Chocolate Chestnut Truffle Cake

38 Comments
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Rich slabs of chocolate & chestnut truffle cake

‘Tis the part of a wise man to keep himself today for tomorrow, and not venture all his eggs in one basket’Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes

I’m almost ashamed to admit how many eggs our household goes through on a weekly basis. When I say ‘household’, I’m referring to my boyfriend and I – there’s just the two of us in our little flat – and when I say ‘we’, what I really mean is ‘him’. Yes, my love of all things sweet means I go through my own fair share of eggs – baked into brownies, whipped into macarons and stirred through yolk-rich custards for ice cream – but Carniverous Boyfriend takes egg-eating to the next level. You’ve heard of the government’s ‘five-a-day’ vegetable rule, right? My boyfriend applies this to eggs.

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Dense chocolate & chestnut truffle lifted with a scattering of raspberries

Packed with vitamins and minerals, less than eighty calories per portion and no longer subject to unwarranted aspersions of cholesterol-causing properties, the humble egg is a pretty good thing. Its high protein content and richness in Omega 3 fatty acids makes it the perfect muscle building block for obsessive gym-goers like my boyfriend, while its versatility of structure also makes it a bakers secret weapon. Eggs emulsify to help us achieve the lightest of sponges, coagulate to bind ingredients together, froth up into beautiful foams or fold down into rich yellow glazes. Life without eggs would be a very different one indeed.

But some people have to live it. A few months ago a friend of ours was diagnosed with an intolerance to eggs. Affecting just 0.2% of all UK adults, egg-intolerance is not as prevalent as something like coeliac disease – which I’ve touched on in a previous post – making it all the more of a blow for our friend to discover at the same time that he was also intolerant to wheat. Cutting out eggs is one thing. Cutting out flour is another. But combine the two and you’ve got a bit more of a baking conundrum. Eggs act as the perfect base for dense, flourless chocolate cakes or rich creamy custards, so to lose their wondrous alchemy in the kitchen makes it necessary to cast the net a little wider for interesting recipes to make on an egg-free diet.

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Rich truffle cake drizzled with caramel & scattered with berries

Nowadays you can buy all sorts of amazing ingredient replacements, from different kinds of gluten-free flour to ‘Egg Replacer’; a powder made from soy protein isolate and potato starch. You can also substitute eggs with ingredients of similar textures – tofu or banana for example, although the latter naturally imparts a strong flavour to whatever you are making. Pulses and nuts are also useful storecupboard ingredients to use in egg-free, flour-free baking, and with our friend coming for dinner and Christmas just around the corner, I decided to have a go at cooking with chestnuts, the perfect winter ingredient.

The resulting recipe is a celebration of these shiny brown nuts, barely adapted from something I found on the BBC Good Food website. Exceedingly simple to make, it involves just a few key ingredients – chocolate, chestnuts, butter, vanilla – melted and blended down to a thick, smooth paste.  Chilled in the fridge then coated in a glossy dark chocolate ganache, this chestnut cake is best served in thick, rich slices with a large dollop of cool vanilla ice cream. The nuts add a slight grainy texture to this dense chocolate slab, and it doesn’t taste dissimilar to a giant chocolate truffle. As our friend said, someone could make a killing wrapping this and selling it as a chocolate bar. But until you can buy it in pre-packaged form, you’re going to have to make do with the recipe below.

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Fudgy & delicious with a smooth chocolate ganache

I can’t imagine a life without being able to eat flour or eggs, but recipes like this prove that – of course – it’s possible. And while it may be a little tenuous to apply that Miguel de Cervantes quote to my baking, it’s good to know that if the unthinkable ever did occur, and I had to cut certain ingredients out of my diet, I’ve got a few good recipes up my sleeve; not all my eggs would be sitting in the same proverbial basket.

Chocolate Chestnut Truffle Cake (barely adapted from this BBC Good Food recipe)

Ingredients

For the cake:

400g cooked chestnuts
100g golden caster sugar
100g butter
100g dark chocolate
3 tbsp full fat milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp whiskey, cointreau or festive spirit of your choice

For the chocolate coating:

110g dark chocolate
25g salted butter
2 tbsp single cream

Method:

Butter and line a small loaf tin with cling film.

