Grandma Hecht's 4-Ingredient Passover Matzo Sponge Cake

Updated: Mar 6

Fluffy Matzo Meal Sponge cake that only a grandmother could bring to the table.


Around Passover, my grandma would pull out her old Jewish cookbook. The cookbook was full of recipes that didn't have chametz. Chametz includes leavened bread or anything containing wheat, oats, barley, and rye. Her signature dessert? It was a sponge cake with as much whipped cream as I could balance on it. Drown it, then down it!

I ran out of strawberries, but whipped cream never fails.
Grandma made this for over 50 years! I ran out of strawberries, but whipped cream never fails.

On June 25, 1921, my grandma was born to Isadore and Lena Sachs in Chicago, Illinois. She grew up there, then married my grandpa Maurice in 1943. Nine years later, she had my uncle Neil. Five years after that, my mom was born in 1957.

I asked my mom how far back she remembered having this recipe and she said, "From the time I was a little kid, she made it. It could be from before that."

In the 80s, my parents moved to Florida, and my grandparents followed them a couple of years after. I was born in 1990, and for as long as I can remember, Grandma served this cake every year at the Passover seder.

Grandma Bernice Hecht sitting on a bench.
Grandma Bernice Hecht sitting on a bench.

When my grandmother passed away, I searched through her piles of loose recipes that she had clipped from magazines and newspapers in the '60s. Underneath the stack of papers was a page from her Jewish cookbook. On it was her Matzo Sponge Cake recipe. She had used it so much over the decades the page had fallen out. The corners of the paper crumbled off, so I quickly walked it to the table and snapped a photo to preserve it. She uses a spring form pan similar to this one here.





 

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The photo I snapped of the recipe she used.
The photo I snapped of the recipe she used.

Grandma Hecht's 4 ingredient Matzo Sponge Cake

The original one is hard to read and a bit out of order, so I adjusted the recipe to make more sense.

Ingredients

  • 8 eggs, separated

  • 1½ cups sugar

  • 1 cup sifted matzos cake meal

  • ½ lemon grated, rind, and juice

  • salt

  • a glass coke bottle

Grandma's sponge cake, just as I remember it!
Grandma's sponge cake, just as I remember it!

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat your springform with cooking spray.

  2. In a medium bowl, beat yolks until light, add sugar and beat again; then add a pinch of salt, the lemon, then the matzos cake meal.

  3. In a separate bowl, beat the whites until stiff but not dry.

  4. Fold the egg whites into the mix.

  5. Pour the mixture into the coated springform.

  6. Bake in the oven for 45*minutes until a light brown color on top.

  7. Remove from oven (see notes below). Allow 20 minutes to cool before removing from the spring form.


When you remove the spring form from the oven, carefully flip the form onto a glass coke bottle sitting on a large cutting board. My grandma always said this prevented the cake from falling.
*It may need to bake a bit longer depending on the oven.


Isadore and Lena Sachs
Isadore and Lena Sachs (my grandma's parents) at their wedding March 21, 1920.




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