Mary’s Cake

After Mass on Fourth of July weekend, our women’s club hosted a wonderful “Hospitality Sunday.” There was plenty of coffee, tea and juices to accompany the vast variety of home-baked goods lovingly prepared by our talented members.

Hospitality, however, is not simply the pouring of a glass of juice or serving a slice of pastry. Hospitality is the act of welcoming guests, those we know and those whom we are meeting for the first time. It is showing kindness and sharing a meal, be it a small bite or an elaborate feast. We had many out-of-town visitors that were here for Mass and the holiday festivities. They expressed their gratitude for the warm welcome, the friendly gathering, and the delicious refreshments, and look forward to returning to our little slice of heaven in the Sierras.

The recipe I am featuring today, is not my own, rather it is from one of our beautiful women’s club members, Mary. She is an amazing cook and baker! Growing up in San Francisco, Mary learned from her Italian neighbors and friends all things Italian. Even though she is not Italian, when you taste her food, you’d swear she was! I love her biscotti, her cakes and I’m waiting for her marinara sauce recipe (hint, hint).

As with many Italian cakes, they are often considered breakfast cakes. Breakfast cakes typically are in a ring shape, have no icing, less sugar, and will often contain a fruit of some kind in the cake.

May those you share this cake with be filled with as much love and joy that went into it from the woman who graciously gave me her recipe.

Grazie Mille, Mary!


  • 1/2-pound butter, softened
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 Pint sour cream
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 Cups flour
  • 2 Teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 Teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Cup Apricot jam
  • 1-Cup brown sugar


  1. Using a hand mixer, beat the softened butter in a large bowl, add the eggs. Blend in the sour cream, sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
  2. In another large bowl, add the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt). Whisk or stir to blend.
  3. Add the flour mixture to the batter, beat on low until combined.
  4. Spoon half of the cake batter into a greased and floured tube pan. Top with spoonfuls of the jam, spreading evenly (photo below). Add the remaining batter, spreading over the layer of jam.
  5. Sprinkle brown sugar all around the top of the cake.
  6. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven 60 minutes. Let cool.

Strawberry Tiramisu