passover week 2024 - passover sachertorte with apricot compote

Welcome to Passover Week 2024. I thought it was time to make a showstopper for Passover. I turned to the baking queen, Natalie Paull, and adapted her recipe for sachertorte with apricot compote but made it passover friendly and dairy-free. Instead of flour, I used superfine matzo meal and potato starch then topped the cake with a dairy free chocolate ganache adapted from here and swapped apricot syrup for the apricot liqueur.

Passover baking is always a little unpredictible. Even though I thought I'd completely folded the superfine matzo meal through the batter, I did not and annoying white blotches could be seen when I cut the cake into slices. I admit to using a bit of creative Photoshop and artfully draped apricot slices to conceal the worst of the blotches.

Matzo meal does not bake the same way as flour and the cake exterior was very dry to the touch. Even a generous coating of apricot jam couldn't glue the ganache to the cake and some of the ganache detached when I sliced the cake. The next day, the cake was easier to slice and both the texture and flavour improved as the cake matured. That's good news because it means the cake can be made and coated with ganache well ahead of time and is all the better for doing so.

I served the cake with some of the leftover apricot compote, so if you plan to do the same you might want to double the quantity of the apricot filling. 

Here's the recipe for you which makes a 3.5 x 7 inch loaf cake. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Passover sachertorte with apricot compote
Chocolate sponge  
100g dark (70%) chocolate, chopped
15g Dutch cocoa powder
15ml extra virgin olive oil
pinch fine salt 
135 mls water 
4 large eggs, at room temperature
120g caster sugar
45g superfine matzo meal
40g potato starch
Apricot filling – you’ll only use about half this quantity 
410g can apricots in juice
Large strips of peel and the juice of 1 orange
¼ cup (55g) caster sugar

Water Ganache 
200g chopped dark chocolate (48%)
80ml boiling water
20mls maple syrup 

60g apricot jam
30g dark (70%) chocolate
Dutch cocoa, to dust

Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan-forced. Grease base and sides of an 8 inch square pan and line with baking paper.

Chocolate sponge
Place chocolate, cocoa, oil, pinch fine salt and 135 mls water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly until smooth and starting to simmer. Scrape into a large bowl. Set aside until lukewarm.

Place eggs and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk for 8 minutes on medium-high speed until thick and tripled in volume. Meanwhile, sift matzo meal and potato starch together 3 times.

Add egg mixture to chocolate mixture and gently fold until combined. Sift over half the flour mixture, gently fold until almost all incorporated, then sift over the remainder. Gently fold until there are no floury or chocolatey streaks.

Scrape into the prepared tray and smooth out to level. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until the top is dry and the sponge is springy. R
est for 10 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack, peel away the paper, then re-invert and cool fully. 

Drain apricots over a medium saucepan and add the orange peel, juice and sugar to the syrup. Bring to the boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Gently boil for 15 minutes until a thick syrup forms. Next, thickly slice apricots, add to syrup and simmer for 5 minutes to soften. Set aside to cool. Reserve syrup and the peel for decoration. 

Cut sides of the sponge to straighten, if needed. Cut into two equal pieces. Place the first piece back onto the cooling rack. Brush with 1 tbs of the apricot syrup and gently spoon over half the apricot mixture, lightly pressing the apricots into the sponge with the back of the spoon. You could use apricot jam for this step if you like. Brush remaining sponge with syrup and place, syrup-side down, to finish. Adjust sponge stacks to align pieces and press lightly. Brush crumbs from the side, cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight. The following day, return the cake to the cooling rack. Warm the jam in a small bowl in the microwave with 1 tbs boiling water and brush top and sides of cake with the jam.

Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Pour over the boiling water. Either microwave for 20 seconds on high, or place a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water for 1-2 minutes, to melt the chocolate. Gently stir together with a whisk until combined and smooth. Now stir in the maple syrup. Set aside at room temperature for 20-30 minutes until ganache thickens to a spreadable consistency. 

Place the cooling rack over a baking tray to catch any dripping chocolate, pour ganache slowly over the cake, guiding ganache to fall down the sides. Smooth top and sides with a metal spatula to evenly coat and set aside to set. 

While ganache sets, melt the remaining dark chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second bursts and smooth thinly onto a sheet of baking paper. Cover with a second piece of baking paper and roll up to form a 2cm-diameter cylinder. Freeze for 30 minutes, then unroll – the chocolate will break into shards.

Once the ganache has set, lift the cake carefully onto a serving plate using an egg lifter. Just before serving, top the cake with the chocolate shards, dust with cocoa and top with reserved candied peel. Cut with a hot damp knife. To get the neatest slices I found it best to cut the cake longitudinally first then crosswise. Serve with the remaining apricot compote. 

You know how I don't like chocolate cakes, well I'll make an exception for this one which was absolutely delicious, especially the ganache. I may have even had 2 slices.

See you all again tomorrow with another bake for Passover week 2024.

Bye for now,


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