Chocolate-Hazelnut Matzo Cake

Perfect for Passover, this rich matzo cake layers espresso liqueur-soaked matzo with melted chocolate and toasted hazelnuts.

Chocolate Hazelnut Matzoh Cake

Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Josh Hoggle

Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 30 mins
8 servings

This icebox cake layers liqueur-soaked matzo crackers with chocolate ganache and toasted hazelnuts for a Passover-friendly dessert. This recipe comes from Rochelle Cooper of The Duck and the Peach in Washington, D.C. It’s a family recipe she used to make with her mother for their Passover Seder, but is a delicious option anytime you want an easy, flavorful, no-bake dessert.

Matzo is dipped and soaked in espresso liqueur which helps soften the cracker to a tender crumb. Adding egg yolks to the melted chocolate helps stabilize the mixture, but if you have an egg allergy, you can omit the egg and add two ounces of chocolate instead.

The espresso liqueur in this cake enhances the flavor of the chocolate, while giving it a bit of a kick. If you prefer to lighten the alcohol, reduce the liqueur by half and replace that volume with water or brewed espresso. Feel free to switch up the liqueur in this recipe with rum, cognac, or sherry, or omit it altogether; Cooper says her mother made a special version for kids using lightly sweetened decaf coffee instead of the espresso liqueur. If you like, omit the egg and add an additional two ounces of chocolate. You can also swap out the hazelnuts for walnuts or almonds.


  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (9 ounces) espresso liqueur (such as Don Ciccio Concerto), plus more as needed

  • 5 matzo squares (about 6 1/4 ounces total)

  • 6 ounces (58% cacao) bittersweet chocolate bar, chopped

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 4 large egg yolks

  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cubed

  • 1 1/2 cups toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped

  • Flaky sea salt


  1. Pour liqueur into an 8-inch square pan or rimmed plate that can fit a whole matzo square. Working with 1 matzo square at a time, press matzo gently into liqueur, and let stand 1 minute, flipping once halfway during soaking time. Set squares aside on a plate.

  2. Pour remaining soaking liqueur into a liquid measuring cup. (You should have about 6 ounces; if not, add additional liqueur to equal 6 ounces in measuring cup.)

  3. Place chocolate, sugar, and 6 ounces liqueur in a double boiler or a bowl placed on top of a steaming pot of water. Whisk over medium-low until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth, about 3 minutes; turn off heat.

  4. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, to double boiler or bowl, whisking constantly until combined. Turn heat to medium-low, and whisk constantly for 3 minutes or until mixture has reached 160°F over simmering water.

  5. Remove from heat and whisk in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until smooth and emulsified.

  6. Place 1 soaked matzo square on a plate; cover with a thin layer of chocolate mixture (about 1/4 cup), and sprinkle evenly with about 1/4 cup of finely chopped hazelnuts. Continue to layer matzo squares, chocolate, and hazelnuts (4 more layers), spreading chocolate over edges to coat sides of cake and making sure top layer of chocolate is smooth. Use any additional chocolate to coat any gaps on the sides. Sprinkle sea salt and remaining hazelnuts over top.

  7. Place cake in refrigerator, uncovered, until chocolate is thick and cake is set, about 2 hours. Remove from refrigerator about 1 hour before serving.

To Make Ahead

Cake may be made 1 day in advance.

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