Rosemary Sponge Cake with Apricot Compote and White Chocolate Buttercream

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This light and classic Rosemary Sponge Cake is layered with rosemary infused apricot compote and white chocolate buttercream frosting. Dehydrated lemons and rosemary make decoration easy and beautiful. Jump to Recipe

Baby Shower Dinner Party

I created this Rosemary Sponge Cake for my friend’s surprise baby shower. My impression of a traditional baby shower involves an all women event. But times are a changing. As a group of friends, I would say we’re not fans of gender specific gatherings (the occasional girl’s night excluded).

This light and classic Rosemary Sponge Cake is layered with rosemary infused apricot compote and white chocolate buttercream frosting. Dehydrated lemons and rosemary make decoration easy and beautiful. | www.megiswell.com

Time is precious. Jobs and our own families take precedence so why make it hard to see everyone by excluding good friends based on gender?

When I started planning the dinner, of course, I thought of a dessert first. Flourishing Foodie’s Carrot Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing was still fresh in my mind. Its beauty came from simple white frosting and nature.

This light and classic Rosemary Sponge Cake is layered with rosemary infused apricot compote and white chocolate buttercream frosting. Dehydrated lemons and rosemary make decoration easy and beautiful. | www.megiswell.com

The hot as hell temperature made me crave a very light cake, so I chose to do a classic sponge. Apricots, rosemary, and lemons all came together based on wanting sweet, slightly tart, and fresh all in one package.

Rosemary Sponge Cake

This light and classic Rosemary Sponge Cake is layered with rosemary infused apricot compote and white chocolate buttercream frosting. Dehydrated lemons and rosemary make decoration easy and beautiful. | www.megiswell.com

This is a straightforward and simple cake but it can also be difficult. The rise from sponge cakes comes from the air whipped into the eggs. No baking soda or baking powder here.

That means how you beat the eggs and folding are extremely important. I’ve found as long as you beat eggs on medium speed, there’s no risk of under or over beating. Folding, however, is more art than science and I still hold my breath every cake I make.

I tried following, to the best of my ability, the baker’s percentage for a sponge cake, which is:

  • Flour 100%
  • Eggs 225%
  • Fat 0
  • Sugar 155%

This light and classic Rosemary Sponge Cake is layered with rosemary infused apricot compote and white chocolate buttercream frosting. Dehydrated lemons and rosemary make decoration easy and beautiful. | www.megiswell.com

Eggs ended up making everything a little more difficult. My eggs were really small. They were still considered medium (53 to 63 grams) but just barely.

The second cake I made, the eggs were bigger so it was 7 + 1 egg white to make the weight equal. If you don’t have a scale, don’t worry. I didn’t notice the difference so I’d say you’re safe with 7 or 8 medium sized eggs.

Rosemary Simple Syrup

Brushing the sponge cakes with rosemary simple syrup helps infuse the flavor into every aspect of the cake and keeps the crumb moist.

Apricot Compote

A combination of fresh apricots, turbinado sugar, rosemary strands, limoncello and sea salt creates a sweet and tart compote. There is also a hint of caramel flavor from the raw sugar.

White Chocolate Buttercream

Because of the heat, I didn’t want to use American buttercream. I was afraid it would melt off the cake. Instead, I did a flour buttercream, which is one that gets lost in the shuffle of German, Swiss, Italian, and French.

This light and classic Rosemary Sponge Cake is layered with rosemary infused apricot compote and white chocolate buttercream frosting. Dehydrated lemons and rosemary make decoration easy and beautiful. | www.megiswell.com

I still have a couple of recipes written on sticky notes that I scribbled out while listening to my Nana or Grandma over the phone. One of them is for a Waldorf Astoria Cake (aka red velvet) and it used an interesting ermine or boiled-milk frosting (also known as flour buttercream).

I liked it because it wasn’t as sickeningly sweet as buttercreams made with powdered sugar and it was more subtle than cream cheese frosting.

