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For Passover: Apple Matzo Cake

Posted by Michelle on 4/12/2014
Passover is an important Biblically-derived Jewish festival. The Jewish people celebrate Passover as a commemoration of their liberation over 3,300 years ago by God from slavery in ancient Egypt that was ruled by the Pharaohs, and their birth as a nation under the leadership of Moses. It commemorates the story of the Exodus as described in the Hebrew Bible especially in the Book of Exodus, in which the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt.  Called the "festival [of] the matzos" in the Hebrew Bible, the commandment to keep Passover is recorded in the Book of Leviticus. 

Chametz (“leavening") is made from one of five types of grains combined with water and left to stand for more than eighteen minutes. The consumption, keeping, and owning of chametz is forbidden during Passover. Yeast and fermentation are not themselves forbidden as seen for example by wine, which is required, rather than merely permitted. According to Halakha, the ownership of such chametz is also proscribed.

Chametz does not include baking soda, baking powder or like products. Although these are defined in English as leavening agents, they leaven by chemical reaction, not by biological fermentation. Thus, bagels, waffles and pancakes made with baking soda and matzo meal are considered permissible, while bagels made with sourdough and pancakes and waffles made with yeast are prohibited.

Matzo meal in place of flour gives this cake its light texture. Make your own matzo meal by processing plain matzo pieces in a food processor until they are finely ground. For an extra-airy cake, squeeze as much juice from the apples as possible. You can serve this sweet, light cake at Passover every year. It's a hit with adults and kids alike.
1.            Nonstick spray
2.            3 large eggs, separated, plus 3 large yolks
3.            1 cup brown sugar
4.            1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
5.            3 cups grated Granny Smith apples (from 6 peeled apples), squeezed dry
6.            1 cup matzo meal
7.            2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
8.            1 tablespoon plum brandy, such as Slivovitz, or regular brandy
9.            2 tablespoons honey
10.        1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat an 8-inch springform pan with nonstick spray. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat 6 egg yolks, sugar, and salt until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Fold in apples, matzo meal, lemon zest, and brandy.

In another medium bowl, with clean beaters, beat 3 egg whites until stiff peaks form, about 4 minutes. With a rubber spatula, gently fold egg whites into apple mixture and transfer batter to pan. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with pecans. Bake until golden brown and set in center, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cake cool completely in pan on a wire rack. To serve, run a small knife around edge of pan, remove cake, and slice.  

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