In My Kitchen, March sweetness

I had been desiring something sweet. Shrove Tuesday had been on Tuesday and traditionally in Finland we would enjoy the laskiaspulla along with sledding in the white banks of snow. This year nature has not been following traditions and neither did I as we do not have any snow and really only got a few inches all winter. I found a recipe and video tutorial by Jamie Oliver for his simple sponge cake. I have been a fan of Jamie Oliver for some time. Maybe we have some things in common. We’re about the same age, he’s a dad of four and I’m the mom of six. We’re passionate about food. Perhaps we don’t agree on all political questions but we do agree that kids should be offered healthy meal options at school. Quite often, children are offered highly processed food. In Finland, we are lucky that our school meals are generally fairly healthy and strawberry or chocolate milk is not an option. Actually at our house we had a small episode over hot chocolate. I really don’t have anything against hot chocolate. I love a good cup myself occasionally. To me it becomes a problem when the kids are drinking it every morning and evening and they would regularly fill the cup half way with the powder and the rest of the way with hot water and some milk. It would turn into a thick slurry of hot chocolate. I tried my best to supervise, but they are quick. So we instituted Hot Chocolate Sundays. Every Sunday we make hot chocolate and we make it the real way with milk straight from the farm and occasionally with some whipped cream that had be skimmed off of the milk. Once we even made our own homemade marshmallows and they certainly tasted better than the store bought version. It has become a family ritual that everyone looks forward to and no one even asks for hot chocolate during week anymore.

hot chocolate collageSo this month in my kitchen to satisfy my sweet tooth is Jamie’s simple sponge cake to share.

sponge cake sliceJamie’s Simple Sponge Cake (slightly altered)

250 g/8.8 oz unsalted butter, softened
250 g/8.8 oz sugar
250 g/8.8 oz flour
2 tsp baking powder
vanilla bean
pinch salt
orange zest
4 eggs

Filling
2 dl/1 c heavy whipping cream
250 g/8.8 oz marscapone cheese
3 tbsp sugar
2-3 tbsp orange juice
blueberries
150 g/5.3 oz lemon curd

powdered sugar

simple sponge CollageMeasure the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, and the seeds scraped from one half of a vanilla bean into your stand mixer or food processor. Allow to mix until combined. Add room temperature eggs into the batter one at time, beating strongly after each addition. Line the bottom of the spring form with parchment paper. Pour the batter into the form. Place the cake form into the oven that is heated to 170 C/340 F and bake for 20 minutes. I used a smaller 20 cm/8 inch form for a taller cake and the bake time was about 45 minutes. Bake until a test skewer comes clean. Allow to cool.

sponge cake filling

For the filling, whip the cream and combine with the marscapone cheese. Flavor with sugar and orange juice. I used the juice of one half of an orange. Slice the cake into two so that the bottom is clearly thicker than the top. Spread two-thirds of the lemon curd on the bottom and one-third on the top layer. Next spread the marscapone cream filling on top of the lemon curd. Finally sprinkle the berries on the cream filling. Carefully flip the top of the cake on top of the filling and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

jamie oliver sponge cakeAnd it just so happened that on that day there was a pleasant surprise in the mailbox, the March issue of one of my favorite interior design magazines. So many new ideas and color combinations. Perhaps some ideas will be put into practice. So there I was in my kitchen. Outside the day was somewhat gray but quite spring-like for the beginning of March. Inside there was a freshly made cake, a large cup of hot tea, a new magazine and a moment of peace. Perfect for a name day celebration.

This post is part of Celia’s In My Kitchen Series.

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71 Comments

  1. Looks simply beautiful. Your pictures make this dessert so alluring! I bet it tastes fantastic 🙂 Love your Hot Chocolate Sunday tradition, so cozy!

  2. I also love Jamie Oliver, great simple sponge recipe. Your cake looks so good and it would certainly satisfy my sweet tooth.The beauty is that it is not overly sweet.
    I love hot chocolate, it’s one of my favorite indulgences every winter and cold chocolate milk the rest of the year.

  3. Quality rather than quantity. Your cake and hot chocolate look perfect. I read this only a few days ago ““The real pleasure-seeking is the combination of luxury and austerity in such a way that the luxury can really be felt.”
    – G.K. Chesterton

  4. This cake is gorgeous, love the filling. I like Jamie Oliver as well, we used to watch his shows back in the day before he was married and in a band. Things sure have changed.

