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“Le Marron” Debut Socco!
Posted: 14 October 2010 10:22 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I fully expected to take home (and slice and freeze) a good bit of Le Marron from TCB—The Chestnut Sand Cake + Chestnut Buttercream I made for my old boss’s birthday—for two reasons:
(1) we didn’t start until 3PM and
(2) brown may be the new black, but chestnut is not the new chocolate.

However, the sliced picture shows the remains at 3:30!!!  Everyone absolutely LOVED it!

Not only is it the delicious cake imaginable—and I challenge you to find a moister one!—but it also fascinates people in its concept.  For people who don’t know what a chestnut cake would taste like, my best description would be to imagine a “buttermilk praline” cake, as that’s how I would best describe the flavor without using the word chestnut.

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Baking notes!

> I got the chestnut flour (for the cake part) and the dried chestnuts (for the frosting) from nutsonline.com.  Both were of a great quality, and one bag of each provides way extra of both.
> Special thanks to Charles T:  I had a paranoid moment, as the only bread flour I could find was unbleached, but CT set me straight that that is the norm for bread flour—all worked out perfectly!
> Special thanks to Julie for her really helpful thoughts and experience with chestnuts and rum!!!
> I made 2 batches of chestnut puree—for one, I soaked the dried chestnuts in milk overnight before simmering, for the other, I simmered directly.  No difference.  Both awesome!
> As I didn’t have enough milk after a point, I had to use something else to help puree my chestnuts, so I went with raw honey because it would liquify to puree, but then harden again at room temp.  Worked perfectly, and this became the primary frosting sweetener for the “Easy Chestnut Buttercream” recipe from TCB.
> The frosting still needed to be a teeny bit sweeter, as I didn’t put much honey in the puree, so I added a touch of golden syrup and about 1T vanilla.
> I tried the frosting both with and without rum, and I liked it both ways.  The hub preferred no rum, so I left it out, and the frosting and the cake paired perfectly!

Oddly enough, the frosting has more chestnuts, but the cake tastes more chestnutty.

This is a perfect cake to add to your fall list, as it is truly amazing in its texture, taste and ease of preparation!!!!

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Bonus savory recipe!  Chestnut stew!

I originally tried soaking the dried chestnuts in water, but the soaking water tasted so good, I didn’t want to pitch it, so I reserved these and switched to the milk method with all new dried chestnuts.  However, for this “water batch,” I pitched them, a can of chicken broth (I used up all my homemade when I was recently sick), a yellow squash and 1/2 onion and simmered it all until the chestnuts were tender.  Then I boiled it down until the onions disintegrated and there was very little liquid left.  Added a pinch of parsley/oregano/basil, and it was the most heavenly, savory thing you could ever eat!

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Chestnut Sand (Whole) (Small).jpgChestnut Cake (Sliced) 2 (small).jpg
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Posted: 14 October 2010 10:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Looks so delicious and inviting!  So glad it turned out well and everyone loved it, I know you’ve been planning it for a while now. smile

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Posted: 14 October 2010 11:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Lovely, lovely, lovely Anne.  The crumb looks so moist from your pictures.  I never really considered making this cake, but from the raves reviews you gave it,
I might try it sometime.

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Posted: 15 October 2010 09:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Looks delicious.  Glad everyone loved it.

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Posted: 15 October 2010 10:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Thank you, everyone! 

Yes, Liza—if you get the chance, to make it!  It’s just as good without frosting, so you can also just make the cake part.  It even bakes up nicely in mini-loafs.

Geez, Julie!  I edited my original post to thank you for all the chestnut advice.  I am so brain dead this week—I can’t believe I overlooked it.  You were so helpful, and I really appreciated it!!!!!!!

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Posted: 15 October 2010 11:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I shouldn’t have looked at this until later today. It’s breakfast time and now I’m hungry for cake.  Anne, your cake looks so tender and delicious.  I never even noticed this recipe in TCB.  I will read it later. Really yummy looking! I’m so glad it was a success for you

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Posted: 15 October 2010 12:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Thank you, Missy!  You and the hub would LOVE the Chestnut Sand Cake.  And it is so easy to make!  Let me tell you this, too:  It bakes up awesomely in mini loaf pans—I made extra batter to make one—used about 1/3 recipe—and let it sit on the counter about 45 minutes before baking (to dome it’s top—it waited while the “real” cake baked).  It would take well to drizzles and glazes—even crumbles—as well!

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Posted: 15 October 2010 04:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Dear Anne
I was always intrigued by the recipe but felt sure I wouldn’t like the taste. Candied chestnuts (marrons glace) always tasted too starchy and too sweet to me. But your description of pralines sounds so tempting…
and did you use Chestnut flour for the cake? did it have a slightly different texture than other wheat and nut cakes?
Shokat

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Posted: 15 October 2010 04:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Hi, Shokat!

