This isn’t a flourless cake, hence the quotes around flourless in the title. It does include flour, but it’s flour turned into a form acceptable for Passover. There are a whole lot of rules for baking at Passover. As I am not at all observant, I make a cake because it tastes good. I would never recommend a cake just because it is Kosher for Passover.
Passover may be halfway over now but if you are like me, that can of matzoh cake meal is still mostly full, because how many cakes are you going to bake and eat in a week? Here is a cake that tastes great AND helps you use up that can of matzoh cake meal. In fact, it’s so good, I would make this when it’s not Passover. If you don’t have matzoh cake meal, I’ll bet it will work just fine with cake flour instead.
It’s a variation on a classic chocolate-almond torte. Lots of butter, lots of chocolate, lots of eggs – separated so that the whites provide the leavening. Instead of the small amount of flour in such a torte, it contains matzoh cake meal. Which is flour made into matzoh turned back into flour. Yeah, it’s one of the imponderables of religion.
“Flourless” Chocolate-Almond Torte with Dried Cherry-Almond Glaze
For the cake:
butter or margarine for greasing the pan
2 sticks(½ pound) butter or margarine, at room temperature
8 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
¾ cup slivered almonds, toasted (see Note)
1 cup sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt
6 eggs, at room temperature, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup matzoh cake meal
For the glaze:
½ cup dried sour cherries
¼ cup Kirschwasser (cherry brandy)
1 cup sugar
½ cup slivered almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
Grease the bottom of a 9″ x 3″ springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment. Grease the parchment and the sides of the pan. Set aside.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Melt the chocolate in a medium bowl set over a saucepan of hot, barely simmering water. Remove the chocolate from the heat and set aside.
Meanwhile, process the almonds in a food processor until finely ground and set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or with an electric hand mixer), beat the butter with ¾ cup of the sugar and the salt on medium speed until soft and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and mix on medium-low speed until smooth. Gently fold in the chocolate, ground almonds, and matzo cake meal.
In another large bowl, using the whisk attachment or clean beaters, beat the egg whites on high speed until they form soft peaks. Add the remaining ¼ cup sugar and beat until the egg whites form stiff peaks.
In three batches, use a rubber spatula to gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spread evenly, and bake until the top starts to brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just some moist crumbs attached, 40-45 minutes.
While the cake is baking, soak the cherries in the liqueur in a small bowl. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the pan to release the cake from the pan. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes.
While the cake is cooling, make the glaze: In a heavy-based medium saucepan, stir the sugar and ½ cup water together over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to medium high and cook, swirling occasionally and brushing down the sides of a pan with a wet pastry brush to wash down any sugar crystals, until the caramel turns a deep, amber brown. Carefully add ¼ cup water (it will bubble a lot; be careful as it is VERY hot), and whisk together until the mixture acquires an even, syrupy consistency. Drain the cherries and then stir them into the caramel, along with the chopped almonds.
Remove the sides of the springform pan. Using a second rack, flip the cake over and remove the bottom of the pan. Peel off the parchment paper. Place a 12″ cake plate over the cake and flip to get the cake on the plate. Pour the caramel mixture evenly over the cake, distributing the cherries evenly over the top. The glaze will spill over the sides. Let the cake cool completely to room temperature before serving.
Note: To toast the almonds, place them in a small baking pan in a 325°F oven for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally so they toast evenly. Watch carefully once they start to brown because they can burn quickly.
Altitude Adjustment (5400 ft.):
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- When beating egg whites, beat to very soft peaks before adding the sugar. Once the sugar is added, only beat to soft peaks.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F when you place the cake in the oven.