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Mar 26, 2007 06:32 PM

Citrus sponge cake for Passover - any good recipes? Maybe chocolate macaroons...

I am making dessert for our Seder. Does anyone have a good recipe for Passover sponge cake? I pulled this from Epicurious, but who knows if it would be any good:

Citrus Sponge Cake with Strawberries:

I also saw a recipe here from another_adam:

I might make two desserts, because these look tempting too. Chocolate Macaroons with Caramel or Chocolate Filling:

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  1. Not sure if this appropriate for Passover or not but it is a yummy cake. Pan needs to be very well greased and the cake must be turned out quickly or else the caramel sticks. It is great with a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

    Le Gâteau Piège

    For the pan:
    1 fat pat butter
    1 heaping tablespoon sugar

    For the batter:
    120 grams (1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, softened (I mean it
    )120 grams (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) sugar
    2 eggs
    1 medium organic orange (about 200g/7oz), scrubbed
    120 grams (1 cup) flour
    1 sachet (1 tablespoon) baking powder
    A good pinch of salt (I use salted butter so I omit this)

    Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Butter the bottom and sides of a 22- or 25-cm (9- or 10-inch) round cake pan with the pat of butter. Sprinkle with the heaping tablespoon sugar, then shake and tilt and swoosh the pan around to coat. It is fun.

    Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one by one and mix until thoroughly combined. Grate the zest from the entire orange over the bowl. Juice the orange and add 125 mL (1/2 cup) of the juice (give or take a little) to the batter. Mix until smooth.

    In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk the flour mixture into the batter and mix until just combined. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes if you used a large pan, 25 to 30 if you used a smaller one, until the cake is golden brown and starts to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let cool on a rack for ten minutes (no more, or the caramel on the crust will harden and stick to the pan), then flip onto a serving plate. Let cool completely before serving

    2 Replies
    1. re: kjgibson

      The flour in the above recipe automatically makes it unacceptable for Passover but the flavoring idea works.

      Can you do dairy for your Seder? If you can, I always love taking the sponge cake and making a trifle with lemon curd and strawberries. It looks very classy, isn't too heavy and if you're lucky enough to get good berries, it tastes great. If you're ambitious you can make meringue baskets and fill with lemon curd and berries. The trifle is just a lot easier.

      1. re: rockycat

        Yes, dairy is fine for us. Making a trifle is a great idea...

    2. A few years back, we used a Passover walnut cake recipe, and just replaced the vanilla with some orange zest. It turned out great. Thank you.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Bride of the Juggler

        I've been wanting to try Katie Nell's walnut cake for some time but haven't gotten around to it, partly because I'm not sure where to get black walnuts. Here's a link to an old report by petradish; follow the link to Katie's posted recipe:

        1. re: Carb Lover

          Thanks for this link! I have to make at least one dessert without nuts (we have a guest with a nut allergy), but maybe I should try out this instead of the chocolate macaroons...

      2. Here is our family's version, it is fluffy and moist, nicely yellow and citrusy, and never fails for me:

        9 large eggs, separated
        1.5 cups sugar
        2 Tbsp cold water
        1/2 lemon, juice + rind
        1/2 orange, juice + rind
        6 Tbsp passover cake meal
        3 Tbsp potato starch

        Beat egg whites with at least 1/3 of the sugar (soft peaks). In separate bowl, beat egg yolks until thick and light colored, then mix in sugar gradually, and then juices, rind, water. Add cake meal + starch, mix until well blended. Then fold in egg whites, and pour into ungreased 10" tube pan. Bake at 350 for 50-60 mins. Remove from oven and invert immediately, let cool inverted. (Run a table knife around the edges very well to loosen before removing)

        You can add more rind if you want an even stronger flavor. I like tangerine flavor for my half and orange! (I figure a whole tangerine is about half an orange! Sorry these amounts are not precise, it's an old family recipe, and seems to be relatively forgiving)
        There are also walnut or banana cakes based on similar principles (all eggs and sugar, just a little starch to bind it) Some Italian cakes also use mainly potato starch, but in our family, a sponge cake is obligatory for seders :)

        3 Replies
        1. re: another_adam

          oh, in fact now that I read again, I see you already noticed this when I had posted it in another thread, and had already linked to it :) oops. duh. Well, as you can tell, I'm always quite pleased by its results, and happy to pass along the recipe! :)

          1. re: another_adam

            No worries! I think I might try your recipe, but add a layer of lemon curd and strawberries to the middle. Or something like that. I have actually never made a trifle before, but I looove lemon curd. Do you think the fluffy moist yummyness of your cake will hold up to a layer of lemon curd?

            1. re: megek

              Hmmm, it should! (I'm assuming you mean after baking, to slice in in half and add something in the middle? I'm not sure about adding something pre-baking, since extra moisture and/or fat might deflate the eggs too much-- though it's worth a try, if you're thinking of doing a trial run!) Then again, it is even easier and maybe just as elegant to make the cake plain, and then serve with berries and a drizzle of lemon curd over the top.

              This reminds me that I've always wanted to try to adapt the "lemon pudding cake" recipe from epicurious for passover, but haven't tried it yet. (Cake meal + potato starch can sub pretty well for flour, in the amounts used in a sponge-like, since really it's the eggs providing most of the structure)

        2. Reporting back in, post-Seder.

          I decided to go with another_adam's recipe for citrus sponge cake. It was the first sponge cake I have made, so I looked up a couple recipes online for a little more detail (how long to beat eggwhites, yolks, etc). My plan included serving with lemon curd, fresh strawberries, and whipped cream.

