Every year, my mom’s side of the family gets together for a big Passover seder. On average, there are 50 family members that attend, and it turns into a big holiday/family reunion. We all pitch in and spend Friday and Saturday making different dishes for the seder. A while back, the family put together a cookbook of all the family recipes, including photos that date back to the 1920’s, and illustrations by my cousin Mark.
Bessie is standing on the far right. This cover photo was from 1922. Bessie stands with her two brothers and her parents. Bessie was the matriarch of the family by the time I was old enough to remember Passovers. She was an amazing lady, and is always dearly missed during our family seders.
The past three or four years, I have taken over the task of baking the sponge cake. We still use Bessie’s exact recipe for it has never failed us and is the perfect ending to our seder. The recipe is simple to put together and a delicious kosher treat for your seder, during passover week, and really, anytime. You just have to get your hands on two unique ingredients: matzoh meal and potato starch, and you are good to go!
You can find really long loaf pans (even longer than the pan on the left) to bake this as one loaf. Or divide it into two pans. Remember to cut parchment paper so it lays flat on the bottom as seen above.
Separate your eggs.
Egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar. Whisk well.
Sift in matzoh meal and potato starch. Whisk to combine.
Beat eggs in stand mixer (or with a hand mixer) with whisk attachment to stiff peaks.
Fold in egg whites gently.
Batter ready to go!
I forgot to take photos after it baked while it was still in loaf form, but I do have photos of the final product. And really that’s the reason we are all here.
Bessie’s Passover Sponge Cake
Makes one extra long loaf pan or two regular loaf pans
1 cup matzoh meal
1/4 cut potato starch
2 cups sugar
rind and juice of one lemon
Preaheat oven to 350 degrees. Trace the bottom of loaf pan(s) on parchment paper and cut out so the piece of parchment paper fits exactly on the bottom of the loaf pan.
Separate egg yolks and whites, putting the yolks into a large bowl. Add sugar, lemon juice, and rind to egg yolks and mix well.
Sift cake meal and potato starch into yolk mixture, mix until combined.
Beat egg whites with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into batter gently, being careful not to deflate the egg whites.
Pour batter into loaf pans. Bake for 40 minutes. Let cool in pan for about 5 minutes then cool on a cooling rack until completely cool. If not eating that day, wrap well in plastic wrap.
Best served with strawberries and whipped cream.