Passover Chocolate Cake 2013 -- à la Robyn

Chocolate cake without chips
  • For the last three Passovers, I've adapted a chocolate cake recipe. This year's is the best ever! The batter is similar to last year's Passover chocolate cake recipe with a few changes including doubling the cocoa from 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup. The addition of chopped dates was inspired by a cake my mom used to make and the topping comes from my cousin Robyn's Famous Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Walnut Cake.
  • It fell a little bit. Maybe I did not bake it long enough, but I'm telling you, after you taste it, you won't care what it looks like!
  • I used pistachios instead of walnuts thinking they would add color to the topping but they browned so much you cannot tell the difference. I recommend ground walnuts or pecans -- or sliced almonds.
  • I ground the nuts fine to prevent them from sinking into the center of the cake, however, I also thickened the batter with more cake meal (than last year) and the addition of potato starch this year. Who knows; maybe with the new thicker batter, the nuts could be chopped rather than ground.
  • Knowing that making your own whole-wheat cake meal might be a deal breaker, I'm betting you could replace the whole-wheat cake meal with regular cake meal. The two products behave the same when I use them in other recipes including cakes.
  • Here's the thing: I used two different pans. Both cakes fell but the one in the wider pan fell more. The cake that fell more was in a traditional loaf pan: 4.5" x 9.75" with tapered sides (and nearly 3" tall); it had chocolate chips on top. The cake that did  not fall was in a pan with straight sides; it is 3.5" x 10.25" (and nearly 2.5" tall); it had no chips. Perhaps the chips made a difference but I really think it had more to do with the width of the pans.
  • Getting the cakes out of the pans was a mess. I recommend making some parchment paper handles. See directions below.

Parchment paper
Vegetable oil
Whole wheat matzos to make 1 cup whole-wheat cake meal (I believe you can substitute regular cake meal with no ill effects but I have not had time to test my theory)
10 large eggs, separated
1¾ cups sugar
1 cup oil
¼ cup Passover wine
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup cocoa
¼ cup potato starch
½ cup finely chopped Medjool dates

½ cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp cinnamon
¾ cup finely chopped nuts (optional) – walnuts, pecans, pistachios, or sliced almonds.
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (optional; to keep the cake parve, skip the chips)
  • Mix topping ingredients and set aside. 
  • Prepare two loaf pans as follows. Make "handles" for lifting the cake. Cut a piece of parchment paper; the paper should be as wide as the longest dimension of the pan; the paper should be long enough to cover the bottom and both sides and extend well beyond the top of the pan. You might want to use a double thickness just for it to be nice and strong. Brush vegetable oil on the bottom of the pans– do not put oil on the sides of the pans, or the cake may fall. Fold the extra paper down around the sides of the pan. When the cake is done, you will use these "handles" to help you lift out the cake without spilling the topping all over the place!
  • Note: You might be able to use regular cake meal instead, and skip this step! To make your own whole-wheat cake meal (from whole-wheat matzos), break the whole wheat matzos into large pieces and whirl them in the blender or food processor until they are the consistency of regular cake meal. You may need to sift out larger pieces, which can be used in other recipes. Set aside 1 cup of the whole wheat matzo meal for this recipe. 
  • Preheat oven to 375° with a rack in the middle of the oven.
  • Beat egg whites until stiff. Set aside. 
  • In another bowl, beat yolks. Add sugar. Beat until light yellow. 
  • Add oil, wine, and vanilla. Mix well. 
  • Add the salt and cocoa. Mix well. 
  • Add the potato starch and 1 cup whole-wheat cake meal. Mix well. The batter will be very stiff. 
  • Fold-in one third of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it. Mix thoroughly. Fold-in the remaining egg whites. Mix thoroughly. 
  • Use a little less than half of the batter to fill the two loaf pans. Top with the chopped dates. Top with half the topping. Add the remaining batter and topping. 
  • Bake at 375° for 40-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake. If the top browns too fast, tent it with a piece of aluminium foil.
  • Remove cakes from oven and cool on cake racks. 

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