½ cup (115 g/4 oz) caster sugar
¾ cup (35 g/1 ¼ oz) plain flour
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
Softly whipped cream, to serve
Raspberry jelly or jam (optional), to serve
Icing sugar, for dusting
Preheat your oven to 200◦C (400◦F).
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or using a handheld electric whisk, beat the eggs and caster sugar for a good 5 to 7 minutes until creamy, thick and light. With a rubber spatula, scrape the mixture into a large bowl.
While the eggs and sugar are whipping, sift the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar together in a bowl.
Now sift the dry ingredients, a little at a time, into the beaten egg and sugar mixture, folding in the ingredients as gently as you can.
Line a couple of baking trays with baking paper. Use a regular soup-style spoon to spoon even spoonfuls, trying to keep them as round and as high as possible. Try to leave 2-3 cm (¾ -1 ¼ in) between each sponge drop, to allow for spreading.
Place in the oven and bake for 4-5 minutes. Remove and let cool on the tray before gently extracting by running a thin spatula under each one.
Once the drops are completely cool, fill with whipped cream and, if using, the raspberry jelly or jam.
Refrigerate for a couple of hours prior to serving as this makes the sponge super soft. Dust with icing sugar and watch them disappear.
Recipe and image from Eat Up New Zealand by Al Brown (Allen and Unwin).
The story behind the recipe
There must be something about sponge drops in New Zealand. Run a quick search on Trip Advisor and you’ll find at least 17 restaurant reviews raving about the best ones in the North and South Islands. “I adore sponge drops,” well-known Kiwi chef, Al Brown, writes in Eat Up New Zealand, a cookbook celebrating the south-west Pacific country’s culture and food. Brown, who also runs Depot Eatery & Oyster Bar, Federal Delicatessen and Best Ugly Bagels in Auckland and Wellington, serves as a culinary ambassador for New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. He credits friend Ngaire Callaghan for sharing the secrets to glorious sponge drops, a recipe that we also reproduce here courtesy of Eat Up New Zealand. Publishers, Allen & Unwin.