It's Passover, which is not exactly a holiday known for its delicious dessert due to the fact that no flour or leavening products can be used. I had success with two different cake recipes this year and many people could not believe how good they were despite the use of matzo meal. I decided not to go with cupcakes just to change things up a bit.
The first recipe is from the New York Times and their article on Persian Jews' celebration of Passover. I made it twice. The first time was just with powdered sugar on top and the second time was with a raspberry glaze. To keep it Kosher for Passover, you need to use powdered sugar that does not have corn starch in it to prevent clumping (sometimes organic powdered sugar does not have any corn starch). I was able to turn this recipe into two 8" cakes that were not as tall as one 8" cake would have been with the same amount of batter.
Almond Cake with Cardamom - From the NY Times - Makes one generous 8" round cake or one 9" square cake
- 7 eggs, separated
- 3 cups almonds
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon matzo meal
- 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
- 1 tablespoon almond extract
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil the cake pan (I like to use Wilton cake release).
- In a standing mixer, whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together.
- In a large food processor, grind almonds until finely ground. You may need to stir them a couple of times to ensure that it doesn't become a sticky paste.
- Add the ground almonds, matzo meal and cardamom in to the large bowl and mix well.
- Add the almond extract and oil and beat until well combined.
- Fold in the egg whites until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the pan.
- Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. You'll be able to smell the almonds when it is getting close to being done. Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes in the pan before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely.
So, during my first attempt at this cake, I didn't notice that one of the eggs had rolled away and so I made it with 6 eggs instead of 7. It was still good! It tastes a little bit like marzipan and is very sweet. It doesn't require any frosting or glaze, but if you want to give it some color it worked well with the following:
Raspberry Glaze - enough for two 8" cakes
- 10 ounces frozen raspberries
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- Allow raspberries to thaw
- Combine ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree.
- If desired, you may use a fine mesh sleeve to remove seeds.
Even though the seders are over, this is a great treat during the entire holiday and any time of year!