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I want to experiment with making a savoury sponge cake. The idea is to make something that has the texture of a sponge cake but isn't sweet, and I'll fill it with some creamy savoury sauce that I haven't decided on yet. It's probably a daft idea (blame lockdown fever) and feel free to tell me so if you wish, but what I really want to know is can I take a recipe for a sponge cake and just leave out the sugar?

I want a fairly sturdy sponge. More like the texture of a light fruit cake sponge than a Madeira sponge. If it isn't just a matter of leaving out the sugar then any suggestions of recipes that will achieve what I want will be greatly appreciated.

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  • Does the recipe involve creaming sugar and butter together? If so, you're not going to have the tiny little air bubbles, and it's likely to be very, very dense. You're doing to need to find some way to lighten it up. You might be better off starting from a sugar free muffin (quickbread) recipe, and working from there. – Joe Oct 28 '20 at 16:43
  • @Joe good point, and if that's going to be a show stopper you should post it as an answer. – John Rennie Oct 28 '20 at 17:39
  • But I have no good solution. And I don't know what recipe you were planning on leaving the sugar out of. I just know that if it's based on the creaming method, then the sugar is necessary – Joe Oct 28 '20 at 18:11
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You may want to look into quick bread recipes instead.

Examples of quick breads include muffins, scones, coffee cakes — often made sweet, but savory versions certainly exist. The primary difference is whether or not there's any sugar, and what sort of additional flavors are mixed in (such as fruits or chocolate in sweet quick breads, cheese or meat or herbs in savory quick breads).

There are quite a lot of "basic quick bread" recipes available, and so I'll let you search on your own rather than post links which may go dead. Just make sure you look for a version that involves oil (and milk/buttermilk) instead of butter; some sweet sponge cake recipes get texture impacts from creaming butter and sugar together, which you couldn't do without sugar.

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  • Thanks, yes this looks like just what I want :-) I'll wait a day or so and if there are no more answers I'll accept this. – John Rennie Oct 29 '20 at 7:13
  • I also realized the other day that one of my favorite red velvet cake recipes actually is more or less a quick bread recipe (sugar, flour, eggs, oil, and buttermilk)! Thanks for the feedback, and hope your quarantine experiment works out for you ;) – Erica Oct 29 '20 at 14:22

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