Wednesday, March 13, 2013

More playgrounds, More Beach, More Cake: Sponge Cake with Italian Meringue

So I feel like it was just yesterday I was telling you about how I have vast experience with the San Diego playgrounds.  Because it was.

And last week I told you about how we spend every weekend at a playground or two. 

Seriously, welcome to the Tour of San Diego, as seen through the eyes of a toddler.

Saturday we headed out once again to a playground on the beach.

I have to say, I'm a little jealous.  When I grew up, we played on a swamp with alligators across the water.  Thatbaby gets to look at the ocean as he climbs and plays.  (This sounds like a really new-fangled version of "walking to school uphill, both ways.")

Lately, Thatbaby hasn't been too into slides.  But there was plenty of other things to keep him interested.

 Like those swings which he is all about.  Thatbaby has started saying "no" with a purpose this week.  It's not short and choppy, but kind of a long, drawn out whine.  "Nooooooooo"   Thatboy got to hear it every time he suggested they stop swinging and move on to something else.

But eventually Thatbaby was able to move along, when he found a group of kids he really wanted to play with.  First there was chasing them around the sandpit.  Then one of them busted out a bunch of sidewalk chalk.  And my not-so-brilliant child started the movement from the cement, onto the sand, where sidewalk chalk does not work so well.

 After we were done at the playground, we loaded Thatbaby into his stroller and headed for a walk on the beach.  A 5 mile walk along the beach.  Thatbaby didn't stay asleep for all of it.  But he did for the first half.  Which was nice for Thatboy and I.  Although I think we both might have benefited from a nap instead!

For some reason, I like to pair my playground posts with cake posts.  This is very strange, because Thatbaby doesn't even get to participate in the eating of it.  But we do!  I've been making sponge cakes for a while now, and realized I've never posted my recipe here.  I like sponge cakes because they're pretty easy to make - it's really a combination of beaten egg whites and beaten egg yolks.  And there's no butter or oil or anything like that.  The meringue frosting is unbelievably light and fluffy, which is nice with a light cake.  Very springy.

 Sponge Cake with Italian Meringue Frosting
5 eggs, separated
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt, plus a pinch
1 cup cake flour
3 egg whites
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 325.  Line two 8-inch round pans with wax paper.  Beat the egg yolks with the lemon juice until pale and thick.
  2. Slowly add 3/4 cup of sugar and beat thoroughly. 
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. 
  4. Add 1/4 tsp salt and continue beating until soft peaks form.
  5. Slowly add 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
  6. Stir a fourth of the beaten egg whites into the egg yolk mixture.
  7. Spoon the remaining whites over the yolk mixture.
  8. Sprinkle the flour on top.  Fold until blended.  Spoon into the pans and bake for 25 minutes. Invert the pans and let cool completely.
  9.  While cake is cooling, make the frosting. Combine the egg whites and a pinch of salt in a bowl and beat until the whites are stiff.
  10. Combine 1 cup sugar with 1/2 cup water in a pan and bring to a boil.  Cover for 3 minutes.  Remove the lid and continue boiling until mixture reaches 230.
  11. Pour the syrup over the beaten whites, beating the entire time.  Continue to beat until the meringue has cooled to room temperature.
  12. Beat in the vanilla.  Frost the cooled cake.


  1. Love the playground pics! I wish Hayden could experience the ocean view at the park! He's got desert and cactus views instead.

    I might just have to move to SD. For that reason alone.

  2. My daughter and I were just talking about icing and meringue icings this weekend. When she was ThatBabys age she would scrape off the icing so her preferences were set pretty early.

  3. I definitely did not play anywhere near sand as a kid! So yeah...ThatBaby is definitely super lucky. :) And I am now craving layer cake again...even though I'll be having it every weekend for the next five weeks straight...but who's counting :P