          First, the cake tasted great. It was very moist and definitely citrus-y. I kept a close eye on it during baking, and I was worried that it was rising too fast. Here is a photo about 40 minutes in:

          At 47 min, it was getting toasty on top so I tested it and it seemed done (cake tester came out clean, sprung back to the touch). So I took it out, and inverted onto a bottle to cool. Now for the near-disaster...:

 (note the cake blobs on the cooling rack in the back right


          Yes, its true, half my cake flumped out onto the rack below. Aack! Did I overbeat my eggwhites, leading to a too-fast rise and some large evil air pocket inside? Was I not supposed to invert? Whoah is me, what did I do wrong. Well thanks to the lemon curd, berries, whipped cream, a trifle bowl, and a fortuitous flump onto the cooling rack (as opposed to the floor), all was not lost. The trifle was fantastic, and if it wasn't for my big mouth, no one would be the wiser. Sorry I didn't get a picture of the assemble trifle, but it looked something like this:

          I loved the taste of the sponge cake (thanks adam!), but unless I can figure out where I went wrong, I am afraid to make it again! Ideas?

          I also was suckered in by all the matzo crunch reports, so ended up making that as well. Definitely a keeper.

          Matzo crunch recipe:

          2 Replies
          1. re: megek

            oh no!!! well, glad the trifle worked well :) but sorry to hear that it had structural problems!!! I've never seen anything like that :( (and in fact, in spite of all the hype surrounding not making noises, etc. etc. etc. so the cake won't fall, I've found the recipe to be quite robust)

            You're definitely supposed to invert while it cools (usually by the time I get to this point it's late at night, and I just leave it and go to bed) i've never seen something like that happen, though I did once have one fall out of a brand new non-stick tube pan (memo to self: sticking is what helps keep it clinging to the sides) Your issues seems to be more central to the cake, though. Hmmmmm.

            The top of your cake in the post-collapse state looks about the same done-ness as when I take mine out, though the inside looks a bit moister/custardier. a few things occur to me:

            -- Number 1 guess: maybe the extra 5 or so mins in the oven might have done it. If the top was getting brown too fast, maybe you need to put it at a lower oven rack position (if possible)?

            -- Just checking: you used large, not extra-large eggs, right? (i'd assume so, but since the initial picture looks a bit more voluminous than mine usually is, i'm thinking about places where the extra volume might have come from) I made this mistake once, but don't know what the result is, since I realized it before combining the yolks and whites, so was able to add extra dry ingredients...

            -- I beat my egg whites by waiting until they have reached room temp (maybe even a little warmer, since they're near the oven) and then beating them relatively slowly with an electric mixer. Upon further reflection, I think I might sometimes beat in more than 1/3 of the sugar with the whites-- maybe more like 2/3 of it, actually. That might help stabilize things more.

            -- I also realized, looking back at the recipe, that I combine things in the opposite order: first I mix the yolks and dry ingredients, and then I beat the whites. I do it this way so they are still maximally beaten when I combine, but I wonder if it has another effect, of letting the dry ingredients absorb the liquid better and stabilizing things. (Think kneydlekh batter, which has to sit overnight so the matzo meal can fully "expand" or whatever)

            -- The citrus measures are disconcertingly vague (that's how old family recipes go, i guess) It was probably made for the days before ginormous supermarket oranges--maybe the extra bit of water wasn't really needed? I'll try to remember to measure the liquid next time I make it (sadly, haven't gotten to make one yet this year)

            -- It looks like you have the same kind of tube pan that I do, in which the center column is already taller than the cake ever gets. I usually don't put it on a bottle, I just put it on a board directly this way, so the top of the cake is just a centimeter or something above the board. I wonder if the extra height of the bottle made it rest slightly off balance, so gravity did something untoward? (the fact that it fell on one side makes me think this)

            Anyway, unfortunately I can't make a definitive diagnosis from the pics :S Maybe someone with more sponge-cake foo will have an idea. Slight underbaking or a little too much liquid:dry are my two best guesses...

            1. re: another_adam

              Hmm. maybe I opened the oven too much in my excitement? I think the extra 5 minutes baking might have helped... most likely it is some combination of my inexperience.

              I used large, room temperature eggs. First I beat until frothy, then added the sugar plus 1/4 t. salt. Maybe the salt was a bad idea? The other two recipes I looked at for directions (Cook's Illustrated plus the epicurious recipe in my OP) both included it so I thought maybe it would help the egg whites.

              I can't remember if I beat the egg whites before the yolks, but I do think that I might have beat them a little too long - they seemed a little past the soft peak stage. Also, I wasn't sure how long to beat the egg yolks - I think I did about 3 min (med-high on my standing mixer), then added the sugar/rind/juice/water and went about another 3 min. Then I slowly sifted in the flour/starch, and gently but thoroughly mixed it in by hand.

              My fruit wasn't particularly large, but it was very juicy.

              Finally, yes my cake did list a little crooked when inverted on the bottle, so that could have added insult to injury. I have done that before with angel food cake. Oh, and speaking of angel food cake - when I have made that in the past, I have given the pan a little rap on the counter, to dislodge any large air bubbles that might be in there from the pouring. Do you do this with your sponge cake? I did not, as I was afraid I would screw it up. Maybe I had some large bubble hiding in there.

              Anyway, I shouldn't fear making it again, because the taste and texture were fabulous. And if I have a similar (near) disaster, I can always turn it into a trifle. Thanks again for all your help!