Blend the cooked chestnuts and sugar in a food processor until smooth. Break the chocolate into pieces and melt in a pan with the butter and milk over a low heat until you have a thick, smooth sauce. Stir in the vanilla and alcohol.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the food processor and blitz with the chestnut purée until smooth and well combined. Pour into your prepared tin, smooth the top, then cover the tin with cling film and chill in the fridge for 24 hrs.

Once firm, turn the truffle cake out onto a flat serving plate or board and peel off the cling film. Gently melt the chocolate, butter and cream for the coating, then spread over the top and sides of the cake. Return to the fridge to set.

Serve in thin slices with pouring cream or (as I did) a scoop of cold ice cream, made without a custard of course!

38 RESPONSES TO Chocolate Chestnut Truffle Cake

  1. Kathy -

    That looks absolutely decadent! Great recipe!!

  2. I wondered when I saw your picture on twitter if it was the Good Food recipe – that’s the one I used to so I can vouch for this being absolutely delicious and it was a perfect Christmas dessert last year.

  3. Wowwww this looks SO good. I love chestnuts in savoury food but often find them a bit too sweet, so clearly putting them in a dessert is the answer! Do you get a lot of chestnutty flavour, or is it more of a textural thing?

  4. Your photos are great and so is your attitude and this post. Well done. I am only gluten free (coeliac) and have realised (albeit slowly) that I am very lucky that I only have to leave out gluten. I can still eat eggs and dairy!

  5. Even if I cannot imagine having to give up eggs and flour, I am totally in love with this recipe and will definitely make it. It sounds perfect for Christmas. What an absolutely beautiful cake and a great way to make something special for friends with intolerances…

      • Ooh yey, I’m so glad you liked it :-) Your version looks beautiful.

  6. Wow. This is beautiful; reminds me of a chocolate pate, almost, and ideal for this time of year when chestnuts are everywhere. Looks divine!

  7. Oh wow this looks so elegant and delicious!! We also go through an insane amount of eggs (sounds like my husband and your bf have a bit in common there…) and I can’t imagine not eating them either, although I suppose vegans manage. So sweet of you to make this cake and show how much is possible without flour and eggs.

    • Kathy – thank you.

      Kathryn – I can imagine eating this on Christmas day. We normally have a chocolate biscuit slice, but the chestnuts would be even more festive.

      Elly – chestnuts are good in savoury dishes, but I think they really come to life in sweets. The flavour definitely comes through in this cake, although for something even more chestnutty, I’ve got a better post coming up!

      Sleeping Horse – one of my friends is a coeliac and I always thought how difficult it would be, but when you take eggs out of the equation you start to realise that life could be worse!

      Nuts About Food – I love cooking for friends, so when people have allergies I see it as an opportunity to try new things rather than anything tricky. Glad you like the recipe :-)

      Laura – it’s very dense and rich, so pate is a good comparison.

      Katherine – ah I’m so glad it’s not just me who has to cope with a crazy egg-eating boyfriend/husband :-)

  8. Oh my word, Little. That looks so dense and tasty! Yay for the Goodfood website :D. Your boyfriend sounds like an egg maniac… does it not give him problems? I used to live with someone who ate lots of eggs, it was disgusting. :D

  9. Thanks for posting the recipe. A friend of mine’s husband has a wheat allergy and is always on the lookout for great desserts he can have.

  10. Thanks for this recipe, always great to have a flour & egg free dessert recipe to hand for friends who have intolerances. I love chestnuts too, so even more reason to make it!

  11. Having an egg and wheat intolerance really doesn’t sound like fun. Well done you for coming up with such a delicious sounding treat. I love chestnuts in baking and a dense rich chocolate slab, sounds right up my street ;-)

  12. I think I might try and bake my chestnut cake with cooked chestnuts next time, mind you, if I can still find any as thd season is coning to an end ;-)

  13. This looks wonderful! Chocolate and chestnut. Yes!!

  14. Ooh I remember seeing this recipe. I’d hate to imagine life if I could not eat flour or eggs! Definitely making this for my friends who have food intolerances/allergies. This is a great recipe and it looks absolutely decadent.

    • Frugal Feeding – haha, yep he’s definitely an egg maniac! But whatever keeps him happy… :-)

      Michelle – my pleasure, hope he enjoys the recipe.

      Laura – it’s a good one to have up your sleeve!

      Choclette – this is definitely a chocolate-lovers dream :-)

      Regula – I definitely want to do more baking with chestnuts, the flavour is divine.

      Savory Simple – thank you!

