For many, the only experience they will have with chestnuts is the song, where they are roasting over an open fire. I'm actually lucky in that I have a little more experience than that. Thatmom is a huge fan of roasted chestnuts, which are always a holiday marker for me. First in the Thanksgiving stuffing, followed by the roasted variety sold on street corners in New York City.
So for me, chestnuts have always been a savory treat, which make their appearance in cold weather. But Kim Sunee uses them often in her book. The introduction was the cinnamon rolls. A nice intro, because it showed how very sweet chestnuts can be, and makes them an excellent choice for desserts as well as stuffing!
Sunee connects the chestnuts to Corsica, where they are found in abundance. In Corsica Sunee began feeling comfortable in her own skin, sunbathing and skinny dipping, eating campfire-side. It makes sense that she pairs this chocolate cake with her time there. It is at once freeing and indulgent. The chestnut pairing well with chocolate in the way its brethren nuts do. If you love nutella, this is a nice change of pace. The bittersweet chocolate means it's not too sweet. The mascarpone also serves as a nice change from cream cheese frosting and I would definitely use it again.
Chocolate Cake with Mascarpone-Chestnut Cream (From Trail of Crumbs)
8 oz bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
8 oz sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
7 oz mascarpone
1 cup creme de marrons
3/4 cup chilled whipping cream
1 tsp grated lemon zest
- Preheat oven to 350. Melt chocolate in microwave at high for 30-second intervals until melted. Stir until smooth.
- Beat butter and confectioners' sugar at medium speed in an electric mixer, about 5 minutes or until well blended.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
- Add melted chocolate, beating just until blended.
- Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.
- Gradually add to chocolate mixture, alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
- Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla.
- Pour batter into lightly greased and floured deep 9-inch round cake pan. Bake for 28-30 minutes.
- While cake is cooking, beat mascarpone and chestnut spread together at medium speed about 3 minutes or until light and fluffy.
- Beat whipping cream in a medium bowl until soft peaks form.
- Fold whipped cream into mascarpone-chestnut mixture.
- Stir in lemon zest. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
- When cake is done, let cool in pan 5 minutes before turning out on wire rack. Serve with mascarpone-chestnut cream.