Do you need a simple chocolate cake for Passover? Not a decadent flourless mousse-ey thing, but a chocolate birthday cake kind of cake or a chocolate snack cake kind of cake?
You have come to the right place.
I have a recipe that is so easy you could make it with your preschool age children (I did) in no time flat. No separating eggs, no melting chocolate, no creaming margarine . . . . You just whip the eggs really well, let child A dump in the sugar, continue beating until the eggs are light yellow and fluffy like lemon mousse, let child B dump in the oil, beat a second or two more, and then Child A or B dump in the bowl of cocoa powder, potato starch, and baking soda, mix a little, stir a bit with a spatula, and dump the batter in the pan and bake.
That is it. And the cake will rise miraculously in the oven and emerge with a deep, dark chocolate flavor and a velvety crumb.
And it doesn’t taste Pesadich! I gave a piece to my mom and asked her to guess what was missing. She first guessed eggs, then oil, and then a couple of other things before guessing, incredulously, “flour?!” She was flabbergasted. It really tastes like regular chocolate cake.
This recipe comes from the Spice of Life newsletter put out by The Peppermill, a gourmet cooking (classes/equipment/food) store in Brooklyn.
The newsletter editors, Peppermill owners Chayale and Rivky, report that this recipe came from a friend who is “expert in all things culinary.” They add, even more encouragingly, “Her recipes are always a success!”
Deep Dark Chocolate Cake for Passover
Adapted from the Peppermill newsletter, Spice of Life, Spring 2011
Beat eggs, add in sugar, and beat until the mixture is pale yellow and fluffy, like lemon mousse (the ribbon stage):
1 1/2 cups sugar
Add oil, and beat for a few second to quickly combine (don’t overdo this and deflate the batter too much):
1 1/2 cups oil
Combine in another bowl, dump into the egg mixture, and mix a few seconds to combine (don’t overdo, you will more completely combine with spoon or spatula):
3/4 cup cocoa
3/4 cup potato starch
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
Take your spatula and scrape around and mix a bit to incorporate stray bits of the dry ingredients from the sides and bottom of the bowl. Just a bit. Don’t overdo and deflate the batter too much.
Pour the batter into a baking pan or pans that have been greased well (and preferably lined with parchment)–the pans should be about half to two-thirds full of batter, and no more than that because the cake will rise quite a bit in the oven. The original recipe calls for one 9″x13″ pan, not lined with parchment, to be baked for 50 minutes at 350 degrees, or until toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean. I cut the recipe in half and used two 6″ pans, baking them for 35 minutes at 350 degrees. One cake came out of the greased pan without incident, but the other stuck mercilessly (it was slightly more full of batter and was perhaps a touch underdone compared to the other cake). Two lessons to be learned from this: err on the side of caution in baking to make sure the cake is properly done, and line with parchment if you want to be sure the cake can be easily turned out of the pan. If you plan on serving right from the pan, I suppose it doesn’t matter so much whether or not you use parchment as a liner.
You can serve the cake unfrosted, right from the pan, or you could try various frosting/glaze options.
If you are making the full amount of batter, you could use four 6″ foil pans and make two cakes, each frosted differently. Each will be a very small cake, but often people aren’t so into so much dessert after the seders, and small is actually good. Or you could make one 9″ layer cake from the full amount of batter.
Ideas (all the mousse cakes freeze well):
Chocolate ganache glaze
Vanilla filling (whipped cream or meringue) and chocolate glaze (Ring Ding/Ding Dong/Yodel inspired)
Mocha mousse filling/frosting decorated with coffee beans
Mocha mousse filling/frosting, with kosher for Passover Viennese Crunch mixed into the filling and sprinkled on top
Chocolate Strawberry shortcake
Black Forest Cake (using drained kosher for Passover canned cherries and vanilla whipped topping)
Chocolate Mousse filling/frosting with shaved chocolate garnish
I made a Pesadich version of Dorie Greenspan’s Devil’s Food White Out Cake, using a small amount of meringue to fill and frost one of the layers, and then used part of the other cake, crumbed as a coating. Ideally, what you would do is split each of the two layers (making four layers), and reserve one of the layers for crumbling. The remaining three layers get layered with the meringue frosting. The crumbled layer gets pressed into the top and sides of the cake.
I used Martha Stewart’s Seven Minute frosting (really a Swiss Meringue), leaving out the corn syrup. I cut down the recipe because I was frosting a single 6″ layer rather than a 8″ or 9″ double layer cake. Basically, what I did was take a single egg white and mixed it with 2 Tbl. water and 4 Tbl. sugar in a heat-proof mixing bowl. The bowl was then set over heat, getting whisked until the sugar dissolved and the mixture was hot. The hot mixture got whipped until light and fluffy, with some vanilla mixed in. This was more than enough frosting for a 6″ cake. For a larger cake, like a 9″ layer cake, you would need a larger recipe, using four egg whites, 4 Tbl. water, and 1 cup of sugar. Update: the meringue frosting doesn’t keep that well–a meringue frosting that keeps better is this Italian Meringue frosting, or this super-sweet marshmallow fluff type frosting (leave out corn syrup–see my discussion of these frostings here).
An easier option for frosting the cake would be pareve kosher for Passover whipped topping. You can flavor whipped topping by adding cocoa powder and sugar; coffee powder and sugar; or cocoa, coffee and sugar for a mocha frosting.
Here is what a cake looks like frosted with mocha whipped topping and grated chocolate:
Mocha Cream Frosting
enough for a 8″ cake
1 pint whipped topping or heavy cream
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup sugar (you might need less because the whipped topping is pre-sweetened; start with 2-4 Tbl. and add more as needed)
1-2 Tbl. coffee powder, dissolved in 1 Tbl. hot water
Mix and whip. For plain cocoa, leave out the coffee. For plain coffee, leave out the cocoa and use 2-4 tbl. of sugar instead of the amount listed above (start with no sugar, and add sugar as needed after the coffee is dissolved in).
Note: for thicker layers of mousse, use 3 cups of whipped topping and adjust rest of ingredients accordingly.
Another option is chocolate glaze. Here are four glazes that I have used successfully with other cakes:
Mocha Chocolate Ganache
Enough for an 8″ cake
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
4 ounces hot coffee
Combine, stirring until everything is smoothly melted
Julia Child’s Reine De Saba Chocolate Glaze
Enough for two single layer 8″ cakes, or a double layer 8″ cake
4 ounces semisweet chocolate
4 Tbl. coffee
10-12 Tbl. margarine
Melt together the chocolate and coffee. Take off the heat and beat in the margarine. Can use as a glaze, or can let it cool enough to spread.
Enough for a single 8″ layer cake, possible two layers, with whipped cream in the center as a filling.
6 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 ounce margarine (or oil would probably work)
Moosewood Chocolate Berry Glaze
Enough for a single layer 9″ cake
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup jam