Cooking for Passover is a really interesting challenge. However, BAKING for Passover can be downright tricky! Many of your usual treats are out, or just so finicky that it doesn’t seem worth it.
Not knowing this, I had promised to bring a desert to my friends seder and was frantically looking for what I could bake in a limited amount of time, and without forbidden ingredients. Thank goodness, the Washington Post ran a Passover-dedicated “Food” section! In it, was the “Mock Chestnut Torte with Chocolate Glaze.”
It is called “mock” chestnut torte because there are no chestnuts involved…the substitute is sweet potatoes! The cake is easy to make and the only problems come trying to take it out of the pan (no flour = sticky!). My first try, I nearly lost the cake through the slats of the cooling rack and on another go-round I dubbed it the “inside-out cake” because it stuck to my Mother-in-Law’s counter and I had to patch it together. Luckily, glaze covers many baking sins!
I know that doesn’t seem like a glowing endorsement. However, this cake is totally and completely worth it. It is rich, delicious, easy to pull together and looks good. One last thing, if you are going to make this cake, you MUST make it with the Matzah Crunch. This isn’t optional…..
From the Washington Post
1- 15 ounce can of sweet potatoes (sometimes called yams) or 1 1/2 cups mashed sweet potatoes
4 oz butter, margarine or pareve butter substitute
6 large eggs, separated into whites and yolks
1/3 cups and 2 tablespoons sugar
10 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup strong coffee or cola (you can use water if you prefer)
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Whisk, electric mixer or stand mixer
Measuring cups and spoons
Springform pan (ideal) or other cake pan
1. Ok, to make this recipe really successful, it helps to do a little bit of prep before you dive into cooking. So, here goes!
* Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees
* Line your pan with parchment paper. This is CRITICAL because this cake is a sticky one. If you are lucky enough to have a springform pan, it really makes this a lot easier. If you don’t, that is ok! It still works out.
* Open up your can of sweet potatoes. If they are in syrup, make sure you drain that off. * Separate your eggs (for my quick and easy way to do that read this post).
* Finally, melt your chocolate. The easiest way to do this is dump the chocolate into a microwave proof bowl and zap it for one minute. Pull it out of the microwave and stir it gently with a spatula. That may be all it needs, but if necessary put it in for ten more seconds and then stir again.
3. In a separate bowl, mix your egg whites and salt on low-medium until the whites become foamy. Slowly increase the speed to medium and add the two tablespoons of sugar. Keep mixing until the egg whites form peeks that are stiff and glossy, but not dry. I’m terrible at judging this stage so, either trust yourself or turn to Google!
4. Take 1/3 of the egg white mixture and mix it in to the sweet potato concoction. Gently fold in the remaining 2/3 so that it is well mixed, but not deflated. This is what is giving our cake some lightness and “lift” so we want to keep the fluff!
5. Pour the batter into your prepared pan (you have parchment paper in there right? Good!) and bake for about 35-45 minutes. You’ll want to start checking the cake at about 30minutes. At the end, the cake will have risen and be a bit squishy, but still firm. The middle will look dry and slightly cracked.
6. While the cake is cooking, you’ll want to make the glaze. Take your 2/3 cups of coffee or cola and put it into a saucepan. Turn the heat to medium and bring it to a gentle boil. Once it is boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the 1 1/4 cups of chocolate chips. Stir it with your spatula until the chocolate has melted and it has smoothed out into a glaze. If it seems a bit liquid-y, add more chocolate until it is the consistency you like.
7. Cool the cake in the pan for 20 minutes. After that, you will want to cool it on a wire rack. If you have a springform pan, you can just pop the sides off and put the base right on the cooling rack. The cake will probably slump a little in the middle as it cools. That is ok, it just holds the glaze on better!
***If you have a standard cake pan, you’ll want to run a knife around the edge and carefully flip the cake onto a plate. I recommend a plate instead of going straight to the cooling rack because this cake is STICKY and doesn’t stay together particularly well when it first comes out. If you read the intro you’ll see I’m speaking from experience!***
8. Once the cake and glaze is fully cool, you can pour the glaze on top and spread it across and down the sides of the cake. Of course, you’ll want to add the Matzah Crunch! I recommend crushing some up and spreading it on the sides and using other shards to decorate the top. This cake only gets better with some time in the fridge.