Apricot and Rum Pastry Cream Soft Cake is a local treat from Ålesund, Norway, known as Skilpaddekake or Turtle Cake. It is a cake that melts in your mouth, it’s so creamy and soft, with a subtle fresh flavor of apricot, perfumed and woody taste of aromatic vanilla, rum and a soft cake with a thin layer of sweet frosting. And traditionally topped with a cute jelly candy!
I just couldn’t tell you how excited I am about this one. This is a highly local cake, only a few bakeries here in tiny Ålesund make it. But it is popular. The secret really lies in the apricot, my friends, it makes the cake more fresh, more moist, more yummy. Ahh, can you tell how excited I am.
How to Make the Soft Cake
This is super easy!
Start by lining baking sheets with parchment paper and pre-heat oven to 400F (200C). Then, we need to whip eggs and sugar into a really pale, thick and fluffy consistency (eggedosis). Whip it for around 10 minutes, or no less than 7 minutes (1). Carefully sift and fold in the dry ingredients; potato flour, flour, baking powder and salt (2).
Pour this batter into a piping bag (3-4). Form 4 inches (10cm) circles on the parchment lined baking sheets (5). You will get about 22 circles, or you can make 12 mega large ones! Bake for 10 minutes and cool on a wire rack.
Rum Pastry Cream
Vanilla pastry cream is my favorite way of eating cream. Regular whipped heavy cream has neverrr been my jam, but vanilla pastry cream or vanilla custard are completely different stories. Vanilla pastry cream is used in my Lemon Ricotta Cake with Dreamy Creamy Vanilla Pastry Cream and vanilla custard in these Vanilla Custard and Coconut Sweet Buns.
The vanilla pastry has another dimension to it by adding rum essence. You need a lot of rum cream in it, because that’s a huge part of the cake. It is not supposed to be just a thin layer of filling as in a cake. This is the cake. I am not a huuuge frosting and filling kind of girl, it needs to balance nicely. So just bear in mind that – put more on than you think you want.
No, it’s not regular rum
Yes, it’s rum, but just the flavor of rum, it’s rum essence (rum extract works too, but double the amount). It’s different from just pouring rum into a cake – do not do that, because you will need a lot more just to get the right flavor, and then the rest will not be proportionate.
If you can’t find rum essence or rum extract, just don’t add anything in. It will be a tasty traditional vanilla custard, but it will lack that luxurious flavor and feeling of rum.
How to make it
Pour the milk, 1/3 of the heavy cream and 1/2 of the sugar into a saucepan. Cut open and scrape out the seeds of the vanilla beans. Place everything into the saucepan. Heat up to the point of boiling, while constantly stirring. Set aside to cool a little.
In another bowl, whisk together 1/3 of the heavy cream, egg yolks, cornstarch and the rest of the sugar. Slowly pour the milk mixture into the eggs while constantly whisking.
Pour this mixture back into the saucepan, make sure you bring with you the vanilla seeds. Heat the mixture back up, until it is thickening, about 5-7 minutes. Remember to stir all the time.
To avoid cooking the eggs, cool the custard quickly in a tub of cold water. Add in the rum essence and give it a taste. You want it to taste a little stronger than you would like because we will fold in whipped cream later.
Take the last 1/3 of the heavy cream and whip it. Once the rum custard is cold, fold in the whipped cream. Keep in mind that doing so the custard will become more runny. The traditional rum pastry cream soft cake has the two creams as one, but you can separate the two to make it firmer. When you assemble, just use two piping bags instead of one.
Assemble the Rum Pastry Soft Cake
To assemble, first find 2 cakes that are similar in shape and size (6). Turn one upside down, so the bottom is facing up. Spread apricot jam on it (7), then a super generous amount of rum pastry cream (8). If you separated the whipped cream and the rum custard, then add them in two separate layers.
Mix powdered sugar with water to make a simple icing. Decorate the other cake with the icing and then decorations while it’s still wet (9). Top the rum pastry cream bottom with the icing cake top.
