Photo: Thomas J. Story
 

YieldsServes 8 to 12Total Time2 hrs
AuthorTanya Holland

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.

How to Make It

Step 1
1

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

Step 2
2

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.

Step 3
3

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.

Step 4
4

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

Step 5
5

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.

Step 6
6

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.

Step 7
7

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).

Step 8
8

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.

Step 9
9

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

Step 10
10

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.

Step 11
11

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

Step 12
12

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

Ingredients

 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate (63% or 64% cacao), chopped
 1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tbsp. roasted pecan, almond, or walnut oil
 3 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
 1 cup lightly toasted pecans or almonds or 2/3 cup purchased nut flour*
 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. granulated sugar, divided
 3 to 4 large, firm oranges
 7 large eggs, separated
 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
 1/4 teaspoon salt
 1 cup powdered sugar

Directions

Step 1
1

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

Step 2
2

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.

Step 3
3

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.

Step 4
4

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

Step 5
5

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.

Step 6
6

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.

Step 7
7

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).

Step 8
8

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.

Step 9
9

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

Step 10
10

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.

Step 11
11

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

Step 12
12

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

Flourless Chocolate-Pecan Cake