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.
> 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!!!!
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!