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What Is Cake Meal?

By Lynelle Harmon
Updated May 16, 2024
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Cake meal, also called matzo meal, is a flour substitute that is used during the Jewish holiday Passover. Participants in the holiday aren't allowed to consume leavened products. The cake flour is made of ground matzo. It can be used in any recipe that calls for flour.

Modern Jews who are celebrating Passover refrain from consuming or purchasing leavened products. Abstinence begins the day before Passover starts and ends with the end of the one-week holiday. Leavened products that can't be consumed include yeast breads, cereal, pasta and most alcohol.

Cake meal is a convenient baking product that can be used in baking for Passover. Matzo is a cracker type of bread that is made of flour and water, and it is crushed to create this self-rising flour alternative. When cake meal is substituted into a recipe for flour, only three-fourths of the recommended amount should be used.

There are course and fine varieties of cake meal that are available. It can be used for cakes, breads or cookies and as a thickening agent for gravy. Baked goods that are created with cake meal won't rise as they would normally. Passover-specific cookbooks are valuable resources for learning unleavened recipe combinations.

Cake meal can be combined with potato starch to make it stretch further. Potato starch also can be used instead of cake meal, because it also is an unleavened product. The conversion between flour and potato starch in a recipe is identical to the ratio of cake meal to flour — only three-fourths as much is needed.

Passover is the Jewish holiday celebrating the end of Hebrew slavery in ancient Egypt. This holiday begins on the 15th day of the month Nissan on the Hebrew calendar, and it ends a week later. The first two days are strict, followed by four days of more lenient rules and then a final two days of strict adherence.

The name for the holiday comes from the belief that God passed over the Hebrew homes while inflicting the final plague upon Egypt. Death of the firstborn son was the final plague. The pharaoh of Egypt freed the slaves but also banished them from the land. According to the story, the Jewish people were forced to leave Egypt so quickly that the bread taken with them didn't have time to rise.

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