Definitely a chestnut cake with chocolate, rather than the other way round, but if you want it to be more chocolaty use 240g chocolate. You can also, of course, use purée made from freshly roast chestnuts. This is quite a rich cake, so if you’ve already had two or three courses, half quantities will serve six people, given a good dollop of double cream with it - and you can eat it hot, warm, cold or semi-frozen.
Serves 8 or more
435g tin unsweetened chestnut purée 120g unsalted butter, slightly softened 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 tbsp brandy (whisky, if you haven’t got brandy) 6 large eggs, separated 180g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids 80g caster sugar Icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 180F/C/gas 4.
Melt the chocolate in a basin over a pan of simmering shallow water or in a microwave.
Meanwhile, with a wooden spoon beat the chestnut purée with the butter in a large bowl until completely mixed (or use a processor). Stir in the vanilla, brandy, egg yolks and chocolate and mix well.
Whisk the egg whites until they are foamy, then start pouring in the sugar, whisking until you have glossy peaks. Fold the whites carefully into the chestnut mix, a third at a time.
Spoon into a 22cm buttered springform tin, the base lined with greaseproof or baking parchment, and bake for 50-55 mins - don’t worry if the surface cracks.
Leave to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes, then gently ease it out on to a rack. Dust lightly with icing sugar just before serving.
Original photo by Kate Whitaker.