As I come from a family of basically hipster Jews, my Passover experience is generally non-traditional. For starters, we are all vegetarian, meaning that creative substitution happens to the standard Seder plate, which is supposed to contain Zeroah, or a shank bone. This year, we also had our Seder several days early to accommodate my spring break schedule, which is probably frowned upon. However, we always stick to the most important tradition of any Jewish holiday: having fantastic food.

This year, the quality of the food was especially important to me. In stark contrast to the stereotypical college spring break, I spent most of the two weeks in bed with strep throat and, most traumatically, no appetite. My diet consisted nearly entirely of matzo, which was especially ironic and painful considering Passover had not yet begun. By the time our Seder rolled around, I was feeling much better and craving something—anything—that could satiate a palate deprived of all flavor.

Fortunately, Passover does not disappoint when it comes to flavor. After all, some of the staples include bitter herbs and matzo ball soup. However, one area of constant struggle for those who try to keep kosher for Passover is dessert.

A ban on “chametz” means that most leavened foods, including bread and many other items containing flour, are not allowed. To me this seems tragic, because pastries are part of any reasonable food pyramid and cutting them out entirely would just be unhealthy.

A little creativity is all that is needed to avoid a pastry-nutrient deficiency. Flourless Chocolate Cake not only satisfies Passover dietary restrictions, but is also perfect for the dessert-starved college student at any time of the year.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

(adapted from


4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease an eight-inch round cake pan, or equivalent, and dust it with cocoa powder as a substitute for flour.

2. Use a double boiler (or a microwave) to melt the chocolate and butter together.

3. Add the sugar, cocoa powder, eggs and vanilla, and mix well. Pour into the prepared cake pan.

4. Bake the cake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes (or attack it with a spoon if you don’t care about appearance), then remove from pan and let it cool completely on a wire rack.

Comments are closed