How To Make Chestnut Cake in Three Ways

Chestnut Cake in three versions for anyone to enjoy. Traditional Italian Castagnaccio - Chestnut cake, Chocolate Chestnut cake, Chocolate & Pears Chestnut Cake full video recipes and Details.

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Chestnut Cake in Three Ways

A complete view on three different recipes made using chestnut. Traditional Italian rustic cake "Castagnaccio". Chocolate Chestnut cake. The Ultimate Chestnut cake. Three Chestnut Cake recipes that will satisfy every taste.
Extremely easy to make, naturally vegan and gluten free in all three recipes.

  • 500 gr Chestnut Flour

  • 650 gr Water / Plant-Based Milk (Best with -Soy, Oat, Cashew)

  • 50 gr Extra Virgin Olive Oil 

  • 80 gr Sultanas

  • 60 gr Pine Nuts

  • 60 gr Walnuts

  • Rosemary (a small branch) 

  • Pinch of Salt

  • 500 gr Chestnut Flour

  • 750 gr Plant-Based Milk (Best with -Soy, Oat, Cashew)

  • 50 gr Extra Virgin Olive Oil 

  • 80 gr Sultanas

  • 30 gr Pine Nuts

  • 60 gr Walnuts

  • 60 gr Cocoa Powder 

  • 40 gr Chocolate Chips

  • 50 gr Agave Syrup / Maple Syrup

  • Pinch of Salt

  • 500 gr Chestnut Flour

  • 750 gr Plant-Based Milk (Best with -Soy, Oat, Cashew)

  • 50 gr Extra Virgin Olive Oil 

  • 500 gr Pears (Approx. 4)

  • 60 gr Walnuts

  • 60 gr Cocoa Powder 

  • 20 gr Chocolate Chips

  • 60 gr Agave Syrup / Maple Syrup

  • Pinch of Salt

Dessert Garnishing

  • Chocolate Syrup

  • Agave Syrup

  • Marron Glacè

The ingredients are for a 8 to 10 Portions Cake

Baking Pan 21 cm / 8 inch

Castagnaccio is a flavourful Italian recipe that has an unique aroma and taste, and here we bring in three different variation. From its original version to our ultimate chocolate and pear chestnut cake, all of them are delicious, but they bring different flavours and taste to a common binding element, chestnut.

We will start by sharing our recipe for the typical Italian Castagnaccio, a chestnut cake recipe passed on generation after generation.

This dessert is originally from Tuscany, region of centre Italy, from the city of Lucca. From Tuscany it spread in all Italy, and now many other regions have their own variation of this dessert.

Here we introduce you to our three chestnut cake variations.

If you have never tried chestnut flour before, we have got you covered as you will appreciate the use of plant-based milk instead of water.

Chestnut flour has a strong and particular flavour on the final dessert that normally generate two different and opposite reactions: you love it or you don’t.

We find that using a good creamy and lightly sweet plant-based milk reduce the strong flavour of the chestnut without changing the recipe.

The original recipe will use only water, but we suggest this option only if you have tried chestnut flour before and you are used and love the taste.

Another ingredient that is not normally used in the traditional recipe of Castagnaccio (chestnut cake), is sugar.

Despite what tradition says, we find that adding some agave syrup or maple syrup (least drizzle on top), bring a new dimension to this dessert. Depending on how sweet of a person you are, you may want to use it or not.

There are other elements that complete and garnish this typical dessert; walnuts, pine nuts, sultanas and a touch of rosemary.

In the second recipe the Chocolate binds with chestnut to bring a different flavour to this dessert.

The last recipe is our vision to this dessert, every ingredient combines to each other in a delicate yet full experience; pear, chocolate and chestnut for a different tasty vegan dessert, gluten free and with no refined sugar.

Notes:

We kept the flavour of all three recipes as close to its original version as possible. 

This means that you will appreciate it the most if you have tried chestnut flour before and you are familiar with its unique taste.

 If you have never tried chestnut flour before you will have two possible reaction trying it; you love it, or you don’t. Our recipes are thought to give you the best out of this flavour combination, especially if you are new to chestnut flour desserts.

If you are used to eat really sweet desserts, our suggestion is to increase the amount of agave / maple syrup in the recipe to your personal taste.

The Chocolate Chestnut cake has an intense chocolate flavour, but with little sweetness, so if you prefer sweet chocolate or you are not consuming 80% dark chocolate, you will prefer adding some extra sweetness.

Without further undo let’s dig into these three cakes, surprisingly easy to make.

The first dessert we are going to make, the “Castagnaccio” (Italian name for chestnut cake) is the easiest of the three recipes and is from our original Italian recipe.

We start this recipe preparing our ingredients.

Place the sultanas in a bowl and pour some water into it, to rehydrate it. Let it soak for 15 minutes then drain the water and leave the sultanas aside.

Cut with a knife the walnuts into small pieces, or blend (by pulsing few times only with a food processor) and leave aside.

