Chocolate chestnut cake recipe for baking heavyweights

This chocolate chestnut cake recipe is for all you baking heavyweights who fancy a new baking challenge. And please note that by “baking challenge” I mean “epic baking challenge”. This is no recipe for the insecure, the impatient and the unmotivated. This recipe requires skill, focus and perseverance. You have been warned.

The process of making this cake (technically, a torte) has been a veritable tour de force, but it has been a tour de force from which I have emerged victorious. I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said that this cake is the Citizen Kane of my tortes and layer cakes in general. Even though I created this cake in a state of creative frenzy, I will try to describe every step of the baking process to the best of my abilities. But first of all, I will go to some lengths to explain why I chose to make this particular cake at this particular time.

1. On the significance of November

“Why go through so much trouble over a cake?”, you may ask yourselves. Well, I made this cake in mid-November and that is my favourite time of the year. There is something special about the period starting from around Halloween-time up to Christmas. It is beautiful, atmospheric and magical. This is the time when I spend long hours writing lengthy journal entries by candlelight, reflecting on the passing year and thinking about what I’d like to do in the coming year. It is also the time when chestnuts are everywhere, and chestnuts happen to be one of my favourite things in the universe. Hence this cake.

Chestnut cake

I made up the recipe and the decoration along the way, but I am going to describe the whole process as faithfully as I can.

2. Chocolate chestnut cake recipe

If you ever decide to make this cake (and there is no reason why you shouldn’t – providing you have the time, the patience and a steady chocolate-pouring hand), here are the ingredients you will need:

4 eggs
50g sugar
3 tbsp cocoa powder
80g butter
250g flour
a bit of baking powder

You will also need about 700g of chestnut puree, a bit (or more than a bit) of dark rum, 100g dark chocolate and 400ml double cream for the filling, 500ml whipping cream for the outer layer and 100g dark chocolate for the glazing.

First make the sponge, which is pretty standard stuff – separate the eggs and whip the whites until solid. In a separate bowl, mix the egg yolks with sugar and the add melted butter, cocoa powder, flour and baking powder. Pour into a greased 22cm tin and bake for 20min at 180C.

Now it’s time to make the filling. I am assuming you have purchased your chestnut puree ready-made, which is sensible, and now is the time to unpack it and dump it into a mixing bowl. I, on the other hand, have painstakingly boiled, peeled and ground my own chestnuts (visual evidence below) because this is how much I am into chestnuts. You are welcome to do the same, if you have the same affinities.


Left: before; right: after

Getting back to the matter at hand, while the chestnut puree is waiting patiently in the bowl, melt 100g of dark chocolate and 400g double cream in a pan over low heat. Then pour this over the chestnuts and stir thoroughly. You have now got your chestnut filling.

Cut the sponge horizontally into two pieces and assemble the cake like this (bottom to top): 1. first sponge at the bottom, 2. half of the filling on top of the sponge, 3. other sponge, 4. the rest of the filling on top.

Chestnut cake

Cake assembly layout

Now mix the whipping cream with an electric mixed until thick and then cover the cake all over with it (but do save some cream for decoration). If you’re wondering what is the best way to do this, I just threw the whipped cream on with a spoon and then smoothed it out with a knife. However, that may not be the best way.

Chestnut cake

Covered in cream

And now comes the most exciting part – the chocolate waterfall. I made the waterfall using 10% chocolate and 90% blind luck. I knew what kind of effect I wanted to make, but I had no idea if it would work (I was a chocolate waterfall novice at the time) and so I simply melted 100g of dark chocolate with a bit of butter, allowed it to cool down a bit and then I simply started pouring the chocolate onto the cake in a devil-may-care way. Or perhaps I am not remembering this part correctly – perhaps I was in fact super-careful and poured the chocolate ever so slowly onto the exact centre of the cake, allowing each trickle of chocolate to ooze down the side in the exact way that I wanted it to. I would still like to believe that the former scenario is true.

Chocolate waterfall

The fated waterfall

Now that the worst is behind us, you can take the remaining whipped cream and use it for additional cake decorations (see image below). If you have enough leftover chestnuts, feel free to arrange them in a circle or whichever other formation you fancy.

Chestnut cake

Serving suggestions

And that’s it! The amazing chestnut cake is now complete!

3. Final thoughts

As I have already pointed out, chestnuts are one of my favourite things in the universe, and this cake has been the best thing that’s ever existed (in the universe). It was a very brief existence, as existence often tends to be, but it was a memorable one nevertheless. Therefore I will wrap up this post with even more photos of this truly remarkable and unforgettable cake. May your eyes feast on its shameless sumptuousness:

Chestnut cake

Chestnut cake

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About Sonja Kudei

Sonja Kudei is a writer and web developer based in London.

2 Responses to “Chocolate chestnut cake recipe for baking heavyweights”

  1. I would die for a slice of this cake!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Oh my God!!!!!!!!!!Looks absolutely delicious!!!!Congrats!!!