Tag Archives: Baking

Happy New Year! Chestnuts everywhere ( continued)


Magic in the kitchen

Chapter three

Chestnut purée CAKES

It’s 1st of january 2013!

Last night we had our friends around for a New Year celebration !

As a tradition here at La Croix du Reh  the New Year’s night dinner is all russian cuisine!

however, we made a couple of french (foie gras) and british ( roast potatoes) additions to our table this year.

And as per russian tradition we had a assortment of winter salads for starters, the Beef Stroganoff with roasted potatoes, green beans and mushrooms à la Russe and of course 2 cakes “white” and “black”.

Both cakes were appreciated by our guests.

Little they know,  that both cakes were made with the same base recipe My chestnut purée cake and it was the filling that made both cakes so different one from the other.

So here there are.

Chestnut purée and chocolate cake.


For base:

  •   400 gr sweet chestnut purée
  •   5 medium eggs
  •   100 gr light brown  or white sugar
  •   100 gr  softened butter
  •   1 – 2 tbsp Rum
  •   300 gr Ground almonds
  •   1 1/2 ts baking powder

For filling:

  • 200 gr sweet chestnut purée
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 100 gr soft butter
  • 100 gr crushed hazelnuts or walnuts

For chocolate frosting:

  • 300 ml double cream
  • 100 gr sugar
  • 200 gr dark chocolate


  1. Make a cake mixture as in the Chestnut purée cake recipe
  2. Divide the mixture into tree equal parts and bake in two separate  21cm -26cm buttered and lined tins and bake in preheated 170°C oven.
  3. Once the bases are ready, remove the tins from the oven, cover with a tea towel and leave to cool on the rack, without taking the cake bases out of the cake form.

* It is possible to bake the mixture in one tin and slice it into three after it’s cooled down.

4.  Prepare the filling by whisking sweet chestnut purée, cocoa and soft butter until light and fluffy.

5. Prepare the chocolate frosting.  Heat the cream and sugar to the boiling point .  Add the chocolate, broken into pieces and mix well until smooth glossy ganache achieved.

6. Set ganache aside to cool completely.

5. Arrange the first cake base on the plate , cover generously with prepared filling and sprinkle with  hazelnuts.

6. Repeat  with the second layer.

7. Arrange the third cake base on the top.

8. Whisk cold ganache until light and fluffy and pipe or smudge it all over the cake.

9.  Put cake into the fridge for at least couple of hours to set or until ready to serve.

And Voila!

Happy New Year, everybody!

I wish you all the best in 2013: good health, peace and love!

PS Find the White chestnut cake in my recipe section.

La Croix du Reh b&b Limousin France

Chesnuts here, chestnuts there, chestnuts everywhere!


Magic in the kitchen

Chapter two

Chestnut puree cake

Limousin region, where  myself and my husband Peter are living  and running our wonderful Bed & Breakfast La Croix Du Reh now for nine years, is known for its meat production, especially the world-famous Limousin beef. It is the region of nature with plenty of forests, rivers and lakes. Hundreds of mushroom pickers come from other regions every autumn.

Also Limousin is one of the main producers of chestnuts in France. The chestnut tree is very symbolic for Limousin: the regional logo of Limousin is represented by a chestnut tree leaf and chestnut trees are also used as a building material with many old houses having been adorned with beautiful chestnut parquet floors and staircases.  chestnuts

Chestnut trees are called sometimes ” bread tree”, because chestnuts were a major, if not the only part, of a local diet during the hard times of food shortages. It is therefore no surprise that chestnuts are still widely used in the local cuisine.

Recently, I had an opportunity to attend a three day cookery course in Limoges. This was my first ever experience with a professional chef hand to hand on the other side of the counter, in a professional kitchen. And … I loved it! It was fabulous

The course was called “Cuisiner Limousin”. The idea is to get experience in cooking regional Limousin cuisine using as much local produce as possible. Of  course half of the dishes that we discovered used chestnuts. All this and pre-Christmas thinking about what to cook for Christmas or New Year celebration inspired me to come up with a Chestnut spread (puree) cake recipe.

What I have come up with is a gluten-free version, very much like my Tired Fruits Cake. But if you don’t want to use ground almonds, please feel free to substitute them with white all-purpose flour.


  •   400 gr sweet chestnut puree*
  •   5 medium eggs
  •   100 gr light brown  or white sugar **
  •   100 gr  softened butter
  •   1 – 2 tbs Rum
  •   300 gr Ground almonds
  •   1 1/2 ts baking powder
  •   marrons glacés (chestnuts candied in sugar syrup and glazed) – OPTIONAL

For cream Chantilly:

  • 300 ml whipping cream (or double cream)
  • 80 gr sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod (or 2-3 drops of liquid vanilla extract)

Note: * if  using unsweetened chestnut puree, increase the sugar quantity** to 200 gr


1.   Preheat the oven to 170ºC.

2.   Whisk softened butter and sugar, then add all the other ingredients  and mix well.

* You don’t have to use a food processor. I use it because I have one and it makes the preparation quicker.

3.    Butter and line a 21cm 26cm springform tin. I use silicone cake 26cm form, that does not need neither greasing nor lining.

4.  Pour the cake mixture into it. Bake the cake for an hour to an hour and a half, or until it feels more or less firm to touch. If it starts burning on the top, cover with foil or greaseproof paper.

5.    Remove cake from the oven, cover with a tea towel and leave to cool on the rack, without taking it out of the cake form. If preparing in advance, you can leave the cake to cool down over night in the oven after switching the power off. In the morning put it in the fridge without removing it from the form until you want to decorate it.

6 Whip the cream with sugar and vanilla and decorate the cake to your taste with a few candied chestnuts scattered on the top. BON APPETITE!