Earlier this week, I went home to celebrate Passover with my family. For those of you who don’t know, Passover is the Jewish holiday that celebrates the Jews’ exodus from slavery in Egypt. Traditionally, you have a seder, or mini-service, at the dinner table, with everyone reading the story of Passover aloud from a book called the Haggadah. You eat foods that play symbolic roles in the story, and then afterward you are rewarded with a giant (flourless) feast.
However, my family does things slightly different. My mom and grandparents take Passover seriously, and like to move through the service slowly and methodically. My siblings, on the other hand, like to speed-read through the Haggadah and jump right into the feast.
Usually after a couple of glasses of wine, the elder members of the family can be convinced to skip one or two pages…But then there are additional pauses when my Grandmother asks where Jesus was during the Jews’ exodus, and my Mom tries to make everyone sing Dayenu (a traditional Passover song).
Which is why I was happy that this year, I made the dessert. Despite the chaos of the service, I knew a delicious end was in sight: a warm, rich, flourless chocolate cake.
Passover foods are flourless to commemorate the Jews’ exodus, as they could only eat unleavened bread as they traveled through the dessert. For people like myself, cutting out flour for a week is something akin to torture, but this cake will make you forgot your flourless woes. The exterior is flaky and light, and the interior is rich and decadent enough to melt in your mouth…Almost like a cross between a piece of fudge and a moist chocolate brownie.
This is a Passover recipe I’ll be revisiting for many years to come.
Fallen Chocolate Cake (slightly adapted from Bon Appetit’s March 2013 issue)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch pieces, plus more, room temperature, for the pan
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar, divided, plus more for pan
10 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (61%-72% cacao), coarsely chopped (I used a mix of dark and bittersweet)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
6 large eggs
2 tbsp natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp kosher salt
Special Equipment: A 9 inch-diameter springform pan
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter springform pan and dust with sugar, tapping out any excess.
Combine chocolate, oil, and 1/2 cup butter in a large heatproof bowl. Set over a saucepan of simmering water and heat, stirring often, until melted. Remove bowl from saucepan.
Separate 4 eggs, placing whites and yolks in separate medium bowls. Add cocoa powder, vanilla, salt, 1/4 cup sugar, and remaining 2 eggs to bowl with yolks and whisk until mixture is smooth. Gradually whisk yolk mixture into chocolate mixture, blending well.
Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat egg whites until frothy. With mixer running, gradually beat in 1/2 cup sugar; beat until firm peaks form.
Gently fold egg whites into chocolate mixture in 2 additions, folding just until incorporated between additions. Scrape batter into prepared pan; smooth top and sprinkle with remaining 2 tbsp sugar.
Bake until top is puffed and starting to crack and cake is pulling away from edge of pan, 35-45 min. My cake took 40 min to bake, and don’t be alarmed if the top appears a bit jiggly or loose when you remove the cake from the oven; it will settle upon cooling.
Transfer to wire rack and let cake cool completely in pan (cake will collapse in the center and crack further as it cools.
Notes: Cake can be made 1 day ahead. Cover in pan and store airtight at room temperature.
There was a mascarpone topping that was included in original recipe, but I decided to garnish the cake with powdered sugar instead…Completely up to you, but I thought the cake was rich enough on its own.
A good pairing with the cake is sweetened mixed berries.