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The Dilemma of the Pesach Birthday

It's a rare year when our family doesn't celebrate a birthday during Pesach. When the birthday falls on the first two or last two days of Pesach or on an intermediate Shabbat, we can't light candles. And at no time during the week can we have a traditional birthday cake. So what to do?


So who needs them anyway? But if you've got a small kid, it might be a bigger deal. Try felt candles with removable flames, or some other counting method (pieces of candy, verses of a song, coins, quiz-type questions, yearly memories of the child) that could be fun as well as marking the years.


We have two cake solutions for Pesach birthdays. One was given us many years ago by a woman whose two sons both had April birthdays and who was also faced with a Pesach birthday nearly every year. This Viennese Chocolate Torte is not for the faint-hearted in the kitchen, but it sure is good!

The second cake was first made for us by an Israeli friend who says that this is a common Pesach dessert in Israel. This cake has but three ingredients and is relatively simple to prepare, so here it is:

Eldad's Pesach Cake

For this cake, you need whole pieces of matzoh, dark chocolate (chips or bars), and wine. (Sounds good already, doesn't it?)

Melt the chocolate gently in the microwave or double-boiler. While that's going on, soak the matzoh in wine. (I've never tried it this way, but I'm sure grape juice would work just as well as wine and should probably be used if the cake is for young children.)

To assemble the cake, place a wine-soaked matzoh on a plate, spread chocolate all over the matzoh, top with another wine-soaked matzoh, spread more chocolate on the top matzoh, and so on. You can make as many layers as you like.

This is incredibly good, especially after it sits for a day or two.