A Passover Escape: Tropical Bliss Cake


passover tropical upside down cake chocolate honey

This Passover, I’ve been trying really hard to catch my dad in the act of cheating. We’re all supposed to avoid eating leavened grains during the eight-day holiday, but in my family the guys have always been a little less well-behaved than the girls. Over the years, my dad has earned a reputation of notoriety for bending and breaking the delicate laws governing what can and cannot be eaten during Passover. For instance, in the past he insisted upon eating tortillas, claiming that since they are flat they may be more similar to what our ancestors ate in the desert than the factory-produced, cracker-like matzot we eat today. While this logic is somewhat sound, traditional laws do not allow the consumption of tortillas or any other grain that is not prepared in a very specific way. In past years, my dad has never been caught red-handed trying to sneak a bite of some non-kosher-for-Passover contraband. But we all know he has trouble controlling his bagel cravings…and I suspect he’s been finding some crafty way to sneak Noah’s bagels, Subway sandwiches, etcetera, into his daily diet. If only there was some hard evidence!

A couple nights ago, he came home pretty late from a business meeting that had dragged into dinnertime. When he walked in the door, I noticed a brown paper bag in his hand, similar to the ones our local grocery store uses for bulk bagels. “Aha!” I cried, and hurried to interrogate him. “What have you got in that bag?”

“Just some olives and a little container of pineapple. What, I’m not allowed to buy olives and pineapple?” He was acting altogether too innocent. I was sure there was something naughty in that bag that he wasn’t telling me about. With an exasperated sigh he dumped the paper bag onto the kitchen table to undergo my inspection. I pulled out the items in the bag one by one: first a plastic container of olives, then one of some juicy pineapple chunks. But there was something more at the bottom of the bag. I’ve got you now, I thought, and extracted what I thought would be incriminating evidence I could use against the suspect. Triumphantly I held up the small, shiny object to the light to discover it was…a York Patty.


Was this a punishable offense? I scratched my head. It wasn’t officially kosher for Passover, but it didn’t contain any yeast (unless yeast was buried in the ingredients list somewhere.) However, while it may have been permissible fare in itself, where does one obtain a York peppermint patty? Probably at a diner. And what do they serve at diners, much to the enjoyment of this particular suspect? Lots and lots of leavened bread. Still, infuriatingly, I didn’t have quite enough hard evidence that Dad was cheating on Passover. I decided not to bring this to the family court yet, but wait until I obtained more evidence through further interrogations and sleuthing.

Meanwhile, those pineapple chunks sure looked good. My dad has a tendency to buy fresh fruit and forget about it, so as soon as he brings home any the rest of the family can pretty much lay claim to it as we wish. After the pineapple chunks had sat undisturbed in the fridge for a day, I decided to repossess them. I began brainstorming some creative uses for them, and settled on a Passover cake with tropical flavors. The resulting cake was so scrumptious I forgot all about trying to bust my dad! (At least, temporarily.)


This recipe is goes out to anyone who’s tired of cooking and cleaning for Passover, and wants an edible dessert recipe that, unlike many Passover recipes out there, a) is at least relatively healthy, b) tastes amazing, and c) does not include a boxed cake mix. A delicious compromise between cake and pie, this upside-down cake is bursting with a blend of tropical fruits. The sponge cake base is sweetened only with honey and vanilla and topped with a two-ingredient chocolate-honey glaze made from super-dark Endangered Species chocolate. Toasted coconut is sprinkled on top for added fiber and crunch. One bite instantly sent me to a tropical paradise (at least, in the gustatory sense.) It may not be a beach vacation, but I’d call it the next best thing for those of us languishing in a bread-free kitchen this week.

The only change I might make to this recipe would be to bake it in a muffin tin using foil liners, for two reasons, the first being that the sponge cake has a tendency to stick to whatever it’s baked in, as well as fall apart when you try to cut a slice, though I found after it had been in the fridge for a day,the latter problem was reduced. Also, with individual portions it’ll be easier to avoid the impulse that will surely overcome you to devour the whole cake!

So you don’t have to do any detective work, here’s some visual instructions on the logistics of this recipe (full directions below:)

Passover tropical upside down cake collage

Tropical Bliss Upside-Down Cake – Kosher for Passover

based on recipe from Men’s Health website

makes one 9″ round cake

tropical upside down cake coconut chocolate honey tropical fruit


fruit layer

  • 2 kiwis
  • 1/2 a mango
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 cup raspberries

sponge cake

  • 1/3 cup matzo cake meal
  • 2 tbs potato starch
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • dash of cinnamon
  • pinch of ginger


  • 1/2 bar of Endangered Species brand natural dark chocolate with 88% cocoa
  • 1 tbs honey


  • 1/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted (find a tutorial on how to toast coconut on Baking Bites)


First, preheat oven to 325 Fahrenheit. Spray a 9″ round pie pan with nonstick spray and/or line with aluminum foil.

Now, create the fruit layer:

Peel the kiwis. Cut them both into circular slices, and then cut each slice into a semicircle.

Cut the skin off half a mango. Chop the fruit roughly into relatively thin pieces.

Cut the pineapple chunks into thinner slices so they will fit more easily across the surface of the bottom of your pie pan.

Wash the raspberries and chop each berry in half lengthwise.

Now, distribute fruit across the bottom of your pie pan. Try to get an even distribution of fruit so each slice of cake has a diverse blend. Here’s what my fruit layer masterpiece looked like:

fruit layer of upside down passover tropical cake

Next, make the cake base:

Place matzo cake meal and potato starch into a small bowl. Whisk to combine.

In a separate, medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat egg whites until bubbly and foamy.

In another medium bowl, beat egg yolks until light. Add 1/2 cup honey and 1 tsp vanilla and beat.

Pour the cake meal/potato starch mixture into the yolk mixture. Add in the cinnamon and ginger. Beat gently until just combined.

Fold in egg whites.

Pour cake batter gently and evenly over fruit layer. Bake in 325 Fahrenheit oven until top of cake is golden brown and springs back when lightly touched (for me this was about 24 minutes.)

Remove cake from oven and allow to cool while you make the glaze:

Break up half a bar of Endangered Species 88% cocoa chocolate. Place chocolate bar pieces in a small bowl, and microwave until completely melted.

Add 1 tbs honey. Mix well.

When cake has cooled for ten or fifteen minutes, apply glaze and toasted coconut. If you’re feeling artsy, you can create a fancy design with the glaze (here’s my edible art:)

chocolate honey glaze on passover upside down cake

Now top it all off with toasted coconut (I found a helpful tutorial for that on Baking Bites)

You can either serve this cake warm, or chill in the fridge awhile and serve cold. After being chilled the glaze hardens and the cake firms up a bit, making it easier to cut. However, I found I preferred the cake nice and warm, with melty chocolate rivers coursing over the rainbow of flavorful fruit and bites of warm honey-sweetened sponge cake…

kosher for passover upside down cake pineapple coconut raspberry mango kiwi

chocolate coconut tropical passover upside down cake

Happy Passover (or what’s left of it), and enjoy your tropical escape!

You Might Also Like:

Carrot Cake Coconut Macaroons

white chocolate cream cheese icing carrot cake coconut cranberry raisin macaroon kosher for passover

Image credit: York Patty picture from http://lisadelay.com/blog/2009/12/14/self-test-is-the-holy-spirit-like-a-york-peppermint-patty/


One response

  1. At least he’s trying to be discreet.

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