I did use the chestnut flour in the cake.  I am sure you wouldn’t find this cake overly sweet.  Rose is quite wonderful about not over-sweetening things, and my husband is definitely very sensitive to too-sweetness, and he is just blown away by this cake (and, truly, the cake-part of every one of Rose’s cakes I’ve made).  I probably made the frosting less sweet, but since I used honey instead of powdered sugar, I can’t say for sure.  I think the cake does have a slightly different texture than “regular” butter cakes.  I would say it is a microscopic bit breadier, but it truly seems to suit this cake, and I think that if you didn’t know what was going on, you’d simply translate it to moistness.  I don’t know why this is, since the gluten ratios all balance out, I’m sure, but there is a miniscule texture difference.  But like I say, it works.

This cake—unfrosted—is truly amazing. The batter doesn’t taste much different from a “regular” butter cake, but the baked cake is a powerhouse of unique and delicious flavor.  I’m actually quite amazed by it.

I see that chestnut is often paired with chocolate, but I tried a bit of ganache with this, and it didn’t do anything for me. Even though the cake has a very pronounced and wonderful flavor, chocolate—even walnuts and such—seem to overpower it.  Essentially, it wants to be left alone to be a chestnut cake.  I think maybe chocolate, etc., is often added to “dress it up a bit,” because frosted, it’s not really a showpiece of color or contrast, but it’s a very french looking old fashioned yellowed-sort of sand color, and that appeals to me personally.  LOL

I would definitely recommend this cake—plain or frosted—to everyone.  Plain, it’s so simple, it’s laughable, and you can use your leftover chestnut flour in cookies or bread or pasta.  Better yet, make it again as mini-loafs, pop ‘em in your freezer, and hand them out at Christmastime!  I just let the loaf sit on the counter for about 40 minutes or so, and it domed very nicely!  People seem to be very curious about the flavor and suspect they might not like it, but then they eat it and their minds are blown.  I saw it happen again and again on Wednesday, and everyone ate every last bite, and a few had seconds, so it would make a very nice and unique gift as an unfrosted quickbread.  They all seemed very pleased (just as I was) to have been exposed to this unique and unexpected flavor in a cake.

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Posted: 15 October 2010 04:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Wow Anne! Your enthusiasm and very very detailed response shows me how much you were surprised by how good this cake is. I guess I’m going to have to make this baby and see for myself.
Thank you for your enthusiasm—I’m having a frustrating—things-are-not-going-my-way- day at work and your comments gave me a big lift and a smile.
Shokat

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Posted: 15 October 2010 04:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I?m having a frustrating?things-are-not-going-my-way- day at work

Hopefully, all funky matters at work will smooth-out by the end of the day so you don’t think about it on the weekend!!

And it’s easy to be enthusiastic about the Chestnut Sand Cake!!!!

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Posted: 15 October 2010 08:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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How nice you are. I’m going to make Babka again this weekend. And take a look at nutsonline for chestnut flour.
all power to the cake bakers on Rose’s blog. You are a generous bunch.
Shokat

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Posted: 15 October 2010 08:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Anne I have a question for you. How much flour did you buy? How much dried chestnuts? $7.99/lb is steep!

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Posted: 15 October 2010 10:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I bought one bag of each, and there’s pleanty left over.  I put my leftovers in the freezer.

That savory dish with the dried chestnuts is amazing, though, if you like that sort of thing! 

Also, you can make the cake without the frosting.  Scope around the site, as you might find other “special ingredients” that can ride on the minimum shipping charge.  They’ve got a good variety of coconut products—I got coconut flour and dried coconut to make coconut cakes with and popped them in my freezer, too.

Depending on where you live, BTW, you might be able to find chestnut flour locally.

Good luck with the babka!!

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Posted: 17 October 2010 04:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Anne, nothing like a cake that everyone just gobbles up!!  I must say, I was also entertained by the information card you included in the cake photo—very much you, always thinking of everyone’s concerns and thoughtful enough to provide a flavor profile, to boot! 

BTW I did end up making the Golden Butter Cream cake and trying the Chocolate Butter cake too.  The butter cake is killer!!  I only had a small taste of the chocolate tonight, but it was also melt-in-your mouth good.  Or maybe I’ve just been cake deprived…either way, they are both delicious!

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Posted: 17 October 2010 09:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I did end up making the Golden Butter Cream cake and trying the Chocolate Butter cake too.

oooh, Loop!!!!  So, do you remain the Domingo Mama or are you now the Butter Babe???

Thamks for all the kind words, BTW.  There were no obvious nuts on on the cake, and I didn’t want to send any co-workers to the hospital in nut shock, with medical costs what they are and all!  LOL

Can’t wait to hear about the yellow cake, too!!!!!!

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