Passover Walnut Cake with syrup: Melahrini

This is the most famous passover cake – but good not only for Passover.
There a quite a few versions, some with syrup some without, but after testing a few, this is by far the best one-very moist and delicious.

It can be done in two different flavors:
1) walnuts+orange zest (more classic-everyone loves it)
2) almonds+lemon zest

Below is the recipe for one cake (6 eggs), but I usually double it (12 eggs), and make one bigger and one smaller at once. The double amount can make a nice pan cake AND an english cake, or two round cakes. I use two rectangular pan trays that fit together, on the same rack in the oven. You can also use one big tray, the size of the oven and then cut half of it a give it away.
Some people make this cake also in a pan with a hole in the middle, but i like it flat. Traditionally it is cut in lozenges.


for one cake:
6 eggs, separated (room temperature!)
6 flat tablespoons white sugar
6 heap tablespoons matza meal
6 heap tablespoons grounded walnuts/almonds
zest of one orange/lemon
1 teaspoon baking powder (mix with 2-3 tablespoons of orange/lemon juice in a large mug)
3 tablespoons orange/lemon liquor, or cognac
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and a few crushed dried carnations (for the orange cake, only)

in mixer bowl 1:
beat the egg-whites till medium peaks. Add sugar little by little till high peaks.

in large bowl 2:
beat egg-yellows till smooth. add liquor and the cinnamon.
add baking powder mixed with some juice. mix well.

in bowl 3:
mix walnuts/almonds with matza meal.

In large bowl 2, add some of the beaten egg whites, and fold gently (do not beat!) so that the “clouds” will not break.
Then add a few spoons of the matza and walnut mix, and keep folding. Keep alternating with egg whites and matza meal mix, till all mixed.

Bake for about 30 mins, at 180C (360F).
As soon as top becomes golden, cover with aluminum foil, so top won’t burn.
Let cool completely on a rack.

If you want to let the cake in its pan, then you can add the syrup in that same pan. If you want to move into another tray though, then better to put a lightly oiled baking sheet inside the pan, before you pour in the mix and bake. After the syrup is being poured, you can not move the cake…

The syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 1/5 cups water & juice

Start making the syrup after the cake has completely cooled. The syrup will be poured on the cake hot, and this is how the two will mix well.

In a small saucepan, mix well the sugar and the water+juice.
If you make the orange cake, then 3/4 cups water and 3/4 cups juice is great.
If you make the lemon cake, use 1 cup of water with 1/5 cup lemon juice.

Bring to boil till it becomes a syrup (and evenly covers the back of a wooden spoon). Remove from the heat, and as soon as it has stopped boiling, pour it over the cake. I like to use a large serving soup spoon for that, while making sure that it is poured evenly. The cake will be swimming in a little syrup pool. Set aside for a day to mellow. All syrup will be absorbed! Can also keep in fridge-for as long as you wish, can even be made a week ahead! The only thing is that once in the fridge, it will not last that long!!!!

I have flipped mine, and this is why it does not have that golden brown top.
It is also possible to cover the cake with chocolate glazing, but I don’t see the need for that. Serve small portions, as this is a rich one!

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