Do you love chocolate cake? Last weekend I made my famous chocolate cake; albeit with a few amendments to the recipe to produce a wheat-free option, because everybody knows now that I am eating shape consciously.
I had a few bags of vacuum packed chestnuts left over from last Christmas. Fortunately, for an ingenious mind, there are things you can do to weed unwanted vacuum packed chestnuts from your kitchen cabinet: I substituted the flour and used the unloved chestnuts instead.
Hubby seemed amused at my attempts, slightly distrustful of the experiment, in that classic hubby way and suggested we get some chocolate biscuits just in case my experiment wouldn’t work out… .
Baking often invites a little bit of craziness that will delight not only kids and baffle suspicious husbands: Quite unexpectedly and to my great delight the chocolate cake turned out well with a subtle flavour of chestnut that I love; sumptuous, light, crunchy… and yes, he loved it, too!
Crunchy Chestnut and Chocolate Cake (Torta Di Castagne e Cioccolato)!
Prep 30 min
Baking 45 min
Rest 20 min
Keep 1 week, in a dry place
1 electrical mixer
1 round spring-release cake tin/ any round cake tin + kitchen foil
1 chopping board
1 sharp knife or food processor
400g (2 packets) vacuum–packed chestnuts
300ml (2 glasses) milk
150g mixed chopped nuts, or whole nuts
200g (2 packets) best quality bitter chocolate (70% dark)
250g caster sugar
120g (2 glasses) soft unsalted butter
5 eggs, separated
1 lemon, zest of
1 eggs, pinch of salt
20g icing sugar
1. I preheat the oven to 150 C/300F/ Gas 2. In the past I have preheated to 180 C, but the cake turns out to be moister when baked at a lower heat for a bit longer.
2. I butter a 25cm (10 in) round spring-release cake tin.
3. I then simmer the chestnuts in milk for 20 minutes, until soft. Drain and discard the milk, then chop up the chestnuts and chocolate coarsely with a sharp knife, or in a food processor; finally I mix chocolate and chestnuts with the nuts. For added flavour, instead roast whole nuts in a dry pan and chop them up coarsely.
4. I cream together soft butter and sugar in an electric mixer until smooth, pale and light. Add the yolks – one by one; by mixing in each yolk for 1 minute. Then I add the chocolate/chestnut/nut mix, the lemon zest and a pinch of salt.
5. I beat the egg whites for a few minutes at maximum speed, until stiff. Fold 1/4 of the stiff egg white into the chocolate mix, before gently folding in the rest.
6. I spoon the mix into the prepared tin and bake the cake in the pre-heated oven for 45 minutes. I turn the oven off and leave the cake in the oven to set. I remove the tin from the oven and leave the tin to cool down. When cold, I remove the cake from the tin and place it on a cake rack. Just before serving, I dust the cake with icing sugar. Voila!
7. In the unfortunate event that you have not got a spring-release tin handy, any round tin will do. However, I suggest you line the tin with kitchen foil and butter the foil before spooning in the cake mix. This prevents the cake from sticking to the tin, and helps you remove it easily from the tin when cold, without the chocolate cake breaking up.
Let me know what you think! Share your chocolate cake variations & experiments with us!