Coconut Basil Ginger Flourless Chocolate Cake with Caramelized Ginger Pineapple, a Kosher for Passover dessert, and Seder Dinner with my friend Susie

by Irvin on April 12, 2012 · 11 comments

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“Damn you!!!” proclaimed my new friend Danny (or new enemy, I’m not sure with the way he was sounding). He marched into the kitchen, where I was slicing up pieces of my Kosher for Passover cake for everyone. “I’m suppose to be suffering! This is too delicious for a Passover dessert. Damn you!!!” he stated emphatically with a fist shake in my general direction. Then Danny proceeded to shovel another large forkful of my Coconut Basil Ginger Flourless Chocolate Cake with Caramelized Ginger Pineapple into his mouth. I guess my dessert was a success?


I had been invited to another Pseudo Seder by my friend Susie and had offered to bring dessert like last time. She seems to have them every two years or so, and I’m pleased to have a Jewish friend in San Francisco that throws them, because I have yet to find decent Matzo Ball Soup here. Ever since I moved away from St. Louis, I’ve missed it, and Susie makes a great matzo ball, all light and fluffy, with awesome chicken broth. Of course her beef brisket was nothing to sneer at either. I think AJ might have gone back for seconds.



Susie always saves me the actual Maxwell House Haggadah, the Jewish text that you read from for the Seder dinner, while everyone else has to read from Xerox copies (suckers!). When she had invited me to her first Seder a couple of years ago, I got super excited and asked her if we would be reading from the Maxwell House Haggadah, as that is what I used to read from growing up and going to my friend’s Seders in the Midwest. She said she wasn’t sure if she could get one, but then she had her dad send her one just for me. How awesome is she? How awesome is her dad? On a complete aside, the Maxwell House Haggadah is what the White House uses for their Passover Seder. Woo hoo!


The Passover Seder Plate. Note the "lamb shank" has been swapped out with a chicken bone.


Notice everyone else with photocopies. Ha!


I have no idea what Jai is reacting to as I was too busy live tweeting/instagramming the Seder.

Susie isn’t super religious but she does try to observe tradition when it comes to the Seder. We didn’t do the four hour long service, but we did the good stuff, like eating the bitter herb, dipping our hands into the Manischewitz Concord Grape wine, and hiding the Passover Matzo which we nearly forgot to search for. With some goading at the very end of the evening (Susie basically told us where to look) AJ found it in one of their jackets and won a sweet $5 prize! Woo hoo!


Reading the Haggadah.


Dipping our fingers in the wine for each plague.


Hilarity always ensues when reading the Haggadah at Susie's Pseudo-Seder.

Susie is also trying to create her own traditions for her household and family. The cup that she leaves out for Elijah was a tiki cup that her husband Jai acquired at a tiki lounge. Apparently every tiki lounge he goes to, he procures a tiki cup to bring home. I love it when people have traditions like that. The one for Elijah was from the Tonga Room here in San Francisco’s Fairmont.


The Tiki Cup tradition is started.


Much Manischewitz wine was toasted, but not much was actually drunk...


Serving up the offensive dessert.

The challenge of baking Kosher for Passover is always interesting. No leavening which includes yeast, baking soda or baking powder. Susie’s family observe Ashkenazi tradition where not only are wheat, barley, rye, spelt or oats forbidden, but also rice, millet, corn and legumes like beans and lentils. Always up for a challenge, I decided to revisit one of the desserts that I made last time, a flourless chocolate cake. A crunchy flourless cake, the only leavening that occurs is from the whipping of the egg whites, which causes it to rise spectacularly in the oven, and then collapse down on itself. Since I’m not a fan of margarines, I opted to go with the coconut oil, which lead to the me giving it a tropical twist with savory notes of basil and ginger. The caramelized pineapple gives it that extra something special, that had people yelling at me because it was so good. I’m going to take that as a good thing.


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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Adina | Gluten Free Travelette April 12, 2012 at 8:02 am

Yum! This looks like the perfect recipe for me to try the cinnamon basil I just planted in! Hopefully it grows…


Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar April 12, 2012 at 9:19 am

This cake is absolutely stunning! Awesome!


Vijitha April 12, 2012 at 10:52 am

Looks yum! Curious to taste the basil – chocolate- coconut combination. I am sure it will be great. My good friend send home a box of plain matzah and other one (topped with chocolate and raspberry), she also sent a dish made with eggplant and beef. Tasted yum! I can see that you had a lovely evening. Happy passover!


merri April 12, 2012 at 12:42 pm

that looks fun! never been to passover, despite going to a jewish college!


Kim Bee April 12, 2012 at 1:00 pm

The cake is absolutely gorgeous. I would not have expected kosher cake to look so decadent. The tips regarding checking for hidden soy and cornstarch were great. It would not have occurred to me. It looks like you all had so much fun. I am so jealous of your foodie relationships. No one local shares my obsession so these types of things make me so jealous. I had a blast seeing your twitter pics the other day of this. Thanks for posting them.


Susie April 12, 2012 at 4:36 pm

Thanks for posting. You may have a new enemy in Mama G, as I proclaimed this the best passover dessert I’ve ever eaten!


@SmithBitesProf April 14, 2012 at 5:44 am

We participated in a ‘psuedo’ seder dinner here in Indiana several years ago. I love the rich tradition and using food as symbolic. Thanks for sharing this with us.


Jacqueline - The Dusty Baker April 15, 2012 at 1:54 pm

That looks like SUCH a friendly seder! I’m not Jewish, but several Jewish men I’ve dated have called me more Jewey than them because I probably get a tad too excited about their food culture for a sanscrit-chanting hippie-esque Catholic-raised chick. Way to rock it with the adaptations. Adding grilled pineapple (which now that the weather’s warming up up here I’ve been craving wildly) is an awesome touch.


Ally March 1, 2015 at 4:39 pm

This looks great. A few questions. I’ve never seen a recipe that inverted the bottom of a springform pan before. What is the reason for doing this?

Is there a reason for using coconut oil? I’ve never seen it for Passover around here. Is there some reason I can’t just use cooking spray for the bottom and side of the pan and use the olive oil which I know I can get for Passover for the rest?


Irvin March 4, 2015 at 6:30 pm

Hi Ally,

I invert the bottom because then I can just slide the cake off the bottom and on to a serving platter. If you leave it the normal way, it has a slightly lip that makes it hard to remove the cake. But if you want to make it that way and just serve the cake with the bottom of the pan still there, by all means make it that way.

As for the coconut oil, it is what gives the cake the coconut flavor. I don’t thikn That’s why it’s called a coconut basil ginger flourless chocolate cake. I’ve never made it with olive oil and I don’t know if it will work with that or not, since olive oil is liquid at room temperature and coconut oil is solid at room temperature. You can try it though and see how it turns out. Or you can just substitute Kosher for Passover margarine in place of the coconut oil if you’d like something a little safer, as margarine is solid at room temperature.

All that said, according to this website, Spectrum coconut oil is Kosher for Passover. So if you can find that brand (which I think Whole Foods carries) it might be a good option for you if you want to make the recipe as is!


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