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Mar 25, 2007 07:47 AM

Kosher Passover Cakes - Where are the Best

I have to buy kosher cakes for Passover..... and I do not know who makes the best ones. I am interested in more than a plain sponge cake.

Many thanks

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  1. You may want to move this post to the kosher board and re-title it "Kosher Passover Cakes Toronto". The best baking IMO is from GMB Culinary Productions. They are a caterer, not a retail bakery. The link If I were you, I would get your order in ASAP. The only "bakery" that I am aware of that is open is Hermes. Their baking is only so/ so (they are non-gebrokts which means they use potato starch not mazo meal in the baking) but they make a nice variety of macaroons. Also, you can buy these frozen lemon cakes at the No Frills at Wilson and Bathurst and other kosher establishments. I think they are Kosher for Passover. We have had them during the year and they are quite nice.

    5 Replies
    1. re: sherry f

      GMB outsources their baking - at least they did when I ordered from them last summer. BTW, if you are concerned about hydrogenated fatty acids, watch out with the local kosher bakeries. I found it vitually impossible to find a local kosher caterer not using transfats in their baking. Too bad.

      1. re: garlicscapes

        That's because, in order to make them pareve, they have to use non-dairy shortening such as margarine or Crisco-type shortening. Not sure if there is a way to get around that for it to be pareve. Maybe they could start using coconut oil :), but then people would start complaining about the high fat content and high calories, saturated fat, etc.

        1. re: garlicscapes

          You make an important point. There isn't any need to use transfats in a milchig cake, a nut torte, a sponge cake, or an angel food. There are also cakes that taste better made with almost any kind of refined oil.

          It is becoming ever more evident that there is no "safe" amount of hydrogenated fat. As such, I'd suggest that bakers using trans fats in this kind of baking are best avoided altogether, at Passover or at any other time.

          Which brings us to the matter of parve puff pastries and "cream" cakes.

          I'm not an expert baker or a nutritional scientist, but my understanding is that the palm and coconut oils we were told were going to kill us are now considered at least marginally acceptable if not overtly healthy. Palm and coconut oils can make wonderful puff pastry, though it won't have that buttery taste that (in my opinion) makes puff pastry worth eating. So why use trans fat in these? I see pastries that contain "partially hydrogenated coconut oil" and my mind boggles. There is no rational culinary need for such a fat.

          Parve "cream" cakes are something I don't understand at all. I can't see how one could make a decent tasting "cream" cake without using trans fat. But if you choose to keep kosher, why would you ever want a "cream" cake with a meat meal? It may be consistent with kashruth, but it perverts its spirit and makes little culinary sense. Presumably keeping kosher is something you feel good about and offers its own rewards. If you're having a meat meal, why do you need a mock dairy dessert?

          At some point during my childhood, I found myself in what we would now call a focus group. At Phil Gluckstern's (meat) restaurant in New York, I was asked to sample and rate a variety of "ice creams". It was long before I developed a palate, but I remember saying that some tasted better than others but none tasted like ice cream. Although these things have improved over five decades (Rich Products is particularly adept), I'd think one could get through life without fake "cream" cakes and have real ones at appropriate times.

          1. re: embee

            I agree with most of what you say, embee. It's not just for Passover though where the use of transfats frustrates me. I know it's a cost issue, but at school, we are provided with fake cream product and transfat margarine and shortening far too often, in my opinion.
            I like to bake for Passover, but for me I don't have to fret too much because our family is not religious. As long as the baked goods are not made with flour, etc. and are "passover-style", I don't have to worry about using dairy in the desserts I make. I love the cookies I make for Passover (meringues, macaroons, thumbprints) and the flourless cakes, lemon meringue pie, etc.

            1. re: embee

              Great discussion. It is disappointing that 'health' has not yet entered the kosher equation. Coconut oil would in fact be the perfect substitue in baking from a technical standpoint, but I agree it wouldn't deliver the taste of butter. I did discuss my concerns with Grodzinkski's Bakery. They were open to the idea, but it was not at the top of their To Do list. Personally, I use unrefined organic coconut oil for cooking and some baking. No hecksher, but it comes from a facility that only processes coconuts.

        2. Hermes, on Bathurst just south of Glencairn, is, I believe, the only kosher bakery in Toronto that makes cakes on Passover. They're okay, I suppose. There are also a few shops that sell Montreal Kosher Bakery products; I believe you can find them at Ely's on Bathurst (which also sells kosher for Passover prepared foods, including Chinese), the Loblaws Superstore at Dufferin and Steeles, and Sobeys on Clark.

          None of these cakes are amazing. I hate baking for Passover, so when I do it's just my bubby's almond cookies (from A Treasure for my Daughter), an occasional chocolate almond torte, or Manishewitz cake mixes (which I find to be better than the store-bought cakes).

          5 Replies
          1. re: FlavoursGal

            I just heard that Rose Lazar has cakes .... does anyone know about these cakes?

            1. re: snoobie

              Any kosher caterer that has a Passover menu will have cakes and desserts, as well. As sherry f mentioned, GMB is an excellent caterer (now afflilitated with Beth Tzedec, previously with Beth Sholom). I don't know about Rose Lazar, however.

