Spongedrop Cakery

My summer holiday was long and filled with many adventures in the Bay of Plenty and Auckland….it’s was absolutely fantastic to discover some new little gems of places.   I have to say Spongedrop is my new fav place to visit at Mt Maunganui,  I dropped in three times over the course of the summer. Spongedrop is new to the Mount cafe scene, with their roots in the Little Big Markets, they have recently made the leap to a permanent location.

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The cabinet at Spongedrop Cakery looking a little bare…awaiting fresh delights.

Spongedrop Cakery is on Salisbury Avenue in the former information centre (right beside the public toilets). The cakery is delightfully and simply decorated with a modern classic look, with gorgeous wee touches like fresh posies on each table. There are just three wee tables inside and a couple outside, but if it’s busy you can grab one of the picnic blankets and set yourselves up on the adjoining park lawn.

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Mini Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Along with an amazing array of fresh mouthwatering cupcakes and delightful macarons, they serve a fabulous raw chocolate caramel slice.  All individual little masterpieces reflecting their passion for good quality food made with love.   Not only are there all the fabulous sweet treats, Cassie the barista makes almost the best long black I’ve ever drank. And definitely, the best I have had outside of Wellington. Of course, I have to mention the coffee they serve is the fabulous Wellington roasted Coffee Supreme.

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Delightful Posies add cheerful touches to the tables

Danielle and team have created a delightful wee cafe, that is well worth a visit!!! Keep it up ladies, I’m looking forward to visiting again next time I’m in town.

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See the coffee was good!

I have not been recompensed in any form for this review, it is entirely my own views of a delightful holiday find.

Chewy Almond, Honey and Lime Biscuits

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My Christmas present from my darling children was Jo Seagar’s new recipe book, A Bit of What You Fancy.  It is a lovely looking book and I can definitely spend hours drooling over the recipes in it. In particular, there are two biscuit recipes that really appealed to me.  So, yesterday, I made these gorgeous Chewy Almond, Honey and Lime Biscuits. They are an absolutely divine dairy and gluten free treat!

Just like macarons, they have an egg white and almond meal base, but you don’t need to beat the eggs quite so much. I’m guessing it’s because of the almond and egg white base, I liked these so much.  It is so nice to have a biscuit that seems quite simple to make but is more of an adult treat.

Recipe

2 egg whites

2 cups of Almond Meal

1 cup of Castor Sugar

zest of 3 limes (finely grated)

1 Tablespoon of honey (Warmed)

Icing Sugar

Preheat oven to 160C and dust two baking trays with icing sugar.

Beat egg whites to soft peaks, then add the rest of the ingredients and mix to a soft paste.

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Roll into balls, then roll in icing sugar.

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place on trays leaving enough space to spread out slightly. Gently press, but do not flatten.

Bake for approx 15 mins.

Macaron Mastery

There are a number of factors that can contribute to the success or failure of a batch of Macaroons.  Some believe that some of these things are not true, but for me I have found them to being pivotal to the success of a batch.

  1. Know your oven.  This will help you to determine what temperature to adjust it to!  I think my oven is on the hot side, so I cook my macarons at 130°C. It will also help you to determine when your macarons are cooked. Undercooked macaroons will stick to the paper and drop as they cool creating a hollow macaroon.
  2. Always dry out the almond meal before use. Dry it spread on a tray in the oven, but watch it like a hawk you don’t want it burning. I find this helps with the next “rule”… I ended up with almond paste when I didn’t dry the almond meal.
  3. Blend the almond meal and icing sugar. I always pop the almond meal in the food processor to remove any large lumps and add the icing sugar to get a really good mix of the two ingredients. This gives a smoother finish to the end look of the macaroons not like my Luscious lemon ones.
  4. Use eggs at least one week old and at room temperature. This is a basic my mother taught me to do with anything that is meringue based…I look at it as a plan ahead step!
  5. Keep the meringue step simple.  No need to do any heating, just beat egg whites and sugar until you are getting soft peaks. No fancy machinery required, I just do this with my small electric handbeater.
  6. Liquid colour should be added to the egg, dry colour to the almond meal and icing sugar.
  7. Do not over mix. Be careful to not over mix either the macaronage (the mixture) at the meringue stage or when folding in the dry ingredients. Soft peaks and just wet are the key to a good foot. The foot is the little speckled bit at the bottom of each biscuit.  I think it gives them a nice almost lace type look.
  8. Piping gives you a nice round shape, provided you are good at controlling a piping bag!
  9. Once piped – Drop the tray from a height several times onto the bench. Close your eyes if you are too nervous to watch.
  10. Always rest the Macaroons before cooking. I tend to leave mine resting about 40 minutes before putting in the oven.
  11. Watch, watch, watch … don’t let them over cook, this is when you end up losing colour.
  12. Cool, fill and leave to mature…in the fridge for at least 24 hours, I have to say I think about 3 days is perfect…still crunchy on the outer, yet gooey and chewy on the inside.

I don’t think this list is definitive, but it is certainly my main observations to this point.