Passover typically brings dessert dilemmas. Along with seder rituals and matzo comes the dreaded no “regular” flour rule. That makes it difficult to bake a cake with body. Until now. This Passover Orange-Scented Loaf Cake actually has taste and cakey texture, along with an enticing aroma.
Plain it is a breakfast or brunch treat. Add fruit and it’s a light dinner dessert. And with chocolate ganache – well, the chocolate and orange combination says it all.
This cake is a take-off on my Easy Citrus Ginger Loaf Cake. But with a moist crumb more reminiscent of my Almond Chocolate Loaf, And since it’s made with almond flour and has no chocolate, some might say it’s a cousin to my Almond Coconut Cake. Whatever its genealogy, this Passover Orange-Scented Cake is a winner.
There are two “secrets” to this cake. OK, maybe secrets is an overstatement. But definitely two things that make it not-your-average Passover cake. The first is in the flavoring; the second has to do with how it rises.
Passover Orange-Scented Loaf Cake “Secrets”
- Taking the orange flavor up a notch. This star of this show is its orange-ness. From the scent and taste, to the flecks of orange rind, it shows off this delectable fruit to its best advantage. But there is also a secret flavoring that enhances the orange flavor in a way that is amazing, yet indescribable (at least by me) – Fiori di Sicilia (flowers of Sicily). I got mine from King Arthur. However, you can make your own if you prefer. You could even play around with my friend Faith’s Fiori di Sicilia-inspired syrup.
- Baking powder – yes, it is kosher for Passover. I was completely amazed to realize that both baking soda and baking powder are kosher for Passover, according to many, including Orthodox Jewish rabbinic authorities. The original prohibition was on breads and sweets that rise by fermentation, as in yeast. So baking powder and baking soda, which leaven with a chemical reaction, not fermentation, are permitted. However, strictly kosher folks would only use “Kosher for Passover” baking powder made without cornstarch. (If you want it and don’t have a nearby grocery that carries this holiday-specific kosher item, you can get it through Amazon.) I don’t follow kosher guidelines during the rest of the year, so for myself, I’ve decided that “regular” baking powder is OK.
Passover Orange-Scented Loaf Cake
A Passover delight that has orange in every bite, filling up all of your senses.
- 4 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 & 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 large pinch salt, preferably fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia
- 1 tablespoon grated orange zest From 1-2 oranges
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons matzo cake meal
- 3/4 cup almond flour or meal
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 5 & 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
In a medium-large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, salt, almond extract, and Fiori di Sicilia for about 1 minute until well combined. Add the grated orange zest and set aside.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together the matzo cake meal, almond flour or meal, and baking powder.
In 3 batches, using a strainer or sifter, sift the dry ingredients over the wet ones, whisking to combine each batch before adding the next.
Whisk in the heavy cream. Then fold in (using a spatula to keep from disturbing the batter too much) the melted butter.
Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for approximately 70 minutes or until a toothpick or thin skewer comes out clean. Cool for 10-15 minutes in the pan before turning the loaf out on a wire rack to continue cooling.
In a pinch, you can substitute 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla for the Fiori di Sicilia, but I'd advise making your own if you don't buy it.
For almond extract tips, see my son Liam's taste test.
To get a good crumb on this cake, you must use matzo cake meal, not matzo meal. (The latter is a coarser ground.) Also, use the finest ground almond meal or flour. In the alternative, if you don't have matzo cake meal, put matzo meal and almond meal or flour in a food processor and process them for about 1 minute.
While I prefer heavy cream, you can use whipping cream in this recipe.
By the way, if you’re an orange lover, as I am, you should really check out my friend Jamie Schler’s delightful cookbook, Orange Appeal. She grew up in orange heaven, a/k/a Florida, and really knows her oranges. Incorporating them into savory dishes (including a Passover-friendly heavenly baked chicken recipe that I posted) as well as sweet, Jamie even provides (not for Passover of course) a yeasted, rosemary orange-scented boule recipe.
Happy Passover, or as we say, chag sameach.