This turtle cake was traditionally served with jelly candy on top, it was always some kind of highlight. I served with rose petals because it’s pretty, but also the traditional way – because of the jelly candy. We wouldn’t want to miss it. So here you’ll see two different kinds of decorations. You can decorate it however you like, but I recommend at least trying one with a jelly candy.
The turtle cake is supposed to be very soft, so the first day the cake is not at its best (by far). The cake is a little crispy and hard, but the second day – ooooh man! Soft, creamy, indulgent. Please enjoy!
Did you like this Rum Pastry Cream Soft Cake? Here’s more party cakes:
- Tiramisu Cake with White Chocolate Mousse
- Chocolate Orange Layer Cake with Buttercream Frosting
- Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes with Irish Baileys Frosting
- Black Forest Cake with Chocolate Buttercream
- Lemon Ricotta Cake with Vanilla Pastry Cream
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This recipe was originally published on May 8th 2018, but updated on June 1st 2020 for better photos and content.
Apricot and Rum Pastry Cream Soft Cake (Skilpaddekake)
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/4 cups sugar 250g
- 1 1/4 cups potato flour 200g, cornstarch can be used*
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour 175g
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
Rum Pastry Cream
- 3/4 cup sugar 150g. Divided!
- 1 1/2 cups milk 360ml.
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream 360ml. Divided!
- 1 vanilla bean
- 5 egg yolks
- 5 tbsp cornstarch
- rum essence/extract to taste. I had a teaspoon of essence
- 11 tsp apricot jam
- 2 cups powdered sugar 220g + water to desired consistency, about 6-7 tbsp
- jelly candy/rose petals for decoration, optional
- Whisk eggs and sugar until it's white and airy (eggedosis). Around 10 minutes, not less than 7. Sift in the rest of the ingredients. Fold it in until you get a lump free batter.
- Add parchment paper to a baking tray. Preferably use a piping bag (or a spoon) and distribute a thin layer of cake batter. Form a circle of about 4in (10 cm) in diameter. You'll get around 22 circles of batter, 2 for each cake.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven of 400F (200C) for 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. They will be crispy with soft centers, pale and with a little brown edges. They will soften once filled and chilled overnight.
Rum Pastry Cream
- Pour the milk, 1/3 of the heavy cream and 1/2 of the sugar into a saucepan. Cut open and scrape out the seeds of the vanilla beans. Place everything into the saucepan. Heat up to the point of boiling, constantly stirring.
- In another bowl, whisk together 1/3 of the heavy cream, egg yolks, cornstarch and the rest of the sugar.
- Cool the milk mixture a little bit before slowly pouring it into the egg mixture while constantly whisking.
- Pour this mixture back into the saucepan, make sure you bring with you the vanilla seeds. Heat the mixture back up, whisk constantly until it is thickening to a pudding-like consistency. Once you see a few bubbles pop, remove from the heat.
- Place the saucepan into a tub of cold water. Add in the rum essence and give it a taste. You want it to taste a little stronger than you would like (see next step).
- Take the last 1/3 of the heavy cream and whip it. Once the rum custard is cold, fold in the whipped cream.**
- Once the cakes are cold, take two cakes that are similar in shape and place them together. Turn one the other way around (so the bottom is showing) and spread 1 heaping tsp of apricot jam on it. Do this on half of the cakes.
- Take the rum cream into a piping bag and spread rum cream over the apricot jam, generously. Do this on half of the cakes. If you separated the whipped cream and the rum custard, you need to pipe two separate layers of cream onto the cakes.
- Mix powdered sugar with a little bit of water to make a glazing. Take the other half of the cakes and spread this glazing thinly over. Decorate while still wet. I decorate with either dried flowers or jelly candy.
- Assemble today and serve tomorrow, as the cakes need time to soften. Keep covered in the fridge for 2-3 days.