The rules of cake engagement

This Passover chocolate cake is reformatted from an old favorite, swapping ground almonds for flour, and vegetable oil for butter and cream. The simple chocolate cake turned out simply delicious.

  • Pin It

Flourless chocolate cake (Bill Hogan, Chicago Tribune / March 11, 2010)

The rule is a bossy know-it-all. Consider the speed limit, stop sign or recommended daily allowance. Well intentioned. But exasperating. Who wouldn't rather drive 80, unfettered, while singlehandedly dispatching the chocolate cake?

The rule roosts everywhere. No parking. No texting. No cash. No fats. No carbs. No high waists or low riders. Who can keep up?

Even dinner hour, sweet spot in the rule-bound day, seems to be knuckling under. Not that I've got anything against napkin on lap or try one bite. But the strict diet is strictly beyond my ken. Who's got the fortitude?

My father-in-law. He visited last spring break. He brought along his adherence to the rules of kosher. And the rules-within-rules that govern kosher-for- Passover. I did my best to comply. Which is to say I let him do all the cooking.

Eventually I offered to make dessert. He read me his restrictions: No flour, no butter, no cream. Which put me in direct opposition to my own principles, which call for flour, butter and cream in almost everything.

I reformatted an old favorite, swapping ground almonds for flour, and vegetable oil for butter and cream. The simple chocolate cake turned out simply delicious. Proving that some rules rule. Like that reformatted old favorite: Sometimes, less is more.

Leah Eskin is a Tribune special contributor.

Nothing cake

Prep: 20 minutes Bake: 40 minutes Makes: 12 servings

Handy when flour, butter and cream are contraindicated. For kosher or kosher-for-Passover compliance, check the rules with your rabbi.

12 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened!) chocolate

2/3 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup sugar

5 eggs, separated

1/3 cup almond meal

Kosher for Passover confectioners' sugar

Melt: Break up chocolate and settle in a large heavy saucepan along with the oil. Melt. Cool slightly.

Mix: Stir in sugar. Stir in egg yolks. Stir in almond meal.

Fluff: Beat egg whites just until they form firm peaks.

Fold: Stir one-third of the egg whites into the chocolate batter. Gently and thoroughly fold in remaining whites.

Bake: Pour batter into a lightly oiled 9 1/2-inch springform pan set on a baking sheet. Slide onto the middle rack of a 350-degree oven. Bake until firm and springy, 25-30 minutes. Cool. Release. Dust with confectioners' sugar. Voila!

Provenance: Adapted from my old standby, almost-perfect chocolate cake.
  • Pin It

Search our recipe database:

Search Recipes  

Food Trends, Tips & Recipes

Season your turkey with Cuban flavors

Season your turkey with Cuban flavors

Give thanks for a turkey seasoned with memories.

Dressed in black

Halloween fare dressed in black

Set an elegant tone come Oct. 31 for a grown-up Halloween dinner with noir-hued dishes.

EATINGWELL: Healthy caramel apple needn't be short on taste

Healthy caramel apple that's not short on taste

This healthy caramel apple recipe has just enough caramel to give a nice hit of salty-sweet flavor in each bite for a tasty dessert.

Rich pumpkin tart without using dairy

Rich pumpkin tart without using dairy

A cheesecake-like pumpkin tart made vegan with tofu is flavorful and rich.