But then I forgot about it again, only rediscovering it after trying to figure out a safe frosting to use for pregnant women that could also withstand hot temps. Flour buttercream is eggless, reducing the risk of improperly cooking the eggs. It’s also stronger because there is less sugar and some flour for structure.

This light and classic Rosemary Sponge Cake is layered with rosemary infused apricot compote and white chocolate buttercream frosting. Dehydrated lemons and rosemary make decoration easy and beautiful. | www.megiswell.com

Frosting Tips

  • The pudding (flour, milk, sugar, and rosemary) is cooked on low heat and takes a while to come to boil. But once it starts, that pudding will thicken up real quick so don’t take your attention off it. You don’t want it to get clumpy. It shouldn’t drip from a spoon but start stretching down in a long elastic band.
  • Straining it as soon as it’s done removes clumps and the rosemary and prevents it from over cooking.
  • Covering it with plastic wrap stops the top surface from getting clumpy and cracked.
  • Let it cool to room temperature-you don’t want it to melt the butter.
  • Melt the white chocolate until it’s smooth and then let it cool to room temperature before beating it into the butter. You absolutely don’t want to melt the butter even a little.

Dehydrating Lemons

I used a mandolin to cut lemons into 1/16-inch slices and laid them out on my dehydrator trays. Leave space between each lemon slice to ensure they aren’t overcrowded.

This light and classic Rosemary Sponge Cake is layered with rosemary infused apricot compote and white chocolate buttercream frosting. Dehydrated lemons and rosemary make decoration easy and beautiful. | www.megiswell.com

I did mine on high for 2 hours or so and then let them go overnight on low. There’s no exact science. Just check on the lemons occasionally. They are done when they are no longer moist but have a slightly tacky feel.

Zero Energy

And now after completing this beast of a post, I’m going to go collapse in exhaustion. I’ve been extremely low on energy lately and am trying to figure out what’s going on. Making a cake right now is the definition of labor for me, so I’ll just be dreaming of cake for a while. Like this Cayenne Chocolate Cake with Goat Cheese Buttercream, Roasted Cherries, and Coffee Ice Cream:

This Cayenne Chocolate Cake is an extravagant combination of moist homemade cake spiked with cayenne pepper and cinnamon and layered with roasted cherries and goat cheese buttercream. It’s topped with an easy no churn Coffee Ice Cream, melding the flavors together in a trio of awesomeness inspired by Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream. | www.megiswell.com

This light and classic Rosemary Sponge Cake is layered with rosemary infused apricot compote and white chocolate buttercream frosting. Dehydrated lemons and rosemary make decoration easy and beautiful. | www.megiswell.com

5 from 1 vote

Rosemary Sponge Cake with Apricot Compote and White Chocolate Buttercream

This light and classic Rosemary Sponge Cake is layered with rosemary infused apricot compote and white chocolate buttercream frosting. Dehydrated lemons and rosemary make decoration easy and beautiful.
Servings 15
Prep Time 1 hr 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 50 mins

Ingredients

Rosemary Sponge Cake

  • 217 grams granulated sugar 1 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 140 grams fine pastry or cake flour, measured and then sifted twice 1 cup fine pastry or cake flour
  • 335 grams eggs*, at room temperature 7 to 8 medium sized eggs

Rosemary Simple Syrup

  • 2 rosemary strands
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water

Apricot Compote

  • 406 grams apricots, cut in half and pits removed about 1 pound apricots, a little less
  • 1/2 cup turbinado (raw) sugar
  • 2 rosemary strands
  • 1 ounce limoncello
  • sea salt or Himalayan salt, to taste

White Chocolate Buttercream

  • 4 and 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 rosemary strands
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
  • 12 ounces white chocolate melting wafers
  • sea salt, to taste