              The caterer at Beth Sholom is now Rhonda Litwack, who ran a store-front operation on Bathurst for many years. I've been hearing very good things about her food.

              Just be forewarned that any cakes you order from a kosher caterer will be very expensive.

              1. re: FlavoursGal

                Rhonda Litwack is not koshering her kitchen for passover this year.

                1. re: rbc

                  That's surprising. I would have assumed that, taking over the kitchen from GMB, she'd want to offer the same sort of services that GMB did.

                  1. re: FlavoursGal

                    I think it wasn't profitable for her to do it the first year around. She's just getting her foot in the door at Beth Sholom - the transition hasn't been as smooth as people would have thought.

          2. I don't know if they are 100% Kosher, but my current flyer from Dufflet has some mouthwatering almond or hazelnut meringue cakes for Passover.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bogie

              Unfortunately, Dufflet is definitely not Kosher for Passover.

            2. It is hard to get good Passover cakes and those that are good tend to be outrageously expensive. I am not a baker but do bake for Passover. I make a standard sponge/angelfood cake sometimes with variations like nuts, bananas or oranges. It's fairly easy. I also make a lot of squares which are easire and give people their chocolate fixes. Cookies are also easy. Generally you replace the flour with cake meal and some potato starch. Good luck. Now, I am looking for Passover bagels...

              10 Replies
              1. re: pirade

                Try either Baker Street Bakery Inc
                Address : 396 Hopewell, Toronto, ON M6E 2S2
                Telephone : 416-785-9666
                Email :
                Phipps Bakery Cafe - 416-481-9111
                420 Eglinton Avenue West, Toronto, ON M5N 1A2

                Both have great tasting Bake Good for Passover

                1. re: storeman

                  storeman, the shops you mention may make Passover-style baked goods, but they do not have kosher certification and their products, therefore, are not kosher for Passover (or any time throughout the year).

                  1. re: FlavoursGal

                    I guess everone in Forst hill are not Kosher

                    1. re: storeman

                      What would make you say that? There are many people in Forest Hill who definitely ARE kosher and who don't frequent the shops you mention. Not to mention those people who are not kosher and happen not to care for the products from Phipps (never having tried Baker St., I can't comment) at any time.

                2. re: pirade

                  I am a very inexperienced baker, but I know many people who make a flourless chocolate cake on Passover with dark chocolate so it is not dairy. The beauty of this kind of dessert is that you totally avoid using the matzo based products which not only taste bad but have a matzo smell. I am sure there are some decent recipes floating around.

                  1. re: sherry f

                    I developed a very good cake recipe a number of years ago when I created the Passover menu for a magazine I was working for - a cake made with ground pecans, bittersweet chocolate, sugar and eggs - no added fats (there's enough of it occurring naturally in the pecans, chocolate and eggs).

                    If anyone's planning to bake for Pesach and wants the recipe, let me know and I'll post it.

                    1. re: FlavoursGal

                      Sure, FG, that would be great. I'm always looking for new recipes!

                      1. re: pescatarian

                        It's great year-round, and actually comes out better (richer and more chocolatey) with non-Passover chocolate and real vanilla. Here you go (re-worded from the original):

                        CHOCOLATE TORTE

                        1. Separate 8 eggs. Set aside the egg whites. Beat the yolks with 3/4 cup of granulated sugar, until thick. Stir in 6 oz. of melted, cooled bittersweet chocolate, 1 tbsp vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla), 1/4 tsp salt, and 1 1/2 cups finely chopped toasted pecans or walnuts.

                        2. Beat the egg whites until they reach the stiff peaks stage; fold into the chocolate mixture, in four additions.

                        3. Pour into a greased, parchment paper lined 10-inch springform pan. Bake on centre rack of 350F oven until centre springs back when touched gently, about 45-50 minutes. Cool on rack. Remove sides of pan.

                        Optional: When cool, spread top of cake with 1/2 cup of seedless raspberry jam. Great with whipped cream, too.

                        Note: The cake cracks and caves in a bit in the centre after baking.

                        1. re: FlavoursGal

                          Thanks a lot :) Do you think it would be OK if I made it on Sunday for Tuesday night? I'm baking for both nights on the weekend.

                          1. re: pescatarian

                            I think it will be fine - just keep it tightly wrapped. By the way, I was just at Sobeys on Clark, and they now have kosher for Passover pure vanilla extract. They also have ground walnuts, which (provided they're not rancid, as walnuts often are) can be used instead of chopping pecans.

                3. How about Isaac's on Bathurst Street (near Baycrest Centre)? They are strictly Kosher so that shouldn't be a problem...I don't know about Passover but I volunteer at Baycrest and they use Isaac's for special in-house celebrations..the cookies are pretty good and the cakes are adequate ...there's also Hermes Bakery just north of Glencairn on Bathurst Street.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: pearlD

                    I could be wrong, but I think they probably close for Passover.

                    1. re: pescatarian

                      No, you're right, pescatarian. Hermes is the only kosher bakery open during Passover, except for the yom-tov'im - the first two days and the last two days.