If you are looking for a show-stopper dessert for the holidays that is still marginally healthy, this is the recipe for you. A dense, moist, deeply-chocolatey cake that is grain free and lower in sugar, this is a dessert that serves ten (normal) people. We had two slices left a few days after I made this, and much controversy broke out when Harrison ate BOTH slices for breakfast one morning. This is the cake right out of the oven:
And this is the cake after a liberal dusting of cocoa powder:
I used a package of vacuum-sealed chestnuts that were already roasted and peeled, which made this relatively simple to prepare. Chestnuts are generally a seasonal item and I purchased mine at a specialty grocery, but they are widely available online. If you have access to whole, fresh chestnuts and want to roast them yourself, just weigh out seven ounces after they are cooked, peeled, and cooled.
The texture of this while it is still warm is silky and mousse-like, and after chilling it becomes firmer in texture and a little more crumbly. It slices beautifully either way.
Dark Chocolate Chestnut Cake
- 7 ounces roasted, peeled chestnuts
- 2/3 cup full-fat coconut milk (or substitute half and half)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 8 ounces of good-quality dark chocolate (I used 85%)
- 4 ounces butter
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 4 eggs
- Optional: cocoa powder, to dust the top of the cake
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9-inch springform cake pan with butter or coconut oil.
- In a blender or food processor, pulse the chestnuts, coconut milk, and vanilla extract until you have a coarse paste.
- Break the dark chocolate into pieces and place it in a small saucepan. Add the butter and warm over low heat, stirring frequently, until the butter and chocolate are melted and smooth. Remove from heat.
- Separate the eggs, placing the yolks in a large mixing bowl and the whites in another large mixing bowl. Whisk the maple syrup into the egg yolks until well blended, then stir in the chestnut puree and the melted chocolate.
- Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks and then fold them into the chocolate batter in thirds. When the egg whites are just incorporated, spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the cake is only slightly jiggly in the center when you move the pan. Cool completely before slicing. If you want to dust the top with cocoa, spoon a couple of tablespoons of cocoa powder into a fine sieve and shake it gently over the top of the cake. If you don't want a big mess, place the cake on some waxed paper before you do this step.