Prepare the rosemary by removing the needles from the stem with your hands and leave aside.

Using a large bowl with a fine mesh strainer fitted on top, add the chestnut flour to the bowl by sifting it (sifting is important to prevent clumps formation later on in the preparation, so do not skip this step).

Add the plant-based milk in the centre of the bowl, while whisking, then keep whisking it, until all combined into a smooth mixture. You could use water instead of milk in this step if you want to. Our choice is to use a good plant-based milk of soy, cashews, or oat that is naturally slightly sweet and creamy, to have the best result. The plant-based milk is softening slightly the chestnut flour taste and balancing out all the ingredients in the recipe.

Add the Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or any other vegetable oil you have that is not to strong in taste. Using a different vegetable oil will make it less authentic to the eyes of  the purist, but you will not lose any appreciable taste after all, so sunflower or mild taste olive oil will work too. 

Add the pine nuts to the cake batter, keeping a few aside to garnish on top.

Add the sultanas and the walnuts pieces, you previously prepared, to the mixture, keeping some aside to garnish on top.

Add a pinch of salt, whisk well to combine all the ingredients.

Prepare a baking pan of 21 cm / 8 inch lining with parchment paper and greasing with some oil the sides of the pan. If you have a springform pan use it, as it will make it easier to remove the cake from the baking pan. 

Pour the cake batter into the baking pan, then gently shake the pan to level the surface.

Garnish on top with the ingredients you left aside; sprinkle with some walnuts, add the remaining pine nuts and sultanas.

Finish to garnish with some rosemary.

Bake the chestnut cake in a static oven at 180°C / 350°F for 35/40 minutes until it cracks on top. 

Tips for baking it “just the way you like it”:

The cake does not need to rise, so if you are in doubt about baking time or you prefer your cake to be a little more soft you can open the oven and check at any time you think is appropriate.

If you prefer, you could bake it slightly less, as long as you wait for the surface of the cake to be cooked and firm before taking it out of the oven, and you check it with a Skewer. You should feel some resistance while inserting the skewer, and it should come out just a little wet, but not too wet. 

As a rule of thumb there is a difference of about 5 to 7 minutes between a firmer version and a softer one.

Take the chestnut cake out of the oven and let it cool on a cooling rack for about 20 minutes. Then run a knife around the edges and take the cake out of the baking pan, to let it cool completely.

Store the Castagnaccio covered in the fridge until serving.

The Castagnaccio cake will last 2-3 days.

We do not suggest you freezing this cake.

Serve the Castagnaccio cold and drizzle some agave or maple syrup on top.

We talk Chocolate now!

The two new ingredients that bring this dessert to life are cacao powder and chocolate chips.

This version of chestnut cake is true to its original flavour, giving you the experience of an Italian chestnut cake, but bringing and intense chocolate note. We feel it gives the best combination of the two ingredients: chestnut and chocolate.

We are using in this recipe chocolate chips 60%, and unsweetened cacao powder. Keeping these two ingredients and the quantity of agave syrup we suggested (50gr) you will have a dark chocolate chestnut cake.

This said, taste is really subjective so feel free to tweak agave/maple syrup and chocolate according to your personal taste. Slightly increase the agave/maple to make it sweeter, or use a different percentage in the chocolate you are using to make it the way you like it.

If you don’t have chocolate chips you can finely cut your favourite chocolate and use that instead, it will work exactly in the same way, as long as you finely cut it so it will homogenously melt in our dessert. 

If you have read the previous recipe, the preparation of this one is similar, we will just go through each step highlighting adding more details, if there is anything new.

We start preparing our ingredients.

Place the sultanas in a bowl and pour some water into it, to rehydrate it. Let it soak for 15 minutes then drain the water and leave the sultanas aside.

Cut with a knife the walnuts into small pieces, or blend (by pulsing few times only with a food processor) and leave aside.

Sift with a fine mesh strainer the chestnut flour and cacao powder in a big bowl.

Add a pinch of salt and whisk well to combine the ingredients.

Start adding the plant-based milk in the centre while whisking to prevent clumps formation.

Keep whisking until all the ingredients are combined.

Add the Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or any alternative you selected, mild tasting olive oil or sunflower oil work too).

Add agave syrup (or maple syrup) and whisk well until the mixture is smooth and has a creamy consistency.

Add sultanas, pine nutswalnuts and chocolate chips, leaving some pine nuts and walnuts aside for garnishing the top of the cake.

Whisk the cake batter until the ingredients are incorporated.

Prepare a springform baking pan of 21 cm / 8 inch lining with parchment paper and greasing with some oil the sides of the pan. 

Pour the cake batter into the baking pan.

Garnish the Chocolate chestnut cake with the ingredients you left aside; sprinkle with some walnuts, add the remaining pine nuts.

Bake the Chocolate Chestnut cake in a static oven at 180°C / 350°F for 35/40 minutes until it cracks on top.

