The Shabbat table – Popular Passover picks for dessert

Chocolate sponge cake (Wikimedia Commons photo - Bongo Vongo -

Good Shabbos, Shabbat Shalom, Chag Sameach! Passover is nearly over and there has been an incredible amount of sharing of recipes through all forms of social media, including my busy Facebook group, Norene’s Kitchen! I thought I would share a few of their most popular picks for Passover desserts that they served to family and friends, along with some tips for success. Happy baking!


  • To replace 1 cup of flour in baking, use 5/8–3/4 cup (10–12 Tbsp potato starch or cake meal (or a combination sifted together).
  • Another option is to use 3/4 cup ground almonds and 1/4 cup potato starch for each cup of flour. Some experimentation may be necessary to achieve the desired results.
  • Almond Meal: To replace 1 cup of cake meal in Passover sponge cakes, use 1 cup of finely ground almonds/almond meal.
  • Passover Icing Sugar: Process 1 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 Tbsp potato starch on the Steel Blade of your food processor (or in a blender) for 2–3 minutes, until pulverized. Texture will be grainier than icing sugar. Makes 1 cup icing sugar.
  • Passover baking powder and baking soda are gluten-free/non-gebrocht. The Passover versions contain potato starch whereas regular baking powder and baking powder contain cornstarch.
  • Leftover potato starch? Use it to thicken gravies, sauces, and puddings/kugels. Substitute 1 Tbsp potato starch for 1 Tbsp cornstarch or 2 Tbsp flour/matzo meal. Potato starch and ground almonds can also be used as a coating for fish or chicken and are gluten-free.
  • Eggs-Actly! When separating eggs, they should be cold for best results. Egg whites will whip up to maximum volume if they are at room temperature. Make sure to use clean, grease-free beaters and a glass or metal bowl, not plastic, when whipping egg whites.
  • Pan-tastic! If your tube pan doesn’t have a removable bottom, just line the bottom of the pan with waxed paper or baking parchment that has been cut to fit.
  • Leftover Sponge Cake? Layer cut-up cubes of cake with fruit and whipped cream (dairy or pareve) to make trifle! Slices of stale sponge cake can be used to make French toast.


Adapted from The Healthy Jewish Kitchen: Fresh, Contemporary Recipes for Every Occasion by Paula Shoyer (Sterling Epicure)

Gluten-free | Pareve

Baking maven Paula Shoyer writes: “I had heard the myth of chocolate cakes made with cooked quinoa and didn’t quite believe they’d actually be tasty. This cake is surprisingly moist and delicious—great for Passover and all year round.”



3/4 cup (130 g) quinoa

1 1/2 cups (360 ml) water

Cooking spray

2 Tbsp potato starch

1/3 cup (80 ml) orange juice (from 1 orange)

4 large eggs

2 tsp Passover vanilla extract

3/4 cup (180 ml) coconut oil

1 1/2 cups (300 g) sugar

1 cup (80 g) dark unsweetened cocoa

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 oz (55 g) bittersweet chocolate

Fresh raspberries, for garnish (optional)


Glaze (optional):

5 oz (140 g) bittersweet chocolate

1 Tbsp sunflower or safflower oil

1 tsp Passover vanilla extract


  1. Place the quinoa and water into a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover the saucepan, and cook the quinoa for 15 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Set the pan aside. The quinoa may be made 1 day in advance.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Use cooking spray to grease a 12-cup (2.8L) Bundt pan. Sprinkle the potato starch over the greased pan and then shake the pan to remove any excess starch.
  3. Place the quinoa in the bowl of a food processor. Add the orange juice, eggs, vanilla, oil, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt and process until the mixture is very smooth.
  4. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler, or place in a medium microwave-safe bowl, and put in a microwave for 45 seconds, stirring and then heating the chocolate for another 30 seconds, until it is melted. Add the chocolate to the quinoa batter and process until well mixed. Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and bake it for 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  5. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes and then remove it gently from the pan. Let it cool on a wire cooling rack.
  6. To make the glaze, melt the chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl in the microwave (see above) or over a double boiler. Add the oil and vanilla and whisk well. Let the glaze sit for 5 minutes and then whisk it again. Use a silicone spatula to spread the glaze all over the cake.

Serves 12



Gluten-free | Pareve


10 eggs, separated

1 cup sugar, divided use

1/2 cup oil

3/4 cup potato starch

1 pkg (3.3 oz) Passover instant chocolate or vanilla pudding

Passover icing sugar and grated chocolate to garnish (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Place egg whites in large bowl of electric mixer and bring to room temperature.
  2. Beat whites on high speed, gradually adding 1/2 cup sugar. Beat until stiff, about 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside.
  3. In another large bowl (or food processor), beat egg yolks with remaining 1/2 cup of sugar until well mixed. Add oil and beat until light. Add pudding mix and potato starch and mix just until combined. Batter will get very thick.
  4. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold whites into yolk mixture, just until whites disappear. Make sure to fold in thick batter at bottom of bowl.
  5. Pour batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan, preferably one with a removable bottom. (See Tip, below.) Bake at 350ºF 1 hour.
  6. Immediately invert pan and cool completely.
  7. Use a flexible metal spatula (or a knife) to loosen cake from sides, center tube and bottom of pan. Remove cake carefully from pan and transfer to a cake platter.
  8. If desired, sprinkle lightly with icing sugar and grated chocolate.

Makes about 15 slices. Freezes well.



Gluten-free | Pareve

Adapted from The Silver Platter: Simple to Spectacular by Daniella Silver and Norene Gilletz (Artscroll/Shaar Press)

Daniella’s friend Chayala Bistricer often makes this beautiful gluten-free cake for Shabbat. For an added garnish, she sprinkles candied nuts around the cake. If you have nut allergies, garnish with berries, mint leaves, or parve whipped cream.


8 oz/250 g semisweet chocolate or chocolate chips

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

8 eggs, separated

1 cup sugar, divided


  1. Preheat oven to 325° F. Coat a 9- or 10-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Combine chocolate, oil, and vanilla in a medium saucepan over low heat. Melt chocolate, stirring often. Cool to lukewarm.
  3. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat egg yolks on high speed for 3-5 minutes. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar; continue beating until light. Add yolk mixture to cooled chocolate; mix well.
  4. Wash and dry beaters and bowl. Fit mixer with whisk attachment. Place egg whites into bowl; beat on medium speed for 3–5 minutes, until frothy. Increase speed to high; gradually add remaining sugar. Beat until stiff.
  5. Fold batter into meringue, just until no traces of white remain.
  6. Pour three-quarters of batter into prepared pan; spread evenly, using a rubber spatula. Cover and refrigerate remaining batter. (See Norene’s Notes, below.) Bake 30-35 minutes, until top of cake is set when touched lightly with your fingertips. Cool completely. The cake will sink somewhat.
  7. Stir refrigerated batter to soften it slightly. Spread evenly over top of cake. Cover pan tightly with foil; freeze.
  8. Before serving, transfer cake to a flat round platter and remove sides of springform pan.

Makes 12 servings

Norene’s Notes:

  • Safety Note: The batter used as a topping contains uncooked eggs. If desired, bake the entire batter, increasing baking time by 10-15 minutes. When cool, cover tightly with foil and freeze until serving time.