A Passover Dessert: Flourless Chocolate Cake

Passover is next week! Who is busy cleaning, looking for hametz and menu-planning!? Everyone? I thought so! We tend to skip the typical Passover dessert. Cakes made with potato starch and matzo meal just aren’t good; we’ll wait a week for the real thing. But this is different. It’s supposed to be flourless, but it’s not one of those rich, dense flourless cakes. The whipped egg whites and cream make it light and airy. Not only is it delicious on Passover, but it’s beautiful!

Don’t be confused; this post is two recipes in one, but it’s the same cake in two shapes: a roll that I made, and a layer cake that Jessica made.

I made this flourless chocolate cake the past two Passovers, and I plan on making it again this year! It doesn’t matter that we don’t have kosher-for-Passover tools in Grandma’s apartment where I was staying in Florida and I had to hand-whip the cream and eggs; this cake is really worth the effort, and your family and biceps will thank you!

Jessica kashered her stand mixer just to make this cake – smart! She also took a few photos of the process (I apologize for only having pictures of the finished product, but you try whipping egg whites into peaks while taking pictures and you’ll see why!).

And don’t forget to take a look at our Passover Recipe Roundups, Volume One and Two!

Lighter-Than-Air Chocolate Cake from smitten kitchen

To make a cake roll like Stephanie:

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 6 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder

For the filling:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder and powdered sugar, to garnish

Directions:

  1. Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil a half-sheet pan and line the bottom with a large piece of wax or parchment paper, letting paper hang over ends.
  2. Melt chocolate with water in a small heavy saucepan over very low heat, stirring. Cool to lukewarm.
  3. Beat yolks, 1/3 cup sugar, and salt in a large bowl until thick and pale. Fold in melted chocolate until blended.
  4. Beat whites until they just hold soft peaks. Gradually add remaining 1/3 cup sugar and beat until whites just hold stiff peaks.
  5. Fold one third of whites into melted-chocolate mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly.
  6. Spread batter evenly in baking pan and bake in middle of oven until puffed and top is dry to the touch, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer pan to a rack. Cover top with 2 layers of damp paper towels and let stand 5 minutes, then remove towels and cool completely.
  7. Loosen edges with a sharp knife.
  8. Sift cocoa powder over top of cake layer and overlap 2 layers of wax paper lengthwise over cake. Place a baking sheet over paper and invert cake onto it, gently peeling off wax paper lining. (Don’t worry if cake layer cracks; it will hold together when you roll it.)
  9. Make the filling: Beat cream with powdered sugar and vanilla until it just holds stiff peaks.
  10. Fill and roll: Spread filling evenly over cake. Put a long platter next to a long side of cake. Using wax paper as an aid, roll up cake jelly roll-style, beginning with a long side. Carefully transfer, seam side down, to platter, using wax paper to help slide cake. (Cake will crack but will still hold together.)
  11. Dust cake generously with cocoa powder and powdered sugar.

To make a four-layer cake like Jessica (which is basically just double the amount of cake):

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 12 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 12 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder

For the filling:

  • 2 cup heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoons confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder and powdered sugar, to garnish

Directions:

  1. Make the cake layers: Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease four 9-inch round baking pans.
  2. Melt chocolate with water in a small heavy saucepan over very low heat, stirring. Cool to lukewarm.
  3. Beat yolks, 2/3 cup sugar, and salt in a large bowl until thick and pale. Fold in melted chocolate until blended.
  4. Beat whites until they just hold soft peaks. Gradually add remaining 2/3 cup sugar and beat until whites just hold stiff peaks.
  5. Fold one third of whites into melted-chocolate mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly.
  6. Spread batter evenly into the baking pans and bake in middle of oven until puffed and tops are dry to the touch, 15 to 18 minutes.
  7. Transfer pans to a drying rack and losen edges with a sharp knife.
  8. Sift cocoa powder over tops of the cake layers and place a piece of waxed paper over cakes. Place a baking sheet over paper and invert cake onto it, gently peeling off wax paper lining. Freeze layers for about an hour, until they are firm enough to handle without breaking.
  9. Make the filling: Beat cream with powdered sugar and vanilla until it just holds stiff peaks.
  10. Build: Take the first layer of cake out of the freezer and put it cocoa powder-side down onto a platter. Spread 1/4 of filling evenly over the cake. Bring the next cake layer out of the freezer, placing it gently over the filling, again cocoa side down. Repeat this process until all layers and whipped cream are used.
  11. Keep cake in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it. Two hours should be more than enough to assure that the layers are no longer frozen.
  • Lynn

    Any ideas for a pareve filling?

    • Jessica

      well, you can add some jam or pareve buttercream. but the cake is very rich and really needs that whipped cream to cut the richness of the chocolate. of course, you can always try pareve whipped topping

      • Lynn

        Needed a pareve filling for Pesach, so the whipped topping was out :-( Wound up making a pareve chocolate buttercream, which I kept under-sweet so the cake would shine. Great recipe! Thanks!

  • Lynn

    Any ideas for a pareve filling?

    • Jessica

      well, you can add some jam or pareve buttercream. but the cake is very rich and really needs that whipped cream to cut the richness of the chocolate. of course, you can always try pareve whipped topping

      • Lynn

        Needed a pareve filling for Pesach, so the whipped topping was out :-( Wound up making a pareve chocolate buttercream, which I kept under-sweet so the cake would shine. Great recipe! Thanks!

  • http://cheapbeets.wordpress.com/ Molly Parr

    Brilliant move, kashering the stand mixer. I have a hand mixer I drag out for the holiday, which does a decent enough job. Now I’m kicking myself for not picking up confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder. Well, there’s always Thursday. Chag sameach!

    • Jessica

      it’s probably the smartest thing i did for the holiday. i hope you make this cake the second half and let us know how it is. chag sameach to you, too!

  • http://cheapbeets.wordpress.com/ Molly Parr

    Brilliant move, kashering the stand mixer. I have a hand mixer I drag out for the holiday, which does a decent enough job. Now I’m kicking myself for not picking up confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder. Well, there’s always Thursday. Chag sameach!

    • Jessica

      it’s probably the smartest thing i did for the holiday. i hope you make this cake the second half and let us know how it is. chag sameach to you, too!

  • Sandyjnh1

    how can i kasher my stand mixer? i have been using a hand mixer for passover but it lacks power and bowls.

    • Jessica

      I clean the outside VERY well. For the bowl I boil water in my biggest pot and stick the bowl in for a few minutes. Whisk, too. I don’t have a metal beater so I can’t kasher that, but I really only need the whisk for this recipe.nnSteph has a glass bowl, so she can skip the boiling part!!

    • http://thekosherfoodies.com/ steph

      Depends on the materials. Mine’s glass, so it can just be washed well.

  • Sandyjnh1

    how can i kasher my stand mixer? i have been using a hand mixer for passover but it lacks power and bowls.

    • Jessica

      I clean the outside VERY well. For the bowl I boil water in my biggest pot and stick the bowl in for a few minutes. Whisk, too. I don’t have a metal beater so I can’t kasher that, but I really only need the whisk for this recipe.

      Steph has a glass bowl, so she can skip the boiling part!!

    • http://thekosherfoodies.com/ steph

      Depends on the materials. Mine’s glass, so it can just be washed well.

  • Glicklichm

    How far in advance can you make this?
     

    • jessica matthews

      i made the cakes and froze them three days in advance. i’d recommend making the cream as close to serving as possible. i made it a day in advance

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