Chocolate chestnut cake. The perfect wintertime holiday cake. It’s fluffy, rich in flavor and sweet in taste. And what nobody will guess is how truly simple it is. It’s splendid as it is, or you can take it to the next level and top it with mascarpone whipped cream, sprinkle it shaved chocolate or simply a little cocoa.
Anyone who knows me well, knows I don’t actually eat cake. When I bake a cake or anything else that’s delectably sweet, well, you can be guaranteed it’s for someone else. Just like this chocolate chestnut cake. I’ve been wanting to experiment more with chestnuts in cooking and in baking cause I absolutely love them. Especially with roasted Brussels sprouts. So good! Happy to say, this cake was a total win. Especially for my favorite Schwabe’s 10-year-old son who managed to scarf down half of this cake over the weekend — he loved it that much. I’m not feeling too guilty, I’m pretty sure that one little container of yogurt he’s getting with his breakfast has more sugar per serving than my cake. Don’t let me go down that road. Seriously. Plain yogurt is the way to go.
Anyhow, taking out my handle calculator, aka iPhone, I did some calculations. It’s true. If this dessert serves ten (normal) people, then that is only hmmm… actually it’s pretty much the same. 17 g per serving. I think the yogurt is 19 g. But come on this cake is homemade with some pretty wholesome ingredients. A little chocolate, a little butter, eggs. And of course, the chestnuts! The makings of a great cake. And we are talking about dessert here and not about breakfast.
I used a package of vacuum-sealed chestnuts that were already roasted and peeled, which makes life very easy. All I had to do is throw them in the blender for 10 seconds to grind them up. Chestnuts are generally a seasonal item that is only offering in the supermarkets during winter months and I purchased mine at my local supermarket, but they are also available online.
115 grams unsalted butter
200 grams dark chocolate (I used Lindt 70% cacao mild), broken into pieces
4 large eggs (room temperature), yolks and whites separated
1/4 cup soft brown sugar (I recommend GEPA organic raw cane sugar Mascobado) (35 g)
1/4 cup raw cane sugar (60 g)
generous pinch of sea salt
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
200 g grams chopped cooked chestnuts (vacuum-packed), ground in a food processor
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F / 190°C and grease a 20 cm springform or cake pan generously with butter. Dust with flour and tap out the excess. (If using a cake pan without a removable bottom line the base with parchment paper).
2. In a large heatproof bowl, combine the butter and chocolate. Set over a saucepan of gently boiling water and heat, stirring often, until nearly completely melted. Remove bowl from saucepan, whisk mixture until smooth and set aside.
3. In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the Mascobado sugar and salt until well combined. Stir in the warm chocolate and set aside.
4. Put the egg whites in a large mixing bowl with the lemon juice and beat until fluffy, then add the raw cane sugar and beat until the whites form peaks.
5. Stir the ground chestnuts into the chocolate batter, then fold in 1/4 of the egg white mixture. Gently fold in remaining whites and transfer batter into the prepared springform pan, smoothing the top with a spatula.
6. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out almost clean. Set aside and cool on a wire rack. The cake may sink and crack a bit on top — this can be expected. Run a knife around the edge of cake to free sides and remove form. Transfer to a serving plate, sprinkle with cocoa powder or icing sugar. Or garnish as desired and enjoy!
7. Store the cake covered, at room temperature, for up to 3 days.
ADAPTED FROM the New York Times