Along the Grapevine

Sponge Cakes with Crabapple and Sea-buckthorn Jelly


Someone who knew I wouldn’t let them go to waste gave me a few crabapples from her garden – small yellow ones about the size of cherries. There are so many ways I could have used them, but given the rich flavour and high pectin content of these mini fruits, I decided to make another jelly with them. Crabapple jelly is not worth writing about in itself, and it combines so well with other fruits and berries, I knew I could come up with an original recipe. I had been wanting to make sea-buckthorn jam or jelly too, and by using little crabapples I could do this without having to add any commercial pectin – or even make my own. If you are unfamiliar with this particular berry, please refer to this post. I also wanted to make a jelly with honey, since my Japanese quince honey paste was so successful.

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For Angie’s Fiesta Friday #39, I wanted to showcase this gorgeous jelly in a way that would get her guests’ attention, but with a recipe that would fit into our household’s diet. We don’t consume much cake, but if it is something I can put part of in the freezer for an emergency, it takes away the guilt of either over-eating or over-wasting. So I decided to make a very plain Victorian sponge and jazz it up by filling it with my jelly. No rich icing, no butter or oil, just a light fluffy casing for the best jelly ever!

To make the jelly, I used 2 parts by volume of crabapples and 1 part sea-buckthorn. If you are curious as to what sea-buckthorn is, refer to this post.


No need to peel, core or even remove the stems from the apples. I simmered the apples keeping them well covered with water at all times. Once they were really soft, I added the berries and simmered just a couple of minutes longer. Other berries could be used with this same method.

I strained the mixture through a clean tea towel and let sit overnight. Do not press any of the pulp through. I measured the liquid and added an equal amount of honey. At this point, you should taste it for sweetness, and the amount of honey you need will vary depending on the sweetness of the fruit and berries. Don’t get carried away though, because too much sweetening tends to detract from the taste of the main ingredients.

Allow the mixture to simmer until it is jelled. To check, I put a small amount in a chilled saucer (or in my case egg cup) and let it sit a couple of minutes. When it has reached the right consistency, set to cool.

Instead of a murky orange mixture which I was expecting, it turned out deep red and very clear. You can taste all three ingredients, and they meld very well together. It has a stronger flavour than most fruit jellies I have tried, but no hint of bitterness at all.

You can use any sponge cake recipe, but I used gluten-free cornflour. To make this cake, you will need 3 whole eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, 3/4 cup of cornflour, 1 tsp of baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt. I also added a couple of cardamom seeds (optional), which I ground with the sugar for a super fine consistency.

Beat the eggs a lot, until they are really fluffy. Add the ground sugar gradually while still beating, making sure the sugar dissolves after each addition. Sift and fold in the dry ingredients. Fill 12 Β individual cake liners about three quarters full. Β Drop a spoonful of jelly on top of each cake. The jelly will sink, so no need to cover them. Bake at 350 F for half an hour until crisp and golden on top.

Dust with a little icing sugar if you like just to make them a little prettier. If you want an entire cake, you could bake it in a cake tin, slice in two when cool and spread the jelly in the middle in a sandwich form. This would be a better way to preserve the integrity of the jelly, which when baked got partially absorbed into the spongy batter.




Author: Hilda

I am a backyard forager who likes to share recipes using the wild edibles of our area.

28 thoughts on “Sponge Cakes with Crabapple and Sea-buckthorn Jelly

  1. Wow what a great post. The cakes look so perfect and a great complement to the jelly. I had no idea what sea buckthorn was, but I did have a crab apple tree in my yard growing up. We never did anything with them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely post, Hilda! Such pretty cupcakes. Happy FF and have a wonderful weekend. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. wow! what a great post! have a beautiful weekend!


  4. You are super awesome Hilda :). I am super amazed the way you use wild berries etc in your kitchen. These cakes look super good :).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. oooooer sounds amazing. I have crabapples in my garden, they havn’t done anyting this year yet though x Never heard of sea buckthorne though?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Okay now I’m starting to see the usefulness of jelly. I bought some crab apples about two weeks ago and thought, what the (blank) am I doing with these things, the edible fruit to labor ratio just isn’t right!!! Like my conversation with myself about elderberries . . . but now I see that jelly is the way to go with fruits like this. So interesting that the jelly got absorbed . . . would love to see some thumbprint scones or cookies or something with that lovely red colored jelly πŸ™‚ just saying. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow, this looks amazing Hilda – crab apples – and so much you’ve done with it. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow, I’m always so amazed by the yummy creations you make from all the wild edibles. These look amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Fiesta Friday Birthday Edition (FF39) | The Novice Gardener

  10. Your Sponge Cakes Looks perfect, Hilda πŸ™‚ Fluffy and light!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Little cakes are perfect for some good jelly. I remember your post on fruit leather where you described sea buckthorn. It is cold here in Michigan so it must be grown here too – I am just not familiar with it. I will have to look for it… πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope you find it somewhere. It is so pretty, and the berries are definitely worth trying. My plants have just had babies, so hope to transplant them next spring and expand my little patch.


  12. Looks delicious. where’s smell-o-vision, when you need it!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hilda, What a creative recipe!! And must be very good for you, too! Killer pictures, too! Happy FF!


  14. The jelly sounds wonderful and really love your method. The little cakes look light and moist and not too sweet. Really delicious and thank you for bringing to the party.


  15. I’m so impressed with you Hilda. I always love to read your posts… You just come up with the neatest recipes, with the neatest ingredients. The cupcakes are so beautiful…and sound so delicious with the jelly. Lovely post.. ❀


  16. Your cupcakes look and sound so lovely, Hilda! I truly believe that there is not a single one of your posts that have not taught me something new! πŸ™‚


  17. I love crab apples but couldn’t quite get along with sea buckthorns and it looks interesting to mix them both! The cupcakes look so edible I just want to reach out and taste one!


  18. These look fantastic. The crabapple jelly alone is impressive (and with no pectin to boot). I doubt I can get crabapples down here (but I sure remember them in Ontario), so what kind of jelly could I make for these instead? I really want to try dropping jelly into the cakes. What a nice surprise for the eater. Thanks for another great post!


  19. Thanks. You can make a good jelly with apples too, preferably wild ones which are not treated with anything – they also contain a lot of pectin.


  20. Those cakes look so cute and great use of crabapples πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚


  21. Nice Blog, thanks for sharing this kind of information.


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