Chocolate and chestnut cake
- November 2022
- Serves 8
- Hands-on time 30 min, plus overnight soaking, oven time 30-35 min
The sponge in this chestnut and chocolate cake is made with blended cooked chestnuts and crème fraîche, which have a natural sweetness that means the cake doesn’t need loads of sugar and the nuts bring a wonderful moistness to the cake too. It’s the ideal Christmas cake for people who don’t like Christmas cake. When it comes to decorating, don’t hold back!
Debora says: “This is quick to make but suitably rich and delicious for a special occasion. If you want to, bake the cake itself ahead of time, let it cool, then wrap and freeze for up to two months.”
- 40.7g (24.5g saturated)
- 48.4g (39g sugars)
- 60g golden raisins
- 60ml red wine, sweet red vermouth or port
- 100g unsalted butter, chopped into cubes, plus extra to grease
- 300g vacuum-packed cooked chestnuts
- 130ml crème fraîche
- 30g plain flour, plus extra to dust
- 1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1⁄2 tsp ground ginger
- 200g dark chocolate, chopped
- 3 medium free-range eggs, separated
- 60g caster sugar
For the ganache
- 100g dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 160ml double cream
- Chocolate sprinkles, sugared almonds, gold chocolate pearls, marrons glacés and/or gold shimmer dust to decorate
- Deep 16cm loose- bottom cake tin (see Know-how)
- Put the raisins in a small bowl with the wine, vermouth or port and leave to soak overnight so they plump up. If you can’t wait, put the fruit and wine in a small pan, bring to the barest of simmers, then set aside to cool. 2 Lightly grease the base and sides of the cake tin with butter and line with baking paper. Heat the oven to 160°C fan/gas 4.
- In a food processor or with a hand blender, whizz the chestnuts and crème fraîche until smooth. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, cinnamon, ginger and a pinch of salt.
- Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water (the bowl shouldn’t touch the water), stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat, cool slightly, then whisk into the chestnut mix. Stir in the egg yolks one at a time, along with the flour mixture.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Slowly add the sugar a little at a time until glossy. With a metal spoon, fold a third of the egg whites into the cake mixture to loosen it, then fold in the rest until just combined. Drain the raisins, then fold them in too.
- Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the top. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a few crumbs cling to a toothpick pushed into the middle. Let the cake cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove to a rack. 6 When the cake is completely cool, flip it over on the rack and peel off the baking paper – this is now the top of the cake. For the ganache, put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Warm the cream until steam just appears on the surface – if it gets too hot, the ganache might split.
- Pour the cream over the chocolate, leave for a minute, then stir gently with a rubber spatula until smooth. Leave for 5 minutes to thicken slightly, then slowly pour it over the cake (put some baking paper underneath the rack it to make it easier to tidy up and scoff some of the excess ganache). When the ganache has set, decorate as you wish. Don’t hold back.
The (unfrosted) cake can be made up to 2 months in advance, wrapped and frozen. The ganache can be
made up to 1 day in advance and kept in the fridge, but it will need gently warming through until it’s a pouring consistency.
You can make this in an 18cm cake tin – it just won’t be quite as tall.
Rate & review
Or, how about...?
Subscribe to our magazine
Food lovers, treat yourself this Christmas... Enjoy 12 months of magazines for £29.99 – just £2.50 an issue.Subscribe
Unleash your inner chef
Looking for inspiration? Receive the latest recipes with our newsletter