I am of the opinion that Passover cakes defy the laws of physics. They consist of not much more than eggs and air, yet they rise into sturdy, spongy wonders. Or at least, the ones I see on television and across the Internet do.
My attempts have become spectacular disasters over the years: there was the time I used our host’s Nutribullet to grind nuts for the base of the cake and ended up with walnut butter, or the time I tried and failed to revive deflated egg whites that looked like thin, gritty soup instead of the voluminous clouds I needed.
But something special happens when you beat whole eggs for a good while, gradually adding sugar and then a bit of oil until thickened. Fold in a little matzo meal and bake longer than you would ever imagine (over an hour) and the result is a fairly well lifted cake. Don’t compare it to the cakes you’d eat any other time of the year—this dessert has only just left the realm of pudding and is plenty moist.
Apple-Walnut Passover Cake
The batter won’t be thick like a muffin batter, but shouldn’t be runny or weepy.
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup matzo cake meal
3 medium apples, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Coat an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray. Combine walnuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl.
3. Beat eggs in a medium bowl with a mixer at medium speed until foamy. Slowly add 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating constantly until slightly thickened. Continue beating and slowly add the oil. Beat 1 minute more. Fold in matzo meal.
4. Place half of batter in bottom of prepared pan, spreading in an even layer. Top with an even layer of apple slices and half of walnut mixture. Repeat layers with remaining batter, apple slices, and remaining walnut mixture. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool completely before slicing. SERVES 10