Monday, August 21, 2017

Josefina's Apricot Sponge Cake

Sponge Cake Take 2!

And last but not least from last summer’s recipe vault, here’s Josefina’s apricot sponge cake! I’d been wanting to do a recipe for Josefina with apricots in it for a while. An apricot tree is an important plot point in her stories, and also apricots are in general pretty delicious, so it seemed like a perfect combination. 

Fortunately, the American Girl Party Handbook had a dessert suggestion that sounded pretty promising, and last summer I decided to break it out for a shot.

Some of you might remember me complaining in the past that the Party Handbook often doesn’t actually give full recipes for some of the treats it recommends for hosting the perfect American Girl themed event. This one is one of them: the only guidance you get from the book is to make or buy two round sponge cakes, smear apricot preserves or jam in the middle to sandwich them together, put more on top, and decorate with sliced apricot. 

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that it’s smart to include some of these hassle free suggestions in a kid’s party planning book. Cooking for a large crowd can be both time consuming and insanely stressful, so cutting the parents a break when throwing the perfect party makes sense. I just personally don’t love store bought baked goods that much anymore, unless it’s coming from a local bakery that makes their products in house. Plus, I like baking! So it’s not a big deal to me to make a cake from scratch, even if I am going to be feeding it to a crowd. 

That said, to be totally honest, I really don’t remember what recipe I used for this cake. It’s been such a long time that I don’t remember it off the top of my head, and searching through my inbox doesn’t provide any clues to what recipe I might have used. (If I find a recipe when I’m away from my computer, I often email it to my blog email to remind me to make it later!) So in this case, I’m going to have to be like the party handbook and say just find a good sponge cake recipe and give it a shot. 

What I do remember is that this cake required a lot of eggs, and a lot of whipping. You might remember the only sponge cake I’ve featured here before is the British World War II sponge cake recipe that made the base of my VE Day Trifle. I wasn’t sure what to make of that until it had been smothered in fruit syrup and Jell-O, so I was interested to see if a sponge cake made with more eggs and sugar would taste and smell differently.

Well, unfortunately for me, the cakes sure didn’t smell different from the VE Day version when I took them out of the oven. They smelled very eggy, which definitely put me off a little bit. Eggs are a funny thing: people either love them or hate them, and they can be a very polarizing ingredient for people. It seems like everyone has very specific preferences about how they want their eggs prepared, and they refuse to touch them if they’ve been made a different way. I’m someone who prefers my eggs very well cooked, and I really only like eating them scrambled or hard boiled. Because of that, I have a really strong association with eggs as a breakfast item, and so to smell them so strongly in a dessert is kind of off putting. 

Still, I was willing to give this a shot, and hoped that slathering apricot preserves on top of both cakes would help hide whatever eggyness was left over from baking.

Arranging the apricots on top was a lot of fun too. I remember my dad was very impressed to come home from church and see what I’d been working on, which is always a nice compliment. If I’m remembering correctly, I’m pretty sure he made a comment about how the fruit on top made it look really professional, which is a very nice compliment!

It made a nice slice of cake, too.

But unfortunately for me, the cake still tasted very, very eggy to me. I just couldn’t look past it. Again, eggs for me are a savory ingredient, and I don’t like having that taste in my mouth alongside really sweet things. Maybe that will change at some point, but for now, I’m going to leave my slice of cake for Josefina to finish off. 

That said, my taste testers didn’t share my assessment at all, so this might be a personal preference thing. Or maybe I’m just weird! They insisted it didn’t taste eggy, and liked that the cake was fluffy and light without being too sweet, which gave you more of a chance to enjoy the flavor of the apricot. 

So that’s it from last summer’s vault! Sort of. There’s still one more story I’d like to try to tell you before the summer’s over… from last summer. But we’ll see how that turns out. I’ve learned by now that making any promises about timely posts is not quite possible. Hopefully you don’t mind being kept in suspense!

I can promise that it’s not an overly eggy cake!


  1. This one sounds yummy! Thanks for sharing!

  2. The cake looks yummy! And yes - I was wondering about the pans. Thanks for the note Your GM.

    1. Thanks again for the pans! Looking forward to breaking them in. :D