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Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Cake to Die For

I have to start by saying that I look at Passover, which begins at sundown on April 18th, as a low-carb holiday.  I'm not a matzo eater so I just do without the bread and pasta.  It's a meat and veggie time for me.  The only exception I make to the Adkins/South Beach approach to Passover  is for macaroons, which I love year round, and this really decadent chocolate cake.

This cake has a good story.  Back when I first got married and had absolutely no culinary skills, I decided to take a cooking class.  Never mind learning how to roast a chicken, I took a baking class taught by Donald Wressell.  Donald, who was then the pastry chef at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles, was just at the beginning of his career and is now a HUGE deal in the pastry world.  He's won zillions of awards.   Nothing like over reaching one's skill level.  There were all these professional pastry chefs in the class and me.  Needless to say, I was outclassed in every culinary way possible.

I recognized my situation very quickly, when on the first day of class everyone went around and gave a brief bio of themselves.  "Hi, I'm Joe Pastry Chef and I work at (name your fancy restaurant or hotel)."  I was in real trouble.  When it was my turn, I did what any self respecting Santa Monica newlywed would do.  I went to the bathroom, thus avoiding the "Hi, I'm Nadine and I have no idea what I'm doing here" speech.

The good news in all this was that it was a demonstration class so I never actually had to do anything besides watch and learn.  And I did.  I came out of that class armed with a bunch of fancy schmancy recipes that I have only mastered in more recent years.  Hey, you live and learn.

One of the recipes Donald demonstrated was this one for flourless chocolate cake.  It takes flourless chocolate cake to a whole new level.  Do not be put off by the 18 egg yolks.  Yes, you heard me right.  There are 18 egg yolks in this cake.   The cake is amazing and really spruces up the dessert offerings at a sedar.  I'm not saying the Passover brownies aren't tasty but this cake is better.  Really.  It's worth the calories and the cholesterol.  Have a small piece and you'll avoid the emergency room and an angioplasty.

And, if you're not a Passover person, make the cake anyway.  It's not actually a Passover cake.  I just adopted it as such because it's sans flour.  I'm probably breaking some other kosher rules with it anyway.

Recipe:  Flourless Chocolate Cake
(Donald Wressell)

Note:  You can use the whites of the eggs for your macaroons.  Tomorrow I'll pass along my favorite recipe for those.


1 pound 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
12 ounces unsalted butter
18 egg yolks
4 ounces granulated sugar
3 ounces cocoa powder


Preheat the oven to 325F.  Butter and flour a 10 inch round baking pan.  Line the bottom with parchment paper.

In a double boiler over simmering water, melt the chocolate with the butter.  Let cool slightly.

In a stand mixer, whip the egg yolks with the sugar until very light, about 5 minutes.  Fold the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg sugar mixture.  Sift in the cocoa powder.  On medium speed, beat the mixture just to combine.  Mixture will appear fudgy and heavy.

Transfer to prepared pan and bake in a water bath for 25 minutes.

Sift more cocoa powder or confectioner's sugar on top of cake to serve, if desired.


  1. 18 eggs.. O.K. won't be put off. Sounds fabulous. I'm a big fan of flourless chocolate cake, and I was asked to bring my cake. http://dyingforchocolate.blogspot.com/2009/04/flourless-chocolate-cake.html

    But I've also added others: http://dyingforchocolate.blogspot.com/2010/04/another-fabulous-flourless-chocolate.html

    Would you like to do a guest post this week on DyingforChocolate with this recipe? I'm thinking of trying it, too, for next week's seder.

  2. That is one decadent flour-less chocolate cake, Nadine. I'd love to see you do a guest post over at Janet's. As a matter of fact, Dying for Chocolate is the perfect place to show case such decadence, passover person or not:)

    Thanks for sharing...