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Bessie’s Passover Sponge Cake

Bessie's Passover Sponge Cake
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.
Wolsk Family Cookbook
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.
sponge cake
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!
sponge cake pans
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. Continue reading

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Chocolate Stout Cake

chocolate stout cake
Inspired by St. Patrick’s Day, I wanted to make some food to compliment all the Guinness that will be consumed. Bangers and mash are on the menu , but I also wanted to add something sweet. Last weekend friends Allison & Zack came for a visit. Allison brought along a delicious treat for us – some chocolate stout cake she had made earlier in the week. After one bite, I was hooked. This recipe went straight to the top of my “what to make next” list.

chocolate stout cake

I made this in a bundt pan, but you could also make it in two round cake pans. You could try making this as cupcakes, but the cake might not be as moist. I went with a chocolate stout beer made by Rogue Ales. Any kind of stout or porter beer will work. By simmering the two cups of beer down to one cup, you are intensifying the flavors in the beer, so using a chocolate stout will compliment the cocoa powder in the cake. You can also just top this with some powdered sugar and you are good to go.chocolate stout cake

I made some changes from the original recipe. I used whole wheat white flour for the second cup, but regular whole wheat flour can be used. The original recipe called for plain full fat yogurt. I had some nonfat Greek yogurt on hand, so I used that instead. I added a few chocolate chips as well. Continue reading