If you’ve had your fill of rich fruit cake, why not opt for this chestnut and chocolate cake instead?
Soft and indulgent, this dessert is also the perfect way to use up any chestnuts you may have purchased or been gifted at Christmastime.
The recipe is included in new book Christmas At River Cottage by Lucy Brazier and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
The chestnuts must be peeled and cooked before being included in the cake mix. Vacuum-packed or tinned products can also be used.
This cake is sure to have broad appeal at any festive dinner table – especially for anyone who isn’t a fan of dried fruit.
Chocolate and chestnut cake
- 250g peeled cooked chestnuts (vacuum-packed or tinned are fine)
- 250ml milk
- 250g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids), broken up
- 250g unsalted butter, roughly cut up
- 4 medium eggs, separated
- 100g caster sugar
- Preheat the oven to 170C/150C Fan/325F/Gas Mark 3, and grease and line your 25cm springform cake tin.
- Put the chestnuts and milk into a pan and heat until just boiling. Take off the heat and mash well with a potato masher – you are aiming for a creamy purée, with just a few crumbly bits of chestnut. Set aside.
- Put the chocolate and butter into a second pan and place over a very low heat. Keeping a close eye, to ensure that the chocolate doesn’t get too hot, melt them gently together, stirring now and then. Allow to cool a little.
- Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a large bowl until blended and creamy (they don’t need to reach a ‘moussy’ stage). Stir in the warm (not hot) chocolate mixture and then the chestnut purée, to create a well-blended batter.
- Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl until they hold stiff peaks. Take one spoonful of egg white and mix it into the batter to loosen it, then fold the rest in lightly, trying not to knock out too much air.
- Carefully transfer the mixture to the prepared tin. Bake for 25–30 minutes until the cake is just set but with a slight wobble still in the centre.
- To serve warm, leave to cool a little then release the cake from the tin. Slice carefully – it will be very soft. Alternatively, leave the cake to go cold, when it will have set a bit firmer.
Christmas At River Cottage by Lucy Brazier and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is published by Bloomsbury Publishing, priced £22.