7 Layer Cake for Passover (Matzo Sponge Cake with Poppyseed Buttercream)

Passover Cake

Next week is the beginning of Passover. I love this holiday for the ritual, the gathering of wonderful people and the challenge to come up with new desserts worthy of the day. This cake was inspired by a conversation I had with Deb Perelman about Dobos Tortes, which is a cake made up of many layers (7 to be exact) of sponge cake, separated with chocolate buttercream and topped with a layer of caramel. It is a style of cake that is claimed by many cultures, each with a different name depending on heritage or the state you are standing in. Dobos Torte (Hungarian), Deberge Cake (New Orleans), Seven-Layer (I think of this as a Jewish cake from New York, but as soon as I write this, I’m sure I’ll hear from folks who will correct me) and Drum cake (I’ve never heard it called this before, but just read it on Wikipedia).

Purists beware, my cake is so loosely based on the cake I described above, that it will make some of you squirm. Stick with me, give it another name if you need to, but try this version, it is delicious. One of my very favorite Jewish desserts are poppy seed hamantashen, which I need to make for you soon. They are cookies stuffed with sweetened poppy seeds. I thought the poppy seeds would be a fantastic match for the layers of orange scented sponge cake and chocolate buttercream. It is also stunning to cut into the cake and see the speckled icing. I left off the caramel top and added chocolate shavings. But, if you want to add a bit of caramel, for tradition sake, then why not make a batch of my Caramel Matzo and use it to decorate the top.

Baking cakes without flour is something of a magic trick. The only saving grace to the baker during Passover is matzo cake meal, and it can be a touch overbearing if used all on its own. To create a sponge cake that is both delicious and light, adding a bit of potato starch to the recipe is key. (more…)

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My Aunt’s Birthday Cake flies to Florida!

Many of you may have read about my aunt Kristin in past posts. She is a true lover of food and cook books. In fact, she supplies me with a great number of the books that fill my shelves. That is saying a lot considering I own hundreds of them. In addition to the books she sends me articles and pictures of food, mostly pastry. She has been a constant source of inspiration. Her birthday is coming up and because she lives in FL I can’t be at the party. In my stead I sent a cake to the party. My father, who lives just blocks from me, carried the cake on his lap during his flight to see her. When I handed over the cake, all nestled safely in a cake box, my dad said “can’t you pack it with pop corn or bubble wrap?” I took a deep breath and said “No, dad you can’t pack a cake with bubble wrap!” LOL!

Happy Birthday Kristin! I love you bunches and hope the cake got to you in one piece and everyone enjoyed it!


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