Gluten-Free Cake, Manischewitz
|Ingredients for gluten-free Passover cake mix
|Gluten-free vanilla cake with chocolate frosting
|Gluten-free chocolate cake with chocolate frosting
About a month ago, supermarkets starting putting out their special Passover food section. I happened upon a box of Manischewitz gluten-free yellow cake mix which I quickly snapped up to try. That same week I attended a press event for Manischewitz where I had an opportunity to talk directly with Paul Bensabat, the new owner as of 2004. We discussed the company’s new focus on comfort food, healthy foods and a Moroccan line (he is of Sephardic Jewish ancestry). We also discussed their new gluten-free line. They rolled out a gluten-free chocolate cake as well as vanilla cake for passover. Additionally, they have plans for a honey cake and coffee cake that is GF for Rosh Hashana, which I'm excited about.
Manischewitz is making the gluten-free product line in their facility which is not wheat-free nor gluten-free. According to Paul, they have created strict gluten-free protocols regarding cleaning and manufacturing; in addition, Paul said they are “gluten-free certified” by a third party certifier. However, this certification is not on their packaging yet nor on their website, which is vital for those who need further information. Additionally, their only allergen statement from their Manischewitz health corner website is about nuts and not about wheat nor gluten: "The above products are peanut & nut free and made on a peanut and nut free production line. - Passover cereals are made in a plant that is cleaned for Passover when nuts are not used, but nuts are used in the plant the rest of the year. - Nuts are used in our Passover Macaroons And Cookies." (NB: I called and spoke with Manischewitz's representative directly about these gluten-free issues and getting the necessary information for you. They said the certification would be on the box "next year" but still haven't told me who the certifier was.)
The GF upshot as of now: their GF products may or may not be suitable for your needs depending upon the severity of your allergy or intolerance. If you are wheat sensitive, wheat allergic or celiac, follow up with Manischewitz directly about your gluten-free needs and make a determination at that point.
As for me, Manischewitz is a brand I’ve used my entire life without tree nut allergy issues, although they routinely manufacture products with nuts (not ones I have eaten though). In terms of the new GF line, as I’m wheat intolerant, it is neither an allergy nor do I have celiac disease, I tried these products and had no issue. But my needs may be very different from yours. So, please follow up with them about your needs.
Product review: I made both of the cakes and they taste like regular Passover cakes, that is non-wheat based cakes. The mix is primarily potato starch based and require the addition of eggs and oil. The cakes as you can see above were light and fluffy with a lovely crumb. The icing goes on in a thin layer which is good because it's pure cocoa and sugar tasting i.e. super sweet. I loved these cakes as did my Passover dinner guests most of whom were not gluten-free; I would buy and serve them again.
Thank you Manischewitz for creating these beauties. Can’t wait to see what rolls out in the fall.