    1. Hi Jessica! Yes, it did hit the spot and satisfy the sweet tooth. Jamie’s original version uses raspberries…but since I didn’t have raspberries and I have a freezer full of blueberries, so I decided to switch the berries. 🙂

  5. Greetings from Texas! Can hardly wait ’til you’re baking in my kitchen. The cake looks super, will try it.
    Love, Grampa

  6. Your cake is so pretty, but those blueberries look so much nicer than what I can get here! It must be because of colder weather, I’m guessing! Great post!

  7. Looks so good. I love combining cream and mascarpone. It’s a very satisfying combination. I like the way you solved the hot chocolate problem by turning it in to a special Sunday treat. Are you using frozen blueberries?

    1. You said it perfectly…cream and marscapone is a very satisfying combination. Yes, my blueberries are frozen. I thaw them out so that they are still just a tad cold and firm before putting them into the cake. This prevents them from letting the juice out all over the place.

      1. I almost bought some mascarpone today but decided I needed to finish up our banana cake before doing any more baking. I don’t suppose you have to worry about cakes being eaten up!

  8. Your Shrove Tuesday tradition sounds lovely, what a shame about the lack of snow this year! And, I love the idea of Hot Chocolate Sundays!

  9. Laila, how beautiful is that sponge cake! And you’re clever to institute hot chocolate Sundays – I can see that it would be hard to keep an eye on all six kids as they make their own drinks! 🙂 The ones you make must be amazing though (they certainly look it) for everyone to be content with just the one drink a week! 🙂

  10. Hot Chocolate Sundays! That sounds like a beautiful ritual, and home-made marshmallows would elevate a mug of hot choc to something amazing. I may need to steal that idea, as my whole family also overdose on hot chocolate in Winter. I make creamy, fluffy milk for ours using a French Press coffee jug. Soooo lovely.
    Oh my goodness, your laskiaispulla look amazing. Can’t imagine a a more fitting marriage than almond paste and fresh cream. The blueberries tumbling out of your sponge cake are gorgeous! Suddenly craving something sweet this morning…

    1. Yes! I hope you have a chance to try out Hot Chocolate Sundays…really I think I enjoy them as much as the kids, since gourmet hot chocolate is right up my alley! 🙂 And having them once a week is the just perfect.

  11. Wow! This is some cake. I’ve just read your comment on my blog and rushed over to see your cake. Love the berries in mascarpone and whipping cream. This is a beautiful cake and I’m sure Jamie would be proud. 🙂

    1. I’ve had good luck with Jamie’s recipes and I really do think that you would be quite successful with it, even if you claim to not own baking skills. Trust me…most of your exquisite dishes are much more complicated than this cake!

  12. Love the cake- thanks for sharing the recipe.
    That hot chocolate with your own home made marshmallows is lovely- makes me lick my lips!
    Have a wonderful March!

  13. Wow – this sponge cake looks fabulous – and that filling sounds so totally drool worthy!

  14. You’ve taken a simple sponge cake and turned it into a dream sweet…it looks so good. Wish I could send you some of our snow and we have more on the way.

    1. They were claiming that we might be getting below freezing temps next weeks and maybe even snow…but for now we are enjoying the spring weather. Looks like you have been having a classic snow-filled winter!

  15. I’m a big fan of Jamie too 😀 I’m just in love with everything he does and cooks! And you’re a hero to be a mom to six!!! Here should be ‘a storm of applause’! 🙂
    By the way, the cake looks very tasty!

  16. Lovely looking sponge cake. I sometimes crave a sweet thing too and a few home made biscuits or a yummy cake are a treat here. I have also noticed that children expect sweet things and many parents don’y seem to be able to say no. There is a simple way to control this- don’t stock the rubbish. I keep milo here for my grandchildren. Young Charlotte likes to make her own- often putting two or three teaspoons in, then not stirring it so she can eat the chocolate stuff first. I noticed when I was travelling through Java, Indonesia that middle class children are becoming very fat. It is so sad. I imagine that your children have a very good diet.

    1. Thank you Francesca. I too have noticed that when a western diet is introduced into a culture, one result is obesity. Often the original local diet is quite healthy as it uses the natural resources that are available and is not as dependent on white sugar or refined wheat. In my book moderation is key. 🙂

    1. Wouldn’t it be fun to have you over? Today the weather changed from the springy to wintery with snow and about -11 C this morning. But the sun did shine and it was beautiful. It would be quite the change from your climate! 🙂

  17. I gotta figure out how to make marshmallows. Makes me miss living on a farm where we had raw milk all the time. It sure beats this store-bought stuff that tastes like powdered milk to me. And that sponge cake . . . ah, sweetness and beauty!

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