      Baking Addict – decadent is definitely the word :-)

  15. thelittleloaf, that moist cake looks heavenly! I love that the recipe doesn’t call for flour. As someone who doesn’t eat gluten, I am extra appreciative. And I have to say that I like your boyfriend without even meeting him – anyone who eats more eggs than we do is impressive;)
    -E

  16. gosh, i never really thought about being egg intolerant. i’ve heard of lactose or wheat intolerance or food allergies, but oh boy, eggs…
    how wonderful of you to make a recipe that takes that into consideration. and it looks so yummy and rich!

  17. Julia -

    Wow, this sounds delicious and the texture looks amazing. Much better than marmite and almonds :) Chocolate and chestnut is a combination that really appeals to me but that I’ve never actually tried. Intend to change that in a big way this Christmas!

  18. Wow I didn’t know that you could make such a dense, delicious, chocolatey cake without eggs. That looks divine!

  19. Karen -

    This sounds ever so good. What a beautiful photo!

    • Erin – so glad you like the recipe :-) I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who eats more eggs than my boyfriend, but sounds like you come quite close!

      Jennifer – it’s really rich but so delicious. Egg allergies are pretty uncommon, but so unfortunate. Sometimes I feel so lucky to be able to eat so many different things.

      Julia – haha yep, finally a post you can enjoy! Do try cooking with chestnuts this christmas, they are so good.

      Not Quite Nigella – thank you! It’s amazing what you can do without eggs and flour, who knew?

      Karen – thank you.

  20. I once had to cut eggs out of my diet for 6 months to help with other issues I was having and it was torture. Strangely the savoury side didn’t bother me so much but the lack of baked goods or proper custards was agonising. I am bookmarking this in case I have to suffer again! (Or when I next see chestnuts…)

  21. What a great Christmassy dessert – a good alternative to Christmas pudding I think…

  22. Gosh! This looks so lovely! I have a friend who is intolerant to eggs so this would be the perfect thing to make for them. Thanks for the fantastic recipe :)

    • Miss South – I don’t think I’d miss them much on the savoury side of things either. Although it would be horrendous to cut them out of my diet permanently, making recipes like these has made me realise that it wouldn’t be complete doom and gloom if I ever did have to.

      Jesica – Chestnuts are so abundant at this time of year in the UK I didn’t ever think about problems people might have sourcing them. Hope you manage to find some soon :-)

      Gourmet Chick – definitely. I’m not a Christmas pudding fan so we always have a chocolate-themed alternative!

      Anna – thank you. Hope your friend enjoys it if you get round to making!

  23. Tandy -

    this is amazing! I am going to share this with my dad, who cannot eat wheat :)

  24. I’ve never actually eaten chestnuts in a dessert. This looks sooooo good!!

  25. A few years ago I struggled with dessert ideas without eggs and wheat for my 3 year old daughter. She has outgrown her allergies now, but this recipe looks wonderful. Yum!

  26. I have a friend who is allergic to eggs, so finding a dessert for her is always tricky. Sadly, she is also allergic to nuts (I’m not sure if chesnuts fall in that category?!).

    Having said this, this looks delicious, and I’d happily make it for myself, not just because I was trying to feed someone with a food allergy!

    • Tandy – thanks, hope your dad likes it!

      Nic – you need to rectify that now, they are such a good addition to desserts :-)

      Asmita – it’s a good one to have up your sleeve for people with allergies, but just as delicious for those without!

      Claire – being allergic to nuts as well as eggs must be really tricky. I feel so lucky not to have suffered anything similar myself.

      Working London Mummy – anything with the word ‘truffle’ in the title gets my vote!

  27. Underthesea -

    Looks delicious!!! It is possible to make tasty desserts without the flour/dairy/eggs many of us take for granted :) Many “raw” desserts are vegan/gluten free – maybe some new options for your friend?

    (on the egg situation, have you seen ‘Cutting Edge’? It’s egg whites, frozen, near the pastry in the supermarket. My husband and I don’t go through so many eggs since using this for our savoury things – as bodybuilders, we want the protein but not the fat from multiple eggs…)

  28. Pingback: Chestnut Meringue Cake | thelittleloaf

  29. This looks so decadent and delicious and oh so rich!!! Yum!!! We go through an insane amount of eggs too, my fiance and I. I always make sure I have a stockpile of eggs for emergency baking cravings :D

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