Friday, April 13, 2012

Passover Sweets

I've already told you about what a hit the packaged Passover Red Velvet cake was.  Which was a big surprise.  Mostly because Passover desserts?  They're awful.  Goes back to that "no flour" thing.

Growing up, my recollections of Passover desserts were sandy tasting cookies and cakes.  And those were the recipes passed down from grandmothers and their synagogue cookbooks.  The prepackaged stuff was even worse.

The only exception, was the stuff from the Jewish bakeries.  In small town Pennsylvania, that meant we had to either drive 2 1/2 hours to Pittsburgh, where we did our annual Passover shopping, or (depending on when our school spring break fell) 8 hours to Brooklyn where we'd load up on the REALLY good stuff.

That stuff was usually gone after the second seder.

But since moving to California, I have yet to find a good Jewish bakery.  Which puts us back to the crappy desserts.  I typically make some amazing almond horns, but this year brought about some new favorites.  For my mom's Seder I made Cara's "Grandma's Raspberry Squares."  The reason these are so fantastic is because they taste delicious, but also because I can't think of an easier dessert to throw together.

These were such a hit at the Seder that everyone requested a copy of the recipe.  And we spent a pretty long time discussing all the variations that could be made.

Some time during that weekend, Thatboy remembered he had a work party on Monday that he needed to bring something in for.  Rather than subject his coworkers to Passover baked goods, we were going to pick something up at the store.  Buuuuut we forgot.  So Sunday had me crossing my fingers and hoping for the best with a lemon chiffon cake.

Crossing my fingers and hoping for the best apparently works really well.  Because this cake was good.  Thatboy texted me from his office to tell me that the cake was good.
Me: Even though it's a Passover cake?
TB: Especially because it's a Passover cake!

He was licking up crumbs on the way home, thankful I had kept half the cake for us.  And we've spent all week enjoying it.  I know Channukah is the holiday with miracles, but what else would you call it when a cake lasts for 5 days without even the hint of dryness?  It's a Passover Phenomenon.

 Passover Lemon Chiffon Cake (From the LA Times)
1/2 cup lemon juice
4 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2/3 cup matzo cake meal
2/3 cup potato starch
8 eggs, separated
1 egg
1 2/3 cups superfine sugar, divided
1/3 cup oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring the lemon juice and grated zest to a boil in a small saucepan.  Reduce the heat and simmer 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Combine the matzo cake meal and potato starch in a small bowl.
  3. Place the egg yolks and whole egg in the small bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until the mixture begins to thicken, about 3 to 4 minutes. 
  4. Add 1 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and continue beating until the mixture turns pale yellow and is very thick. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally. 
  5. Slowly add the oil in a steady stream.
  6. Reduce the speed to medium-low. Add the cooled lemon juice and zest and beat until blended. 
  7. Reduce the speed to low. Gradually add the sifted dry ingredients and mix until the batter is smooth. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
  8. Place the egg whites in the large bowl of a mixer. Using clean beaters or the whip attachment, beat the whites on medium speed until frothy. 
  9. Add the salt. Increase the speed to medium-high and gradually add the remaining 2/3 cup of sugar at the side of the bowl, beating until soft peaks form.
  10. With a rubber spatula, fold 1/4 of the beaten whites into the yolk mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining whites.
  11. Gently pour the batter into an ungreased tube pan. Smooth the top. Bake in the lower 1/3 of the oven until the cake is golden brown and springy to the touch, 45 to 50 minutes.
  12. Remove the cake from the oven and immediately invert the pan onto a wire rack. Cool the cake completely in the pan. 
  13. Turn the cake upright and run a thin, sharp knife around the sides of the pan, then around the center tube. Remove cake from the pan.


  1. That cake looks amazing! Even for non-Passover followers.

    if you ever want me to ship you anything from brooklyn, I'm SO on it.

  2. I am not sure this cake would last 5 days in my house. So glad you found some new holiday treats to revisit again.