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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Passover Sponge Cake Flavored with Citrus Zest

Seasonal Recipe of the Week
Passover cakes are special because they do not allow the use of traditional ingredients like flour and baking soda or baking powder. That leaves us with egg whites as our rising ingredient and matzoh meal and potato starch as our main ingredients. But do not fear, we can do it! All you need to know is not to follow the directions when it comes to the egg whites and you should have success.

So, here is a recipe for a classic Passover sponge cake flavored with citrus zest and optional nuts. When my Father’s mother baked sponge cake she used to tell my dad, ”close the window”, and he would ask “why?” and she would say because “I am going to open the oven door and check the cake, and it's so light it might fly out the window.”

Ingredients
12 eggs separated, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
grated rind of 1 lemon
grated rind of 1 orange
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup potato flour
1 cup matzoh meal cake flour
pinch salt

Procedure
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Using and electric mixer beat the egg yolks til frothy and light lemon color then and add a pinch of salt. Add sugar gradually. Next add the orange juice and lemon and orange zest. Add nuts if desired. In a medium bowl, sift together the potato flour and the matzoh meal cake flour. Add to the yolk mixture.
Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl with a pinch of salt. Beat whites till soft peaks form. That is the major altitude adjustment right there. If you take them to stiff peaks, your cake will definitely fall, trust me! Now fold the whites into the yolk mixture gently and pour batter into an ungreased 10 inch angel food pan. Bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and cool upside down. Run a knife around the outside of the pan to release it and turn onto a flat plate.