You know the story about the Jewish people wandering in the desert for 40 years? That’s how long I feel like I’ve been testing recipes for this Passover Menu I did for Good Morning America’s Food page. And like any Jewish mother, I could not stop with a few recipes. I had to have enough food to give a sturdy dining room table a hernia. It wouldn’t be a Jewish holiday otherwise!
And then, realizing I still have 6 cookbooks to giveaway from my Caesar’s Entertainment campaign I did in March, I looked through the gorgeous Seven Stars Cookbook to see if there could possibly be a Passover appropriate recipe anywhere to be found in Vegas. And whaddya know? A Passover cake from the famous pastry chef Francois Payot. He doesn’t say it’s a Passover cake, but this remarkably quick and easy combination of eggs, coconut, and sugar that magically combines to make an amazing and light macaroonish spongecake you then generously slather with lots of chocolate ganache, has no flour in it and thereby qualifies. If you serve this for Passover, you will immediately help your family heal from thousands of years of remembering suffering that happened thousands of years ago. One bite and your relatives will say “Enough already with the suffering! Life is good!”
Just five ingredients. The eggs and sugar get whipped into a creamy, pale yellow fluffy batter that was beautiful but not photogenic. In fact, all the steps of this recipe did not photograph well. Too white and creamy and well, blah. But the cake! The cake, when done, was golden and crispy and coconutty and buttery, without having any butter in it.
The simple chocolate ganache—just dark chocolate, milk chocolate and cream—make a decadent filling and frosting. Then, it’s just a matter of layering…
and toasting some coconut to dress up the sides…
I cut this before I cooled down the cake, so the ganache is still on the soft side. The layers are not as defined and perfect, but I kind of like it all gooey like this. If you cool it down for an hour or so before cutting you’ll get more straight-edged slices and defined layers…like this. (Though by now the light is fading in my kitchen and the photo is not as warm and delicious.)
I’m giving away all 6 books with this post in honor of the 8 days of Passover. That doesn’t make any sense, but then again, neither does the story about Moses parting the Red Sea and we like it anyway. To enter to win a copy of The Seven Stars Cookbook with recipes from top chefs from Caesars Entertainment properties such as John Besh, Bobby Flay, Paula Deen, Francois Payard, Paul Prudhomme, and Guy Savoy, just leave a comment answering this question:
What is your favorite Passover/Easter food, dish or treat?
And to find out more about Caesars Entertainment and their Total Rewards* program see the link below the recipe. Enjoy!
Flourless Chocolate Coconut Layer Cake
Adapted from Chef Francois Payard, Caesar’s Palace, The Seven Stars Cookbook
Coconut Sponge Cake
4 large eggs
1 ½ cups sugar
3 ½ cups unsweetened shredded dried coconut
10 ½ ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 ½ ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped*
1 2/3 cups heavy cream**
1 cup unsweetened shredded dried coconut, toasted (see note)
For the gananche: (Do ahead by at least 4 hours)
1. In a large bowl, combine the bittersweet and milk chocolates. In a medium saucepan, bring the cream to a boil then immediately pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk until completely melted and smooth. Cover the chocolate with plastic wrap, gently pressing the it directly onto the surface of the ganache. Let cool, then refrigerate until firm enough to pipe, about 4 hours.
For the cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 12½” by 17½” rimmed sheet pan or jelly roll pan with cooking spray, then line the pan with parchment paper.
2. Fill a medium saucepan on third full with water and bring to a simmer. Whisk together the eggs and sugar until blended. Place the bowl with the egg mixture over the pan of simmering water without letting the bowl touch the water, and whisk constantly until the egg mixture is warm to the touch.
3. Transfer the egg mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer, or using a hand mixer, beat on high setting until it has tripled in volume and become pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, fold the 3 ½ cups of coconut (non-toasted) into the egg mixture until just blended. Pour batter onto the prepared pan and spread it evenly in the pan with the spatula.
4. Bake the cake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top is a light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a small sharp knife around the sides of the pan to loosen the cake. Place a wire rack over the cake and invert. Carefully peel off the parchment paper (the cake is extremely delicate). Let cool completely.
1. Trim off any uneven edges of the cake to form a straight rectangle. Cut the rectangle crosswise into three equal rectangles, each measuring about 5 by 10 inches. Place one of the rectangles on a serving platter. (Unless you are a perfectly neat cake decorator, you may want to cut strips of aluminum foil or parchment to slide under the 4 edges of the cake to prevent smudging the platter with ganache. When you are finished assembling and decorating the cake, you can remove the strips and be left with a clean platter.) Using a small metal offset spatula, spread a generous layer of the ganache over the top of the cake layer. Cover ganache with second layer of cake and spread with ganache. Top the cake with the third layer and spread the ganache over the top and sides of cake.
2. The cake can be make up to 1 day ahead. Bring to room temperature before serving.
*For pareve preparation of the ganache, omit milk chocolate and use only dark, non-dairy-containing chocolate.
**For pareve preparation of the ganache substitute sweetened or unsweetened coconut milk instead of milk, and add a ¼ teaspoon of vanilla.
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