Cake Assembly

  • dehydrated lemon slices*
  • rosemary strands

Instructions

Rosemary Sponge Cake

  • Place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the bottoms of two 9 inch cake pans with parchment paper. 
  • Add the egg whites to a large stainless steel or glass bowl with half of the sugar. Beat on medium speed until stiff peaks form. 
  • Add the egg yolks to a stainless steel or glass bowl. Add the rest of the sugar and beat until double in volume. 
  • Fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites. 
  • Sift 1/4 cup of the flour over the top of the egg mixture and gently fold with a large rubber spatula until there are just a few streaks of flour remaining. Repeat with the remaining flour a 1/4 cup at a time. 
  • Pour into the prepared pans and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes in their pans and then transfer them to cooling racks. 
  • Let them cool completely before frosting them. Or before wrapping them up tight in plastic wrap and foil for storing in the freezer or fridge. The night before frosting, take the cake layers out of the freezer and let them thaw out in the fridge overnight (still wrapped up). Then take them out of the fridge (still wrapped up tight) and let them come to room temperature before frosting. 

Rosemary Simple Syrup

  • Dissolve the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until clear. Add the rosemary strands and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the syrup into an air tight container and bring to room temperature before covering and storing in the fridge. 

Apricot Compote

  • Add the pitted apricots, turbinado sugar, and rosemary to a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Simmer for 20 minutes, using a wooden spoon to mash the apricots, breaking them apart. 
  • Take the rosemary out. Add the limoncello and salt. Use an immersion blender to puree the apricots until fairly smooth. 
  • Simmer on medium heat for 10 to 15 more minutes until the apricot compote has darkened slightly and thickened up a little.  
  • Cool completely and store in an air tight container for later use. You should have about 2 to 2.5 cups.  

White Chocolate Buttercream

  • Melt the white chocolate in a glass bowl in 20-second intervals in the microwave. Set aside to cool. 
  • In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine the flour, sugar, and milk, stirring constantly. Once the sugar and flour are dissolved, add the rosemary and continue stirring. It will take a while to start to boil cooking on low but once it starts, the pudding will thicken up really quick. Cook for one minute after the mixture has started to boil, stirring continually.  
  • Take the pudding off the heat and pour it into a fine-mesh sieve over a shallow plate, straining out all the rosemary. Press plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding’s surface and let it cool to room temperature. 
  • In a mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Pour in the cooled melted white chocolate and beat until the butter is fluffy. 
  • Add the cooled pudding a tablespoon at a time, mixing until smooth each time. 

Cake Assembly

  • If you made the cakes the night before, take them out of the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature. Or wait until the cakes have cooled completely. Place one cake on a portable flat surface like a cardboard cake round, the bottom side of a plate, or anything else you have on hand. I used a round wooden surface. 
  • Place that on top of a cake turntable or use your microwave plate and wheel to make a turntable (just take the wheel off, place it on the counter, and then put the microwave plate back on top of it). If you feel it’s necessary, you can even out your cakes before moving on. 
  • Use a pastry brush to coat the top of the cake with the rosemary simple syrup. 
  • Put some frosting in a pastry bag with a round tip (I used 2A). Pipe a protective border around the edge of the cake. 
  • Spread the apricot compote onto the cake, making sure it doesn’t get higher than the frosting border you piped. 
  • Place the second cake layer on top, lining it up carefully. Repeat steps 3-5 until you have all your layers done. 
  • Place 1 cup of frosting on top of the cake and start spreading it out in a thin layer, using a pastry scraper and the turntable to spread the frosting around. It’s okay if crumbs get loose and it’s messy-it’s the crumb coat. You should be able to see the cake peeking through the frosting. Use more frosting if necessary. 
  • Put the cake in the fridge for 30 minutes to allow the crumb coat to set. 
  • Take the cake out again, place it on the turntable and add big dollops of frosting all around. Take a pastry scraper, hold it vertically and at a slight angle to the cake, and start turning the cake around. Keep going until excess frosting no longer coats the scraper and the cake is smooth. 
  • Garnish with dehydrated lemon slices* and strands of rosemary.  
  • Store the cake covered at room temperature or in the fridge for 3 to 5 days.  

