out the Edmonds Cookbook and bake a batch of these spongy, sweet little cakes. Usually we’d devour the lot, straight out of the oven, dipped in warm chocolate sauce (again, thank you Edmonds). Being kids, we had very little patience and relatively short attention spans. Spongedrops let us have cake within 15 minutes using four ingredients. They were the perfect minimal effort snack and we could have them baked, eaten and the evidence destroyed before our parents found out.

This recipe is adapted from a version in the 1981 Every Girls Rally Cookbook. I still love the Edmonds recipe but this one, although requiring more effort and ingredients, is a little more sophisticated (as I’d like to think I am now too).

2 eggs, separated
60g plain flour
¼ teaspoon Cream of Tartar
75g caster sugar
30g cornflour
½ teaspoon baking soda
40g butter, melted 

Heat the oven to 190C (175C fan bake) and cover a tray with baking paper.

Beat the egg whites until stiff then add the yolks. Beat well and add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until all the sugar is dissolved. Sift the dry ingredients together and gently fold into the egg mix until only JUST combined (it’s okay if there are still tiny pockets of flour). Lastly fold in the melted butter. The trick with sponges is not to overmix so be gentle. Using a dessertspoon, drop spoonfuls of the mix onto the tray, leaving 4cm between each. Bake for 8 minutes. Lift off tray immediately and cool on a rack. 

Eat straight from the oven dipped in a pot of hot chocolate sauce or, once cooled, sandwich together with whipped cream, leave for several hours to get puffy and soft, dust with icing sugar and eat. 

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