Thursday, May 10, 2012

I'm sure they shouldn't look like that

You might assume, with my less-than-perfect track record with sponges, that I would be approaching any and all sponge recipes with a certain amount of dread. Oddly, this is not the case. I find I begin nearly all recipes with an optimism that sometimes turns out to be quite unwarranted.

We had another blood drive today, and as per my usual custom, I brought baking to work so we wouldn't be donating on an empty belly. I didn't have a lot of time to spare last night, so I chose a recipe that looked quick and simple: sponge drops (p68). See? There's that optimism I was talking about.

It certainly looked easy enough - you just beat eggs with sugar and vanilla until thick, fold in sifted dry ingredients, then drop small spoonfuls onto a tray and bake. How can you go wrong with that?

Everything seemed to be going quite well at first. I got the eggs and sugar nice and thick (it said 'very thick', so I beat it until it looked thick to me, then kept going a bit longer), folded in the flour and baking powder without difficulty, then dropped teaspoonfuls onto a greased tray.

The spoonfuls of mixture spread out wider than I'd expected, but once they were in the oven, they puffed up a bit. They didn't quite look how I'd expected, but not disastrous either - yet.

It was when I got the first tray out of the oven my problems began. The sponge drops immediately lost what little puffiness they had, and were almost impossible to remove from the tray. I went to line the trays with baking paper instead, but found I'd run out. And tray after tray (because you don't fit many on a tray) came out exactly the same.

When the sponge drops had cooled, they'd turned into sort of wafer-thin, slightly chewy crispy things. A bit weird-looking, but ok. I set them aside to be sandwiched with cream in the morning.

By the morning, my crispy, wafery things were no longer crisp and had gone kinda soft and sticky. I persevered, however, and sandwiched the soggy things together with whipped cream.

Luckily, my workmates are not fussy eaters. Despite the sponge drops' unappealing appearance, the plate cleared fairly quickly when I got them out at morning tea. After all, they didn't taste terrible, just sort of a chewy thing tasting of sugar and cream.

One thing that is both convenient and inconvenient about the Edmonds book is the lack of pictures. I usually defend this feature with the argument that it avoids the disappointment you get when what you make doesn't look like the picture. Of course, in this case, I don't really need a picture to know my sponge drops aren't quite what they should be!


  1. I missed out, don't forget the GM.

  2. I believe there was one left when the GM turned up, but instead of eating it, he made derogatory remarks about it instead?

    1. I did prod it and wonder what it was.

    2. Well trust me, you weren't missing anything spectacular!


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