Take the chestnut cake out of the oven and let it cool on a cooling rack for about 20 minutes. Then run a knife around the edges and take the cake out of the baking pan, to let it cool completely.

Store the Chocolate Chestnut cake covered in the fridge until serving.

The Chocolate Chestnut cake will last 2-3 days.

We do not suggest you freezing this cake.

Serve the cake cold, garnishing on top with some chocolate chips and a drizzle of chocolate syrup and agave syrup.

The Ultimate Chestnut Cake is the perfect combination between chestnut, chocolate and pears.

This Cake is moister, softer and naturally sweeter, thanks to the pears, than the other two chestnut cakes. Even if it is really easy to make will leave your guest surprised as they will have never tried anything like this before. 

The preparation of this chestnut cake is slightly different from the previous two.

We need to prepare two different cake batter starting from the same base, cook the cake in two different times, to add the pears garnishing on top.

For this recipe pay particular attention to the ingredient’s measurement, as on top you will find just the total measure for each ingredient. Some of the ingredient need to be added at different times in the recipe so you will need to measure them out will preparing the cake, to be able to use just a portion of them at the time.

Pay attention to select a good variety of pears for baking, you certainly don’t want anything grainy and too soft. Look for a variety that cook and soften slightly in the oven without losing its consistency, it needs to hold its shape as it will be the top garnish of the dessert.

First we prepare the “basic” batter for the chestnut cake. 

Using a large bowl, with a fine mesh strainer fitted on top, add by sifting the chestnut flour to the bowl.

Add a pinch of salt, the walnuts and whisk well to combine.

Add 500 gr of plant-based milk in the centre of the chestnut flour, while whisking with a whisk.

While you keep whisking add oil and agave syrup to the mixture.

Whisk well until all the ingredients are combined. Leave the batter aside while you proceed with the next step.

In this preparation is more common to end up having some clumps in the cake batter, so don’t panic and just blend with an electric hand mixer until the batter is smooth and creamy. We added proportionally less liquid at this point, this is the reason why is harder to get a smooth batter as you did in the previous two recipes.

We prepare at his point approximately 2 pears, by peeling and cutting them in small pieces, you will need to have 300 gr of pears cut in small pieces.

Add 200 gr of pears to the batter, stir with a spatula to combine.

Use a second bowl to divide the cake batter in two equal portions.

Add 120 gr of plant-based milk to one of the two cake batter you have just separated. Stir or whisk to combine the ingredients.

Add cocoa powder little by little to the same cake batter, whisking after each addition until all the powder is incorporated.

You should have a smooth and creamy consistency, check the video for reference to this point.

Add chocolate chips to the chocolate batter, and whisk to combine.

Leave the chocolate cake batter aside.

In a jar blend 100 gr of pears, that you have prepared before, with 50 gr of plant-based milk.

Add the blend in the cake batter you left aside at the beginning (not the chocolate one).

Stir with a spatula to combine.

Prepare a springform baking pan of 21 cm / 8 inch lining with parchment paper and greasing with some oil the sides of the pan. 

Pour the chocolate batter into the baking pan.

Shake gently the pan to level the surface.

Pour on top the pear batter.

Bake The Ultimate Chestnut Cake in a static oven at 180°C / 350°F for 20/22 minutes, until it dries on top.

Prepare the pear slices to garnish on top by peeling and cutting thin slices of pear. the slices should have approximately the same thickness (this will ensure an even baking).

Brush the pear slices with some lemon juice slightly diluted in water to keep them yellow and shiny, preventing browning.  

After 20/22 minutes of baking, remove the cake from the oven and garnish on top with the pear slices.

Garnish placing the first pear slice close to the cake edges, following an imaginary ray that goes from the centre of the cake to the side. Place the next pear slice slightly on top of the first one, and so on, until you completely cover the cake forming an outer ring of slices, leaving a circular space in the middle.

Bake the cake in a static oven at 180°C / 350°F for an extra 25/27 minutes until the pears are cooked.

Take the Ultimate Chestnut Cake out of the oven and let it cool on a cooling rack for about 20 minutes. Then run a knife around the edges and take the cake out of the baking pan, to let it cool completely.

Brush the cake top with agave syrup (or maple syrup) and sprinkle with some walnuts.

Add some marron glacé pieces on top, and a full marron glacé in the centre.

Store the Ultimate Chestnut cake covered in the fridge until serving.

The Ultimate Chestnut cake will last 2-3 days.

We do not suggest you freezing this cake.

We hope you will enjoy preparing these vegan desserts with us.

Share them with your family, friends and guests. 

We are looking forward to hear your feedback preparing any of these recipes.

Let us know what you think about our Three Chestnut Cakes and feel free to share it with anyone you think may like them. 

Drop a comment below for any query or if you have experimented any variation with our chestnut cake recipes that you want to share.

Let’s change the world today one dessert at the time.

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