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Passover cake

Is there any way you can take a regular cake recipe and turn it into a cake suitable for Passover? Meaning, can you follow some sort of a formula so that any time you see "flour" and "baking powder" in a regular cake recipe you could simply substitute matzo meal, potato starch, and egg whites, etc.?

Also, many recipes I've found use margarine and I find that really unappealing. Are passover dishes also supposed to be non-dairy? If so, could I just substitute oil or would that affect the structure of the cake?

asked by jowinik over 6 years ago
12 answers 5425 views
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added over 6 years ago

Passover dishes do not need to be non-dairy in theory, however, depending on how closely one follows the rules of kashruth, dairy can't be consumed within a certain amount of time after eating meat. The more observant, I think, wait 6 hours (?) all the way to some people waiting 1/2 hour. I'm no good with the science of cake substitutions so can't help you there, but I can tell you my personal preference is not to do the subs. I have yet to find a cake made with matzo meal and potato starch that really tastes great (course if anyone out here has one I'd be thrilled to have it!!) Instead, I like to stick with flourless chocolate cake and brownies, some with almond meal, some without, chocolate/butterscotch covered matzo, meringues, and almond macaroons (WinnieAb has a great one here - http://www.food52.com/recipes...)

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amysarah is a trusted home cook.

added over 6 years ago

David Lebovitz's recipe for Chocolate Covered Caramelized Matzoh - so good, especially with a sprinkling of sea salt. (It includes butter, but he says you can sub margarine...I use butter, but my family is at the extreme low-end of observant.)


Also - coconut macaroons are another Passover favorite; homemade ones, dipped in dark chocolate, are my absolute weakness.

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added over 6 years ago

Many times you can substitute something called cake meal, a matzoh meal derivative made for baking. But results will not be the same as the flour version, and I wouldn't suggest trying this out on company. You can, however, do some experimentation. A safer bet is using a recipe that is normally flourless, think flourless chocolate cake or something that depends mostly on almond meal, where if there is a bit of flour, the sub. with cake meal won't be glaring. Naturally macaroons (the coconut based ones) are a classic passover dessert. (Ina Garten has a good recipe for these.) For more passover dessert ideas, you might check Smitten Kitchen, martha steward, The food network, or notderbypie, a blog I discovered from a blogger on this site :) The NYT also has passover dessert recipes in their archive and will likely run a feature closer to the holiday.

As for the dairy bit, passover desserts need not be dairy-free. The dairy-free business becomes a factor only for observant jews who are kosher. They won't mix meat and milk, and because most of the passover meals are traditionally meat meals, a dairy dessert cannot be served. As for substituting, oil isn't always the best replacement re the solid v liquid fat thing. But I have found, it usually produces good, if not more moist, results, though the texture and flavor will be different than it would have been had butter been used.

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June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 6 years ago

i have not had success subbing Pesadichy ingredients for flour in "regular" desserts. Much better is to cultivate a collection of Passover Desserts that use approved subs for flour. That said, my most requested Passover dessert is a flourless chocolate cake that is good any time of year.

I used to teach a Passover dessert class, so I have a bundle of recipes at the ready, even though aside from Seder, I probably don't eat any desserts at all during Pesach.

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Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 6 years ago

I also would not substitute; I think your cake would end up tasting like those horrible boxed Manischevitz cake mixes. If you search the site for flourless, you get these recipes: http://www.food52.com/recipes...

And this is my most requested dessert for Passover:

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added over 6 years ago

You may also want to check out Joan Nathan and also the NYT Jewish Cookbook.
Depending how you do things, some eat rice and some don't---recipe here on food52 for a pie/tart crust made of rice.

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added over 6 years ago

I forgot to say that, in general, I just don't get this flour thing and Passover---matzo is flour and water--it's the leavening that wasn't used lo those centuries ago. Maybe it's because I grew up in a totally non-observant home and therefore this is a holiday without the family traditions for me (and the freedom to do things all kinds of ways)....Also, I remember reading somewhere online last Passover that there is now kosher for Passover baking powder/soda---I believe it's a Rabbi in Brooklyn who does it.

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added over 6 years ago

Hello everyone! Thanks so much for all the great advice! I was originally going to just do a flourless chocolate cake, but I didn't want to be limited. Unfortunately I can't do anything with nuts because it's for school children, and though I'd love to do a different dessert (macaroons, etc.), the teacher really wants a cake.

ellenl-I was curious about the no-flour vs. flour in matzo also and looked it up. Apparently the way the flour is mixed with the water is done under close rabbinical supervision. The flour and water must be mixed together quickly and the whole process from beginning to end usually takes no more than 18 minutes. Who knew? Fascinating! And thanks so much for the info about the kosher baking powder / soda. Wow!

Thanks again everyone! I loved all the suggestions.

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added over 6 years ago

This is my Aunt Edna's Passover sponge cake recipe...it's been a winner in our house for over 50 years. http://www.food52.com/recipes...

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added over 6 years ago

jowinik, thanks so much for the explanation. As you said, who knew?!

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added over 6 years ago

If you are making something for school kids - you actually can make matzo. I've done it with Sunday school kids - we used rolling pins so it wasn't perfect but it tasted like - well, matzo! It's amazingly simple.
Here's a recipe from Daniel Boulud's restaurant: http://www.seriouseats.... This recipe says that pricking the rolled out dough is optional but I don't think it's optional - it will crack and be hard to divide when baked. If you need to be Kashrut, use Kosher-for-Pesach matzo flour and get it mixed, rolled out and in the oven in 18 minutes. Phew!
Also a fun project for kids is to "accessorize" their matzo with drizzled chocolate and any other toppings.

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added over 6 years ago

I made this cake last year for Passover and it was delicious: light, lovely flavor, and beautiful: http://www.nytimes.com...

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