Chocolate and Chestnut Cake {torta al cioccolato e le castagne}

by cakeduchess on February 13, 2012 · 34 comments

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My mom just came by for a visit and we’re talking about Valentine’s Day and Whitney Houston. We’re talking about how she stayed up late last night and watched every minute of the Grammys. I fell asleep after Coldplay and Rihanna.

Mom tells me, “You know who I really enjoyed last night? That Bruno Star guy. He’s so friendly and sweet. He’s got moves like Elvis and James Brown. He may be Italian or Latino.” Yes, mom. I agree! Bruno Mars is pretty cool.
We’re also talking about how she was just out thrifting and saw the cutest red bolero vest. Bolero style (what is that?)with a pretty button in the middle. She thought I could wear it with my little black dress for Valentine’s Day. As she lamented her regret for not buying it because I would look beautiful in it, I looked at her and asked, “Where would I wear it to during the day on Valentine’s?” Man, do I love my mom!

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She’s reminding me how nobody is mentioning how Whitney Houston started out as a model. That she was always in Seventeen magazine and that I had a subscription to it.  She said I idolized Whitney. I do remember those magazines with Whitney and I remember cutting out her photos to put on my bulletin board. Rest in peace, Whitney.
I just finished arguing with Fabrizio about how I have to buy Valentine’s for the kids to pass out at school. He shrugged his shoulders and said, “I don’t get this Valentine’s holiday. We didn’t do this when I was little in Italy.”
And that’s pretty much all that is happening here today.

I baked this awesomeness for my little sweethearts. They thanked me and asked me to hurry and bake another one. It’s luscious and it’s easy to make. They weren’t too excited when they saw I was cooking chestnuts to put in it. They exclaimed, “We don’t like chestnuts!”. But once the cake was finished, they didn’t remember their chestnut issue.

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It’s an amazing gluten-free cake. The kind of cake you take tiny slivers of and say, “This is the last bite.” Then you hope there is still some left and you come back for another sliver. Make this for your love. Make this for yourself!

Chocolate and Chestnut Cake {torta al cioccolato e le castagne}
slightly adapted from Vegetarian Living November 2011

ingredients

1 cup pre-cooked, peeled chestnuts
2 tbsp sugar (I used organic)
1/2-3/4 cup milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
7 tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
3 large organic eggs
1/2 sugar (I used organic)
cocoa powder for dusting

directions

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease the inside of a 10-inch springform pan and line the base with a disc of buttered parchment paper. Dust with 1 tbsp of cocoa powder and tip out the excess.
Toss the chestnuts into a medium sized frying pan.
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Add in the sugar and milk and cook over a medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes until the chestnuts start to soften. Remove from the heat and spoon it into the bowl of a food processor; pulse until smooth. Add more milk if needed until you achieve a smooth consistency. (I started with 1/2 cup in the frying pan and then added about another 1/4 cup into the food processor.)
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Place the dark chocolate chips and unsalted butter in a microwave safe bowl and melt on a low setting or over a pan of barely simmering water. If melting in a pan over simmering water, remove from heat when melted; add the vanilla and stir until smooth.
Let cool slightly. In the bowl of a mixer, whisk together the eggs and sugar until pale, fluffy, and doubled in volume (about 6 minutes). On medium-low speed, mix in the chestnuts until thoroughly combined. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to incorporate all the chestnuts. Gently fold in the melted chocolate until smooth.
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Carefully pour the batter into your prepared pan. Spread the batter evenly on top with a spatula and bake on the middle rack of the oven for about 30 minutes or until the top has formed a light crust. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool on a cooling rack to room temperature. The cake may sink and the crust may crack as it cools or when you remove from the springform pan. Dust with cocoa powder and serve with crème fraiche.
Sending you happy thoughts and hugs. Thanks for stopping by! xo

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Grace February 13, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Lora this Torta looks amazing. Roasted chestnuts are a must for us at Christmas but I’ve not tried using them in any desserts. I have a jar of Crema di Marroni that I’ve been meaning to use and you’ve inspired me to try and create something delicious.

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Sudha February 13, 2012 at 6:00 pm

The cake looks amazingly good, Lora!Love the scattered Bougainvillea alongside your lovely cake – feels so summery and light in this dreary weather.I too loved Whitney Houston and her voice was something that mesmerized me every time I heard her – still can’t believe she’s no more.Sad.Anyway, have a nice Valentine’s Day dear!

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Liam @ Is Butter a Carb? February 13, 2012 at 6:41 pm

Chocolate, chestnut, cake..

Marry me? ;)

Lol, what a fabulous idea! Great post :)

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Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking February 13, 2012 at 7:09 pm

What an absolutely beautiful cake, Lora! I can’t think of any other dessert I’d rather have for Valentine’s Day. Thanks for much for sharing! Wishing you and your sweetie a lovely celebration this Tuesday. :)

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Priyanka February 13, 2012 at 7:14 pm

That sounds amazing….loved it

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Jamie February 13, 2012 at 8:27 pm

Mmmm what a fabulous cake! I love chestnuts and chocolate and do you know I have about 3 packs of vacuum-packed cooked chestnuts in the cupboard! Bingo! And, yes, our “foreign” husbands are both driven absolutely nuts by this Valentine’s Day thing…

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Shulie February 13, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Tell your mom I agree with her, Bruno Mars is definitely one of the most talented young singers out there today. Youe chestnut cake looks divine. I love anything chestnuts and this dessert is perfect for Valentine’s Day and any other special holiday!

