Celebrate

CELEBRATE: Elegant flourless chocolate cake is topped with Zinfandel-macerated local strawberries and kosher whipped nondairy cream. (Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Something to celebrate. This elegant flourlesscake is topped with Zinfandel-macerated strawberries and kosher whipped nondairy cream. A perfect ending to the Passover meal.

Total time: 1 1/2 hours, plus overnight macerating time
Servings: 16


Photos: Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade

Note: Adapted from a recipe by Todd Aarons. Aarons uses Scharffen Berger chocolate and serves the cake with kosher, whipped nondairy cream. Kosher unsalted margarine is available at kosher markets.

Zinfandel-macerated strawberries:
2 pints strawberries, washed, stemmed and cut into quarter-inch slices
1 cup kosher Zinfandel (such as Herzog Wine Cellars Late Harvest Zinfandel)

1. In a medium bowl, toss the strawberries with the wine and refrigerate, covered, overnight.

2. Reserving the wine, strain the strawberries. Pour the wine into a small saucepan, bring it to a boil and reduce by about half; it should be thick and syrupy. Cool completely. Reserve the strawberries and their sauce separately until serving. The strawberries will keep for 1 day refrigerated.

Cake and assembly:
12 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate (62% cacao), chopped coarsely
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted margarine
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
5 large eggs
Zinfandel-macerated strawberries

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9-inch cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper, then oil the parchment. If using a pan with a removable bottom, cover the outside of the pan with aluminum foil to prevent water from entering when the cake cooks in a hot water bath.

2. In a medium heavy-bottom saucepan with a lid, bring half a cup of water to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate, margarine and 1 cup of the sugar. Cover and allow the residual heat to melt the ingredients. Check after several minutes, and stir with a rubber spatula to combine the ingredients, ensuring they are fully melted to a smooth texture.

3. Place the remaining sugar and eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl. Whip the eggs until the mixture is doubled in volume. Meanwhile, boil some water for the hot water bath.

4. Fold a third of the melted chocolate into the whipped eggs gently with a rubber spatula. Fold in half of the remaining chocolate until combined, then gently fold in the remaining chocolate. Immediately pour the batter into the cake pan.

Place the cake pan in a roasting pan that's large enough to hold the smaller pan with at least a 1-inch margin on all sides, then place inside the oven. Add hot water to halfway up the cake pan.

5. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until the cake no longer jiggles when shaken and the crust formed on top has begun to crack. Remove to a rack to cool. Invert the cake onto a cake stand or plate. Do not remove the parchment paper until ready to serve. At this point, the cake may be refrigerated for up to 1 day before serving.

To serve, bring the cake to room temperature. Slice the cake with a warm, wet cake knife. Top each slice with Zinfandel-macerated strawberries and a drizzle of the reduced sauce.

Nutrition information:
Each serving: 292 calories; 4 grams protein; 30 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 19 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 66 mg. cholesterol; 23 mg. sodium.