Chocolate cake

Make this simple flourless chocolate cake recipe for Passover


Aunt Louise’s Flourless Chocolate Cake | Photo courtesy of Alon’s Bakery

Aunt Louise’s Flourless Chocolate Cake | Photo courtesy of Alon’s Bakery

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Chocolate babka, honey cake, rugelach, there is no shortage of delicious Jewish sweets. When Passover rolls around in the spring, however, the star of the dessert table is most likely flourless chocolate cake.

For the uninitiated, Passover (this year, April 15-23) is the holiday that celebrates the Jewish exodus from slavery in Egypt. The eight-day festival prohibits the eating of fermented cereals – wheat, oats, spelled, barley, rye and any food or drink products containing them are removed from the house before the start of the holiday. The only exception: matzo. Made from a combination of flour and water, matzo is symbolic of the unleavened flatbread the Jews took with them into the desert because they had no time to let the loaves rise before escaping. .

A flourless chocolate cake therefore completely avoids the wheat problem. And Alon Balshan’s recipe offers a decadent version for the holidays (or anytime, really).

Balshan, owner of Alon’s Bakery in Atlanta, is inspired by his flourless chocolate cake from his Aunt Louise. His cake wasn’t flourless, but it was his signature dessert that he loved. “I grew up with this cake and I loved this cake. We all made it as a family. It’s inspirational. I made it myself and a little different, but it’s is where the inspiration comes from,” says Balshan.

Balshan now serves a flourless riff on Louise’s cake (it’s even called “the chocolate Louise” in her honor). Her cake features a rich chocolate base with a custard filling, in which Balshan blends into the praline and hazelnut paste. “The cake is more like a crémeux, which is like a cream chocolate, so it has a velvety texture,” says Balshan. He sells it all year round, but it becomes especially popular during Passover, when people entertain or bring treats to guest houses.

“The cake is more of a creamy, cream-like chocolate, so it has a velvety texture.”

“I tend to think that the whole concept of flourless chocolate cake evolved from the nut flour cakes that have been around for centuries in the Mediterranean,” says Tori Avey, founder of her eponymous recipe site, which interested in the history of food. Flourless cakes remind Avey of his trips to the Mediterranean where spring treats like torta caprese and tenerina (a brownie-like cake) use almonds and other nuts. “Almonds are deeply associated with spring in Italy, and that also makes almond flour cakes a good seasonal choice for Passover,” she says.

When it comes to baking a flourless chocolate cake, there are a few different methods you should know. Some recipes call for baking the cake in a double boiler, which protects the cake and helps it cook evenly. Others rely on cocoa powder. Balshan’s recipe, however, uses potato starch. There is no wrong method and it is up to you which one you prefer. “Certain techniques can help keep these types of cakes from becoming too heavy and dense,” says Avey. “In my own chocolate almond flour cake, egg whites are incorporated to keep the batter nice and light.”

Avey also incorporates almond flour into her chocolate crackle cake recipe. “Adding almond flour lightens the texture of the cake and really gives it a nice crumb. Plus, nutritionally, it adds some nice proteins and healthy fats to balance out the sugar in the recipe, so your blood sugar won’t rise as much as it would with a flourless nut-free cake,” she says.

To make Balshan’s Flourless Chocolate Cake, you’ll need potato starch for the soufflé base, which adds body and texture in place of wheat flour. The cream filling takes precision, but the result is a gourmet treat that’s well worth it, whether you’re celebrating Passover or just baking your cake in the kitchen.

Aunt Louise’s Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe

The chocolate soufflé:

• 300 grams of chocolate, 62%
• 200 grams of butter
• 110 grams of egg yolks
• 115 grams of powdered sugar
• 12 grams of potato starch
• 150 grams of egg white
• 50 grams of sugar

1. Heat the oven to 500 degrees.
2. Melt the chocolate with the butter, add the egg yolks, powdered sugar and potato starch. Mix well.
3. Whisk egg whites with sugar until soft. Fold in the batter, then pour into a flexible mold about 3 inches in diameter. You need to leave space for about half the height of the mold to cover with cream later. Alternatively: use a 10 inch ring and put about 1 inch of dough.
4. Bake individuals about 5 minutes (cake will look soft and uncooked, but it’s done). For large cakes bake 7 minutes. Let cool completely.

Chocolate cream:

• 165 grams of milk
• 165 grams of heavy cream
• 40 grams of sugar
• 65 grams of egg yolks
• 70 grams of chocolate, 62%
• 20 grams of unsweetened chocolate
• 120 grams of milk chocolate
• 20 grams of hazelnut paste

1. Heat the milk and cream to a strong simmer, then reduce the heat to low.
2. In a separate bowl, mix the egg yolk with the sugar for about 5 minutes by hand. Add a little hot liquid to the egg yolk mixture, then gradually stir into the hot milk and cream. Keep stirring and keep on low, cook to 181 degrees (must be very quick or your egg will overcook and curdle).
3. Immediately add the chocolate to the pastry cream and blend using an immersion blender. Add the hazelnut paste and continue mixing until completely smooth and homogeneous. While still hot, add it to the cooled cake, you should have about half an inch of cream on top of the cake.
4. Freeze until set, then unmold from pan. It’s ready to serve.

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Lia Picard is an Atlanta-based journalist who writes about food, travel, and a variety of other topics.

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