passover week 2017 - lemon and almond syrup cake with white chocolate ganache

Welcome to Day 4 of Passover Week. Sometimes inspiration comes in many shapes and forms. I made a blood orange version of this Ottolenghi recipe for Christmas Week in 2015. The cake was so moist and used such a small amount of flour I just knew it would be easy to renovate for Passover.

I didn’t want to make the same version so instead of elusive clementines or blood oranges I made the cake using lemons. I made a loaf version of the cake but you could make the cake using a small 16-17 springform tin. For a larger version just use the quantities in the original recipe.

White chocolate is the perfect pairing with lemon, so for the topping I made a white chocolate ganache and some candied lemon rind. Don’t think you need to top the cake with anything fancy though because the cake is so moist and delicious as it is. If you can't track down kosher for Passover white chocolate, a bowl of whipped cream is all you need to accompany this cake.

Here’s the recipe for you. For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 gm and my oven is a conventional oven, not fan forced. If your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the cooking temperature by 20°C.

Lemon and Almond Syrup Cake (adapted from Ottolenghi)
2 lemons
100g unsalted butter
125g caster sugar
140g ground almonds
2 large eggs, beaten
50g Passover baking mix (equal quantities of superfine matzo meal and potato starch)
pinch salt

40 g caster sugar
60 mls lemon juice

To decorate (optional) - candied lemon slices/whipped cream ganache

White chocolate ganache (optional)
40mls cream
75g white chocolate, finely chopped
If whipping the ganache, you’ll need an additional 40mls cream

Candied Lemon Slices (optional)
1 small lemon thinly sliced and seeds removed
1/2 cup caster sugar 
1/2 cup water

Preheat the oven to 180C°, conventional. Lightly grease a small loaf tin or a 16-17 cm round tin and line the sides and base with baking parchment.

Finely grate the rind of the 2 lemons before juicing them. Reserve the juice. Put the butter, 125g of sugar and the lemon rind into a bowl and mix. Do not work the mix too much or incorporate much air. Add half the ground almonds and continue mixing to fold through. Add the eggs gradually, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl as you go. Add the remaining almonds, the baking mix and salt, and work until the mix is smooth.

Spoon the cake batter into the tin and level. Bake for 50-60 minutes - a skewer should come out a little bit moist. When the cake is almost cooked, prepare the syrup. Combine the remaining sugar and 60 mls of the lemon juice in a small pan; bring to a boil then remove from the heat at once. Pour the hot syrup over the cake, making sure it all soaks through. Leave to cool. Serve it as it is or topped with the white chocolate icing and candied lemon slices.

To make the candied lemon slices, combine the sugar and water in a frying pan, place over a low heat stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for 5 - 8 minutes or until the toffee starts to turn golden. Add the lemon slices and turn frequently until the lemon slices are golden and well coated about 3 - 5 minutes. Remove the slices and place on baking paper. Allow to cool at room temperature.

For the icing, put the cream in a heatproof bowl and place in the microwave. Cook on high for about 30 seconds or until the cream is close to boiling. Add the chopped chocolate to the hot cream and stir until all the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth and glossy. Let the chocolate stand for about 30 minutes until it thickens a little before pouring over the cooled cake. Let the icing set, then garnish with some pieces of candied lemon rind. 

I decorated the cake with some whipped white chocolate ganache and if you’d like to do the same, whip the cooled white ganache with the additional cream until it thickens, then decorate as desired.

I can't tell you how moist and delicious this cake is. This is an absolute winner and one cake I'll definitely make again.

See you all again tomorrow with another Passover recipe.

Bye for now,


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