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Karen Harris February 13, 2012 at 10:10 pm

A truly great voice has been silenced with Whitney’s passing. So sad. I stuck with the Grammys last night too. I only wish I would have had some of this cake to go with it. It looks wonderful.

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vianney February 13, 2012 at 11:12 pm

Love your mom..too cute. I also thought “how cool is bruno mars!” last night at the grammys.. your chestnut cake looks amazing!

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Lizzy February 13, 2012 at 11:21 pm

I love your mom, too…such a sweetie! And I do the sliver thing, as well…and end up having more than if I would have just taken a slice. Thanks for sharing this delicious cake! And happy Valentine’s Day to you and your family! xoxo

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Lisa February 14, 2012 at 12:01 am

I loved reading the conversation with your Mom. What a fun and lovely lady! I also remember Whitney in Seventeen Magazine – such a beautiful girl and soon woman. Such a tragedy to lose her :( Whether or not your husband celebrates Valentine’s Day, I’m willing to bet he celebrated this amazing chocolate-chestnut cake! WOW, Lora! I feel chestnuts are underrated and should be used more – especially with chocolate!

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Amy February 14, 2012 at 12:54 am

Lora this cake is beautiful! It sounds delicious with the toasted chestnuts and chocolate! I have yet to try baking with chestnuts, but I know I love them plain. Wonderful that this cake is gluten free as well! Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Carolyn February 14, 2012 at 1:24 am

Bruno Star, that is so cute! This cake looks lovely and I’ve never made a cake with chestnuts like that. Wonderful!

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LetMeEatCake Eat With Me! February 14, 2012 at 3:10 am

wow gorgeous cake! and love that there are chestnuts in it!

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LetMeEatCake Eat With Me! February 14, 2012 at 3:10 am

wow gorgeous cake! and love that there are chestnuts in it!

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LetMeEatCake Eat With Me! February 14, 2012 at 3:10 am

wow gorgeous cake! and love that there are chestnuts in it!

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LetMeEatCake Eat With Me! February 14, 2012 at 3:10 am

wow gorgeous cake! and love that there are chestnuts in it!

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Happy When Not Hungry February 14, 2012 at 3:31 am

I love chestnuts. Def need to try this beautiful cake!

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Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts February 14, 2012 at 3:35 am

What an amazing cake! Never would have used chestnuts like this – great idea!
Love Moms, the are the best!

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EA-The Spicy RD February 14, 2012 at 3:57 am

Beautiful cake, although I do not like plain chestnuts, so I will take your sweethearts word for it and definitely try it out! I absolutely remember seeing Whitney Houston in Seventeen Magazine when I used to read it. Such a sad story. My kids just finished writing their valentines. They love celebrating, but it seems a little overrated to me. Happy Valentines Day!

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Ann February 14, 2012 at 7:06 am

This is really an amazing cake! Beautiful and flavorful! Happy Valentines Day!

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Lory B. February 14, 2012 at 8:06 am

Ciao!!!!! Sai che io ho lo stesso problema, mia figlia quando vede le castagne, fa una smorfia!! Poi però apprezza il risultato finale!! ^_^
Provo sicuramente la tua torta, sembra fantastica!!!!
Ti mando un bacio grande!!!!!!!!!
Buon San Valentino!!!!!

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Roxana GreenGirl {A little bit of everything} February 14, 2012 at 12:45 pm

so sad to hear about Whitney :( I remember listening to her songs throughout my high-school and collage years.
I love her voice!
Your torta looks great! I have never made a cake using chestnuts. Sometimes I should try soon. :)

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Mari February 14, 2012 at 1:01 pm

I would love a piece of this chocolate chestnut cake. It looks delicious. Have a wonderful day :)

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bunkycooks February 14, 2012 at 2:05 pm

What a perfect cake to make for Valentine’s Day! BTW, I like Bruno Mars, too. ;-)

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Kiri W. February 14, 2012 at 7:53 pm

I’ve confessed to my love for chestnuts before, here, but mmmmm, this may take the prize. Looks amaaazing!

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Kristina February 14, 2012 at 9:25 pm

happy Valentines day!! <3 <3

this looks simply amazing – delicious! I love this recipe and use of chestnuts!

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Grubarazzi February 14, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Oh my goodness. What an absolutely gorgeous cake!

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Paula February 15, 2012 at 12:04 am

I love desserts where you just take a little taste then keep going back for more! This looks wonderful, chestnuts and all ;)

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Reeni February 15, 2012 at 2:02 am

I had my hands on chestnuts today and I put them back! I am deeply regretting it now. This looks incredible! Rich and decadent. Happy Valentine’s Day Lora! xoxo

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Karriann February 15, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Your chocolate and chestnut cake looks scrumptious! I wish I had this for dessert on Valentine’s!

“Happy Cooking”

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Sue February 15, 2012 at 9:44 pm

SIMPLY beautiful! Gorgeous photos too, Lora.

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England Furniture Company February 15, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Thanks for this recipe for chocolate and chestnut cake. It sounds wonderful. Beautiful photos.

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Barbara | Creative Culinary February 19, 2012 at 5:50 am

This has been quite the week. A tragedy to see someone so talented not only gone too soon but to be reminded of how drugs impacted her life and maybe her death too.

I’m with Mom…I just love Bruno Mars…oh my Stars. :)

What a fabulous looking cake. Finding chestnuts would be hard but I’m thinking toasted walnuts would work for me.

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