Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chocolate Cake for Passover or Anytime.

Normally, in the 24 years since I met Neil and have made Passover Seders I have tried to avoid any cakes that has matzoh cake meal in it, as it seem like a recipe for leaden cake. 

This year I finally gave in after looking and looking for a dessert to make. I was going to try and re-work one of my all time favorite recipes, Lenzer Torte: a rich chocolate walnut cake baked on top of a layer of sour cherries.  I found a bunch of sour cherries in the kosher for passover store and bought them.  Then when I opened the can I saw that the cherries where soft and mushy and would just melt away if I baked them, also the recipe had too much flour in it I was scared it wouldn't work if I replaced it with matzoh cake meal. 

I decided to try and make a chocolate walnut torte and serve the sour cherries in a simple sauce on the side along with the usual dollop of unsweetened whip cream.

It was with great surprise and joy that this recipe worked out so well, as a matter of fact I think this recipe is so successful that you really would never know it was made with matzoh cake meal.  Of course the cake can be made all year round with cake flour, so this is not only a kick ass passover cake it is a great year round chocolate cake!

This is a boozy chocolate cake, I was happy to find kosher for passover brandy that was cheap and perfect for cooking, but if you are making it say for Christmas or a birthday feel free to use Bourbon, scotch, rum or cognac!
Chocolate Walnut Torte
Preheat the oven to 325 F.

Generously butter a 10" spring form pan, line the bottom with parhcment and butter the parchment.
Place a saucepan half filled with water over a medium heat, place bowl over it and add 14 ounces of bittersweet chocolate chopped.  Stirring occasionally until the chocolate has just melted.  Turn the heat off and add 2 sticks of unsalted butter, a couple of tablespoons at a time stirring until each addition has been incorporated. When all the butter has been incorporated into the chocolate add 1/4 cup water and mix.  Remove bowl from the hot water and place aside.

Toast 1 1/4 cups of walnuts until lightly brown and aromatic.  When cool chop finely - I use a food processor.  Add the finely chopped walnuts to a medium sized bowl and mix in 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons of Matzoh Cake Meal (or cake flour) and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
Separate 6 large Organic Eggs.

In the bowl of a standing mixer beat the egg yolks until the become more yellow and start to increase in volume (about 2 minutes) then gradually add 1 cup cane sugar and 1/3 cup of brown sugar.  
Turn off the mixer and with a spatula fold in the chocolate mixture.

Starting and ending with the nut/flour mixture fold into the chocolate batter alternating with 1/2 cup of brandy (or booze of your choice).

Place the eggs whites in a mixing bowl (I like to add a pinch of cream of tartar but didn't as I was unsure if it was Kosher for Passover) and beat until soft peaks for.

Fold into the batter in 2 parts. 
Pour into the prepared pan and tap a few times to remove any air bubbles, place in the middle of a preheated oven and cook 40-50 minutes, when a tester comes out clean it is done.

Cool on a wrack until room temperature then refrigerate, preferably over night.

Remove from pan, turn upside down and peel off the parchment and place on serving dish.

In a small sauce pan bring to a boil 1/2 cup of heavy cream, the minute it start so boil take off the heat and pour over 4 ounces of chopped bitter sweet chocolate, stir until the chocolate is completely melted and incorporated into the cream, add a splash of brandy (if you want, vanilla works too).

Spread the ganache over just the top of the cake.  If it is raspberry season they look lovely placed in concentric circles on top of the ganache.

I made a very simple impromptu cherry sauce, I drained the cherries and heated the juice in a saucepan with about 1/3 cup of sugar, in a small bowl I whisked about 1 Tablespoon of potato starch (organic cornstarch works year round) with about 2 Tablespoons of water after the juice mixture comes to a boil I turned the heat down and slowly add the starch and water mixture and stirred until it thickened, then added the reserved cherries, adding more sugar to taste and 1/2 teaspoon of 5 Spice powder or Cinnamon.

I cut small slices of this rich cake and served the whipped cream and cherry sauce on the side so my guests could add as they liked.

1 comment:

Kurt Brown said...


(Ever notice that it's the desserts that seem to drag the comments out of me? I did.)

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