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Heavenly Chocolate Cake

When my mother-in-law asked me to make a dessert for her Passover seder, I had my work cut out for me.

First off, as you likely know, you can’t use flour to make anything on Passover. In addition, I don’t really have much of a sweet tooth to begin with. Sure, there are some desserts I love – homemade strawberry shortcake, cheesecake, lemon meringue pie… but this is Passover, people.

So, after hunting around and making some modifications, I landed on the recipe below. It turned out really great and everyone seemed to love it. It’s light, airy and not too, too sweet.

This cake is heavenly enough to just maybe make you forget for a few glorious moments that you have to eat matzah for a whole week. And believe you me, it’s good enough to eat all year long!

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Heavenly Chocolate Cake

Adapted from The New York Times via Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients:

Cake:
12 oz fine-quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons water
12 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Filling:
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
4 tablespoons confectioners sugar, sifted*
1 teaspoon vanilla*

* alternately use 4 tablespoons vanilla sugar

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease three cake pans and line bottoms with a greased piece of parchment paper.
  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 with an electric mixer until thick and pale, about 5 minutes in a standing mixer or about 8 minutes with a hand-held mixer. Fold in melted chocolate until blended.
  4. In alrage bowl, beat whites with cleaned beaters 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 over baking pans and bake until puffed, and top is dry to the touch, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating cakes between racks to ensure they bake evenly. Transfer pans to cooling racks and if necessary, loosen edges with a knife.
  7. Sift cocoa powder over top of cake layers and place a piece of waxed paper over the top of the pans. Place a baking sheet over paper and invert cake onto it, gently peeling off wax paper lining. Place layers in the freezer for about an hour, until they are firm enough to be carefully lifted without breaking.
  8. To make filling beat cream with powdered sugar and vanilla with beaters until it just holds stiff peaks.
    Bring first cake layer out of the freezer and arrange on platter, cocoa side down. Spread one-third 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.
  9. Keep cake in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it. Chocolate grated with a vegetable peeler makes for an excellent garnish.