Passover (and Gluten Free) birthday cake: Flourless Chocolate Torte

Just because your birthday falls during Passover shouldn’t mean you’re deprived of a celebratory cake.

I make a birthday cake for my father every year but this year his birthday landed in the middle of Passover.  That means flour is out, and gone with flour are delicious options like carrot and red velvet, my past go-to cakes.

Now there are plenty of delicious Passover friendly desserts.  I typically make the traditional sponge cake, or coconut macaroons, or on occasion, French style macarons, all of which are made sans flour (and gluten).  Even cheesecake works if you adjust the crust recipe.  But I’ve never attempted a Passover friendly birthday cake until now.

I settled on a multi-layer flourless chocolate torte.  Between each layer I spread luscious chocolate ganache and a seedless raspberry jam for added kick, then garnished with blackberries to add a touch of Spring.  I’m not much of a cake decorator (I lack the patience for precision work), but hopefully Dad will be pleased when he sees his cake.

This one took a few hours, and working with chocolate is always messy business.  Be warned.

Flourless Chocolate Torte (Passover Friendly and Gluten Free)

Serves 6
Prep time 3 hours
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 3 hours, 20 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Dessert
Occasion Birthday Party

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 1/4 cup Butter (Unsalted, softened to room temperature)
  • 1 1/4 cup Sugar or Evaporated Cane Juice
  • 9 Eggs (separate whites and yolks, room temperature)
  • 10 oz Semi-sweet chocolate (Grated in food processor)
  • 2 3/4 cups Almond meal (aka blanched almond flour)

Cake (Optional)

  • 1 jar Raspberry fruit spread (Spreadable, no seeds if possible)

Ganache

  • 16 oz Semi-sweet chocolate (Use good quality bulk chocolate like Vahlrona)
  • 1 1/2 cup Heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons Butter

Simple syrup

  • 1/2 cup Sugar or Evaporated Cane Juice
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract

Note

For my cake, I doubled the recipe and made two sheet trays of cake.  I cut each in half and ended up with four layers.  For the recipe below, you'll end up with 6 smaller layers (about 6"x6" each).

Note, you may have extra ganache. Save it for dipping strawberries!

Recipe inspired by Cooking Channel.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13"x18" cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with non-stick spray. Line with parchment paper.
2. Shave the chocolate using the grater attachment in your food processor. You can also use a box grater (slower), but you want the chocolate in nice thin flakes so it absorbs easily into the dough.
3.
In a bowl, cream the butter, sugar and egg yolks together using your mixer's paddle attachment, on medium speed until light lemon yellow and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
4.
Add the shaved chocolate and almond meal and mix on low until evenly distributed, then on medium until well incorporated, another minute. Set dough aside in another large bowl and clean the bowl of your stand mixer.
5.
In the clean bowl, whip the egg whites using the whisk attachment until soft peaks form (see picture: turn your whisk around, the crest of the wave should fall over but should not be too runny for "soft peak" stage, do not overmix).
6.
Using a spatula, add 1/3 of egg whites to chocolate batter and fold in gently. This first third will loosen up the tough batter so don't worry too much about losing all the air from your egg whites. Add another 1/3 of egg whites and fold in, then do the same with the last 1/3 of egg whites.
7.
Pour the batter into the parchment lined sheet and spread with spatula so it is very evenly distributed.
8. Bake for about 20 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove and let cool completely.
9. While cake is baking, make the simple syrup. Bring sugar and water to simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar. Simmer 3-5 minutes. Add vanilla and let cool.
10.
Once cool, the cake should pull away from the pan edges, if not, run a knife around it. Place another sheet tray inside your cake tray and invert, so the cake flips over onto the clean sheet tray. Slowly peel off the parchment paper.
11.
Make the ganache. Place cream in pot and bring to gentle simmer. Turn off heat and add grated chocolate and butter. Let sit for a few minutes, then stir very gently until smooth (you don't want to get air bubbles in your ganache). Let cool for 15-20 minutes so it can thicken.
12.
When cake is cooled, gently brush on simple syrup with pastry brush all over top and sides of cake. This makes the cake moist.
13.
When ganache has cooled and thickened slightly, pour enough ganache over your cake to cover with a nice even layer, spreading with an offset spatula. Place cake in refridgerator for 20 minutes to cool and thicken ganache.
14.
Remove cake from refrigerator. If you made just one batch, cut the cake into thirds along the width (if you used a 13"x18" pan, each third will be about 6"x13"). Using a small offset spatula, spread raspberry jam (if using) evenly over 2 of the pieces. Then spread the raspberry jam over just 1/2 of the third piece (because you don't want jam over the top layer). NOTE: I doubled the recipe (and made 2 sheet trays of cake). For my cake here, I cut each tray in half and ended up with just 4 layers. I spread jam over 3 of the 4 layers).
15.
Carefully lift each piece and stack them on top of each other, putting the piece spread with jam on only half of it on the top. You now have three layers. Carefully cut through all three layers to make six. Stack them together (making sure the top layer does not have jam).
16.
If you have mixmatched sides, cut them carefully so you have nice sharp edges around the four corners.
17. Take a clean sheet try and line it with plastic wrap. Then place a metal cooling rack (if you have one) inside the sheet tray. Carefully place the torte on top of the cooling rack. Pour the ganache carefully over top of the tort, trying to make sure it drips evenly down to coat all of the sides. Your cake will come out cleaner and prettier if you don't have to use a spatula to spread the ganache, but let it pour over the sides on its own. You can pick up the left over ganache that drips on the plastic wrap and repour if you need.
18.
Let cool in refrigerator until ganache sets. Then decorate. Garnish with fresh berries if desired.

Comments

  1. This was the best birthday cake of them all. I loved it, ate most of it myself.

    Thank you my lovely daughter, you are the best.

    I love you,

    Dad

  2. Looks good …and yummy !! Could you give Conversi Metric for 1 cup plain flour = …..g 1cup butter =……..g 1cup almound powder =……g 1 sup sugar =…….g

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