Passover

Passover Chocolate Nut Sponge Cake

April  5, 2015
Photo by Mark Weinberg
Author Notes

Adapted from Chocolate Holidays (Artisan 2005). —Alice Medrich

  • Serves 10 to 12
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (140 grams) whole almonds, blanched or with skins
  • 2 tablespoons (15 grams) matzo cake meal
  • 2 tablespoons (15 grams) potato starch
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso or coffee powder
  • 6 ounces 55 to 70% chocolate (or your preference), coarsely chopped
  • 9 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 bright skinned, medium, unsprayed or organic orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar, or 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting
  • Lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Get out a 10-inch flat-bottom tube or angel food cake pan. If the pan does not have a removable bottom, either line the bottom with parchment paper or grease it, then coat with matzo meal. If the pan does have a removable bottom, there's no need to do extra preparation.
  2. Combine the almonds, cake meal, potato starch, coffee powder, and chocolate in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse until most of the almonds are finely ground (it’s okay if some are a little coarser). Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with half of the sugar just until blended. Grate the zest of the orange into the bowl. Whisk until the mixture is very thick and pale yellow.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar (or vinegar) on medium-high speed until the mixture is creamy white and holds a soft shape. Gradually beat in the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar on high speed until the egg whites are stiff but not dry.
  5. Scrape 1/4 of the egg whites on top of the yolk mixture, and use a large rubber spatula to fold them in. Then scrape half of the remaining egg whites into the bowl along with half of the dry ingredients and fold until everything is almost blended. Repeat by adding the rest of the egg whites and dry ingredients and folding just until blended.
  6. Spoon the batter gently into the pan and smooth the surface. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out free of batter (though it may be coated with some melted chocolate).
  7. Set the pan on a rack to cool for 5 minutes. Slide a slim knife or small metal spatula around the sides of the cake to detach it from the pan, pressing against the pan sides to avoid tearing the cake. Detach the cake from the tube with the knife or a metal skewer. Leave the cake to finish cooling right side up, in the pan, on the rack.
  8. To unmold: If the pan sides are not removable, invert the cake onto a wire rack or a serving platter. Otherwise, pull upwards on the tube to lift the cake from the pan sides and slide the knife under the cake and around the tube to detach the bottom. Transfer the cake to a serving platter, right side or upside down, whichever you like. Dust a little powdered sugar over the top if desired, and serve with whipped cream.

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My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on Craftsy.com, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).