Notes

The cake recipe makes two 9-inch cake layers and there is enough frosting to frost a 2-layer cake. Double the frosting recipe if you decide to make a 4-layer cake like the one pictured. There will be leftover frosting but I don’t think a single batch of frosting would be enough to frost the whole cake sufficiently.
Eggs
When baking by weight, eggs can be a little difficult but you should be fine with 7 to 8 medium eggs (which can weigh anywhere from 53 to 63 grams).
Dehydrating Lemons
I used a mandolin to cut lemons into 1/16-inch slices and laid them out on my dehydrator trays. Leave space between each lemon slice to ensure they aren’t overcrowded.
I did mine on high for 2 hours or so and then let them go overnight on low. There’s no exact science. Just check on the lemons occasionally. They are done when they are no longer moist but have a slightly tacky feel. You can also use an oven preheated to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. 
Author: Megan Wells
Course: Desserts

This light and classic Rosemary Sponge Cake is layered with rosemary infused apricot compote and white chocolate buttercream frosting. Dehydrated lemons and rosemary make decoration easy and beautiful. | www.megiswell.com</div/

Join the Conversation

  1. 5 stars
    This looks incredible and your photography is amazing. Very inspiring.

    1. Thanks so much, Anna ❤️!!!

  2. Absolutely one of THE MOST beautiful cakes I’ve EVER seen! I’ve been baking for many many years and am blown away by this. Will be trying soon. Thanks for the lovely inspiration.

    1. Thanks so much Barbara! That’s such a lovely compliment. I hope you enjoy it!

  3. Such a stunning cake Meg!! I’m in love with the dehydrated lemons, and the flavour reminds me of a apricot-rosemary compote I saw put on porridge recently – such a lovely idea , and with white chocolate buttercream?! So want to try it this summer when we get stonefruit again!

    1. Thanks, Claudia! I saw a lot of apricot and herb combos that looked so good throughout the summer and I got the inspiration from a lemonade recipe I saw.

  4. 5 stars
    This cake is BEAUTIFUL!!! All my rosemary died over the weekend (sob), but I’m gonna run out and get some more as soon as I can find some! I really love this!

    1. Thank you! And I used the last of my rosemary for this. They have now been completely overtaken by the tomato plants, which might end up swallowing the entire backyard, haha.

  5. this sounds incredible!! the rosemary sounds like it’d balance out the sweet apricots and white chocolate so nicely (: hopefully your run down feeling isn’t too bad, but i don’t blame you, since this cake looks like a major undertaking (but a completely worthwhile one at that!).

    1. Thank you, Heather! The rosemary goes so well with the apricot and especially well with the white chocolate! And I’m feeling much better now, I’m slowly getting my energy back to something manageable.

  6. love the use of the sponge cake for the bridal shower! did you hand-make those? if not, I’d LOVE to know where you got them from. Thanks for sharing – this recipe is gorgeous in every way!

    1. Right? I thought it was the perfect cake for a shower, even though I haven’t been to that many. And the clothesline is hand made. The cake pop sticks, small clothespins, and string are all from Michaels and my mom stepped up and offered to draw, color, and cut out the baby clothes (I didn’t leave enough time to do it myself-it was a last minute idea I had).

  7. I loove every component that is in this cake! I’d be depleted too after making this so you’re exhaustion is totally acceptable 🙂 This is just so pretty! It is a masterpiece!

    1. Haha, thank you! Glad to know I’m not the only one who is completely depleted after making a cake.

  8. That cake is so so so gorgeous! The flavor is my fav but the overall finish is so pretty. Love it.

    1. Thanks so much Kankana!

  9. 5 stars
    This is seriously so beautiful that I can’t stop staring at it! It has a vintage rustic charm that I just LOVE. I’ve never made a flour buttercream before — I’ve seen them but the whole flour part weirds me out. You’ve inspired me to try one!

    1. Thank you so much, Olivia! Haha, when I first tried a flour frosting I called my grandma and asked if I had written down the ingredients and instructions wrong. That’s how weird I thought it was. But I got over it quick because I really love the texture and taste so much.

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