This Sponge Fingers recipe yields small, sweet biscuits that resemble fingers. They are a perfect accompaniment to tea or coffee, and are a staple ingredient in tiramisu.
Sponge fingers, or ladyfingers, originated in 15th century Savoy, located in modern day France’s Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. They are probably most famous as a key ingredient in tiramisu.
When I planned to make a tiramisu, I wanted to truly make it from scratch. So I knew I had to develop a sponge fingers recipe. I took inspiration from Serious Eats, but of course I had to add vanilla bean paste.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- The lemon zest is rubbed into the sugar to express more lemon flavor.
- These little biscuits bake and cool quickly.
- My recipe includes vanilla, which makes these little sponge fingers even sweeter.
- The dust of powdered sugar help them rise, rather than spread.
- Eggs are key in this recipe. The whites and yolks are separated and the whites are whipped to give lift to the biscuits.
- I include lemon zest to subtly flavor these.
- Granulated and powdered sugar are key in sweetening sponge fingers.
- I like to include vanilla bean paste or extract.
- These use all-purpose flour as most folks have that on hand.
See recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
substitutions and variations
Here’s how to customize these to your taste:
- No lemon zest — omit completely if you do not have it or like it
- No powdered sugar — you can omit the powdered sugar, but these may not rise as well
- No all-purpose flour — Swap for cake flour, adding one extra tablespoon than what is called for in all-purpose flour
- Almond extract — swap vanilla for almond, if you like almond flavoring
This recipe has not been tested with any substitutions or variations. If you try any, please let me know how it turned out by commenting below!
how to make sponge fingers
Step 1: Combine half of the granulated sugar with the lemon zest. Rub the zest into the sugar. Add egg yolks and whisk until pale, fluffy. Add vanilla and beat until combined.
Step 2: Beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually add the remaining sugar. Continue beating until stiff peaks. Gently fold egg whites into the yolk mixture, careful not to deflate the egg whites.
Step 3: Sift in dry ingredients and gently fold until combined. Pour batter into a piping bag fitted with a plain round tip. Pipe 3-inch lines onto baking trays, spaced 1 ½ inches apart.
Step 4: Sift with powdered sugar before baking 12-14 minutes at 350ºF.
- Fold VERY gently. You do not want to risk deflating the meringue, otherwise your ladyfingers will fall flat. Check out this video from ICENGUIK on how to fold a meringue into a batter.
- Pipe horizontally to maintain the round shape, flicking up at the end to finish.
- Draw 3-inch lines on a piece of parchment paper using a ruler and flip over the parchment to use as a guide for piping.
Yes, just use 1 tablespoon more cake flour than what is called for in all-purpose flour.
This is not recommended as the recipe has not been tested with less sugar.
Store sponge fingers, or ladyfingers, in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
More recipes you’ll love
Lastly, if you make this Sponge Fingers recipe be sure to leave a comment or give it a rating. I love to see when people make my recipes, so please tag me @youthsweets on Instagram if you post!
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar (136 grams) divided
- 3 large eggs separated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (130 grams)
- pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoon cornstarch
- powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare a piping bag with a ½-inch opening round piping tip. Prepare two baking pans with parchment paper. Mark out 3-inch lines as a guide on the underside of the parchment. Ensure the lines are spaced out evenly, with about 1 ½ inches of space between them. Set aside.
- Combine half of the granulated sugar in a medium size bowl with the lemon zest. Rub the zest into the sugar to express the oils in the zest.
- Add egg yolks and whisk vigorously until pale, fluffy and thoroughly combined. Add vanilla and beat until combined. Set aside.
- Pour egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium until foamy. With the mixer running, gradually add the remaining half of sugar. Continue beating until stiff peaks are formed.
- Gently fold egg whites into the yolk mixture, careful not to deflate the egg whites.
- Combine flour, salt and cornstarch, whisking well to combine. Sift dry ingredients in and gently fold again until combined.
- Pour batter into the piping bag. Pipe 3-inch lines onto baking trays, spaced 1 ½ inches apart. Dust lightly with powdered sugar.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes. Cool completely on trays before storing in an airtight container.
- This recipe calls for a ½-inch opening round piping tip. You may need to look online for a piping tip with such a large opening. I found mine in a local restaurant supply store.
- Fold VERY gently. You do not want to risk deflating the meringue, otherwise your ladyfingers will fall flat. Check out this video from ICENGUIK on how to fold a meringue into a batter