Get out your bundt pan to make this simple yet delicious chestnut cake for your next weekend brunch or afternoon get-together invitation with coffee and tea.
At this corner of the world, autumn is in full swing, and this means the abundance of fresh seasonal produce is just amazing. Actually, sometimes it feels there is too much of a choice, and I am struggling to decide whether to go for another pumpkin dish (they just look so inviting sitting there on farm stalls), or rather to pick some sweet potatoes, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, or else.
Just now, chestnuts are in abundance. Which means not before long now and dedicated stalls will pop up everywhere selling grilled chestnuts, invariably reminding people we are heading into the holiday season soon.
I first stumbled over chestnuts when as a kid travelling to South Tyrol (or Alto Adige as the region is called in Italian) with my parents. Literally. Staying in a small cottage nestled at the edge of a large forest, overlooking some vineyards, chestnuts would by lying on every trail we would take hiking into the forest.
We would always be picking some up on the way back to the cottage, carefully peeling them out of their prickly shells, roast them over the open fireplace and then eating them simply topped with butter.
These days, I rarely eat them this way but thankfully there are many ways using chestnuts in the kitchen. Making both savoury and sweet dishes.
This chestnut bundt cake with pear sauce is a variation on the classic Italian Ciambella alle castagne.
Served with a pear sauce, it reminds me of the classic chocolate-pear desserts so typical for the fall/winter season.
It’s the perfect treat to be served as sweet finish for your next brunch invitation or for an impromptu get-together over coffee and tea – like a traditional coffee and cake afternoon here in Germany.
Recipe: Chestnut Bund Cake with Pear Sauce
For a bundt cake of c. 1.5 litres
250 g butter
250 g sugar
200 g all purpose flour
100 g chestnuts, pre-cooked
3 tablespoons baking cocoa powder
3 teaspoons baking powder
6 egg yolks
4 egg whites
For the pear sauce
3 ripe pears, peeled, cored, and chopped into pieces
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
60 g sugar
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Whisk together butter and sugar with a pinch of salt. Add egg yolks one at a time and fully combine.
Whisk the egg whites stiff. Add to the egg mixture.
Using a fork, finely crush chestnuts to almost render them into chestnut powder (alternatively, you could also use chestnut flour).
Mix flour, chestnuts, cocoa powder, and baking powder and add to the mixture.
Grease a bundt cake pan with butter and lightly dust with flour. Fill the batter into the pan.
Bake for about 50 minutes.
Take from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes in the mould.
In the meantime, heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat and fry the pears until tender (about 5 minutes).
Puree the pears with lemon juice and sugar. Set aside to let cool.