An easy dessert for the holidays – Pain de Genes with Pecans and Chocolate

Pain de Genes with Pecans and Chocolate

Pain de Genes (Genoa Bread) is a classic french cake made with almonds. In France the cake is made by using both sweet and bitter almonds. Since bitter almonds are not readily available, not necessarily a bad thing since they contain a small amount of cyanide, recipes often just use sweet almonds. The traditional recipe calls for separating the egg whites and yolks, beating the whites and folding them into the batter. That is an awful lot of work. Thankfully, I have my trusted go-to source for all things dessert – “Classic Cakes and Great Cuisinart Desserts” by Carl Sontheimer and Cecily Brownstone. This book takes the approach of vastly simplifying desserts by using a food processor. There is not a bad recipe in the book and everything I have made so far from the book has been shockingly easy to make.

So with dinner guests coming we decided to have Pain de Genes with Pecans and Chocolate, a variation on the classic. It literally took less than 20 minutes to put together and then 40 minutes to bake. And it was a hit.


1 1/4 cup pecan halves

1/4 cup all purpose flour – sifted

3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 stick unsalted butter – melted

3 large eggs


1. Toast the pecans in an oven at 350F for 6-8 minutes.

2. In a food processor, process the flour, pecans, cocoa and the baking powder till they are well blended.

3. Add all the remaining ingredients and pulse till they are well blended.

4. Pour into a greased, round 9 inch cake pan.

5. Place the pan in a cold oven and set the temperature to 300F. Start the oven.

6. Cook till the cake is done (about 40 minutes) – till a fork or a toothpick comes out clean.

7. Cool the cake for 10 minutes or so. Loosen sides with a knife and turn out on a wire rack to cool.

8. Sprinkle some powdered sugar on top before serving.

There. Told you it was easy.

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