Oakland chef Tanya Holland puts a Southern spin on this classic Passover cake. It will rise as it bakes, and then sink rather dramatically in the center. Don't worry about this--just trim the top with a large serrated knife and save the pieces for snacks.

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Credit: Thomas J. Story

Recipe Summary test

2 hrs
Serves 8 to 12


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 325° with a rack in the middle. Grease a 9-in. springform pan and line with parchment paper, cut to fit.

  • Heat chocolate in a double boiler or metal bowl set over (not in) a pot of simmering water until about half-melted. Remove pan from heat and stir until smooth. Stir in oil. Cool slightly; stir in 2 tsp. vanilla.

  • Grind pecans and 1 tbsp. granulated sugar in a food processor in 2 batches, pulsing so you don't end up with pecan butter (you'll have some larger pieces). With a medium-mesh sifter, sift to yield 2/3 cup pecan flour.

  • Zest 2 oranges with a 5-holed zester; juice enough oranges to yield 1 1/4 cups juice.

  • Using a mixer, beat egg yolks and brown sugar in a medium bowl until mixture is pale and, when beaters are lifted, falls in thick ribbons, 5 minutes. Beat in 2 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. orange juice (mixture will get more liquidy). Gently fold in pecan flour. Fold in chocolate mixture.

  • In another bowl with clean beaters, beat egg whites with salt until foamy. Gradually rain in 7 tbsp. granulated sugar; beat into soft peaks, 3 minutes. Gently fold half of egg whites into chocolate mixture; then fold in remaining whites.

  • Pour batter into pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with crumbs adhering, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Let cool on a rack (it will sink a lot).

  • Make glaze: In a large frying pan, boil remaining orange juice, 2 tbsp. granulated sugar, and the zest over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, 10 minutes. Sift powdered sugar into juice and whisk smooth. Let cool 5 minutes, then whisk in remaining 1 tsp. vanilla.

  • Let cake cool, then run a heated thin metal spatula (heat under hot water, then dry with a towel) around inside of pan.

  • Remove rim of pan. Starting from edge and working toward center, carefully trim uneven top layer from cake using a large serrated knife. Invert cake onto a plate.

  • Cut cake with a heated knife, wiping between slices. Drizzle slices with glaze.

  • *Find nut flours at amazon.com (pecan flour is called "meal").

Chef's Notes

Recipe is gluten-free with gluten-free powdered sugar.


Brown Sugar Kitchen and B-Side Baking Co., Oakland

Nutrition Facts

575 calories; calories from fat 54%; protein 5.6g; fat 34g; saturated fat 12g; carbohydrates 63g; fiber 1.2g; sodium 148mg; cholesterol 148mg.