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Who wants to know the recipe for the White House's apricot sponge roll cake for Passover ?

by Rhonda Spivak, April 4, 2012


It's not that often that I write a recipe column. As a matter of fact, I think that the last one I wrote was before the common era.

And the truth is that I haven't even tried the recipe I am about to recommend. I am recommending it only by association, nothing more. For all I know Pam and Barbara Reiss from Desserts Plus in Winnipeg might have tried it and decided that it is a lemon (as opposed to an Etrog--whoops wrong holiday). But if the Reiss's haven't tried this recipe, I hope they do. I just love the idea that the Reiss's will be able to use the Winnipeg Jewish Review as a recipe source.

I'm going to give you below the recipe for an apricot sponge roll cake for Passover that the White House pastry chef Bill Yosses is going to serve for President Obamas’ Passover Seder.

Now the way I see it, if the recipe is good, Obama may well keep enough of the Jewish vote to get himself elected again. (My bet is that if Yosses got the recipe from Netanyahu, an ingredient has been left out.) If the recipe is a dud, it could be too close to call. That's why as soon as I am done with this column I'm going to call Mr and Mrs. Mitt Romney and see what kind of Passover cake they're  making.  What I do know is that Ann Lois Romney (née Davies) was born on April 16, 1949--which means that her birthday will fall on Passover this year. It's a good thing she's not Jewish because her birthday cake would have to be  pessedic.I have no idea what Newt Gingrich and his wife #3 (I can't keep all their names straight) will be baking for Passover this year, but I wonder if Mrs. Sheldon Adelson might have passed one of her recipes to them.

Anyways, the ingredients for the  White House apricot sponge roll consist of things you likely will have in your pantry.


12 oz dried apricots

2 cups hot water

Juice of one orange

6 egg whites

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup apricot juice

¼ tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp cardamom

½ cup Matzo cake meal

¼ cup potato starch

1/8 tsp salt

¾ cup ground hazelnuts roasted lightly

Powdered sugar, for sprinkling

If you want to know what you are supposed to do with all of these ingredients, the last person you should ask is me ! Instead you should click on this link from Ha'aretz, where I read about the recipe in the first place, which gives all the instructions. 

If you are more of a Hillary Clinton fan, you may want to Hillary's chocolate chip cookie recipe. You have two options. Since the recipe calls for flour, you can replace it with matza meal and add in a few extra eggs to the recipe and take your chances----or, if you are less adventurous, you can wait a few weeks and then try the recipe just in time for Shavout.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Brush baking sheets lightly with vegetable oil.
  2. Combine flour, salt and baking soda on waxed paper.
  3. Beat together shortening, sugars and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and beat until light and fluffy.
  4. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in rolled oats and then chocolate chips.
  5. Drop batter by rounded teaspoonsfuls onto baking sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes or till golden. Cool cookies on sheets for 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely



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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.