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Will go gluten free for…chocolate chestnut cup cakes

March 3, 2011

Well to be fair…what doesn’t taste good smothered in chocolate ganache?!

Past all that glorious ganache though is the most wonderful cake – if you like your cakes moist, dense but soft, and nutty. If I hadn’t made them myself, I would have been a bit surprised they were gluten free, as they weren’t too dense and had a little springyness still. The almonds add a nice bit of texture, but depending on how fine your ground almonds are, these can be more or less textured according to your preferences. They are so so so wonderful and rich on their own, and so the added ganache really makes these a bombshell. Thanks to the always gorgeous Poires au chocolat for directing my attention to these little wonders. I made half as much batter and made them miniature size (and used half an egg for my egg wash for some bread), as I only had a little chestnut puree left. The puree was a gift from my very sweet boyfriend – you can get your Bonne Maman chestnut puree in Christchurch from Patisserie Yahagi in Upper Riccarton (who are surprisingly but thankfully open after the quake). In Christchurch Mercato also sell it, but I’m not sure how they are after the quake. NZ wide you can get a different brand at Food direct or Sabato. If you’re wondering what else to do with it, I mixed it with some ganache and poured it into a crust to make a chocolate chestnut tart – deeeelicious. If using unsweetened chestnut puree for the tart, add some caster sugar to the cream and melt the sugar before adding chocolate and chestnut puree.

I hope whoever ends up with these loves them as much as I did (Comfort for Christchurch were looking for gluten free baking, so what better excuse to whip up a batch of these?)!

PS. The recipe below is the full recipe. The half recipe made 12 mini cup cakes and 1 regular sized cup cake. I also used less chestnut puree and my cakes looked a little less dense, so will go with that next time as well.

Chocolate chestnut cakes

makes around 12

  • 200 g chestnut puree (UPDATE 07/2013 – If using Bonne Maman brand, used 300g and only 20g sugar)
  • 3 eggs (I used medium large ones)
  • 90 g caster sugar (use raw if you can find it)
  • 100 g ground almonds
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Line at least 12 muffin tins with paper or foil cases. Preheat the oven to 170C (340F).  In a medium mixing bowl add your chestnut puree and beat up with a fork if it’s lumpy, until smooth.

In a separate small but deep bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until doubled in size, pale and bubbly. Spoon half of the egg mixture into the chestnut puree and fold in until uniform (it doesn’t look like it will combine but have faith!). Fold through ground almonds and baking powder until fully combined. Fold through the rest of the egg mixture.
Pour into cases (just over 3/4 full). Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown and firmish to the touch (it should not feel liquidy but also nto totally solid). Cool for half an hour in the tin before cooling completely on a rack. You can also apparently freeze them for up to six weeks. As soon as cupcakes are out of the oven, make the ganache.
  • 150ml whipping cream
  • 150g dark chocolate, finely chopped (60% for dark chocolate lovers, otherwise 50% will be fine)

Heat cream until hot to the touch in a bowl in the microwave or on low heat in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and add dark chocolate. Let sit for a few minutes before whisking and scraping the bottom with the whisk. Do not try to incorporate air, just mix slowly in one direction. Once smooth and glossy, let sit, covered with paper, until the consistency of nutella at room temperature. Spread onto cooled cupcakes with a spoon.

PS. After thinking about it a little, I realise now that these are actually quite healthy for a decadent treat – there’s no butter or oil in this except from the nuts and chestnuts, and yes there’s some cream in the ganache but all up you could do a lot worse.

PPS. If you’re unconvinced, I’ve got the world’s healthiest freakin curry coming up next! It is totally delicious too.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 4, 2011 5:50 am

    This recipe intrigues me. I like the looks of the minimal, and unusual, ingredients. I feel like the term “gluten-free” may turn people off because it puts food into a special-diet category (unless you have to follow gluten-free, of course), but so many desserts are already naturally without flour, and get devoured just the same. I’d love to try this, and I think they have chestnut puree at my local Whole Foods.

  2. March 4, 2011 12:01 pm

    I: I’m always interested in gluten free things, but yes I know what you mean. It’s always a dilemma whether to label stuff as “gluten free” or vegan, as it does seem to put a lot of people off, but then you also want to let the vegans and gluten intolerant people know! Maybe I should say it’s flourless…that always sounds nicer (think flourless chocolate cake…mmm)

  3. March 5, 2011 9:09 am

    I’m so glad to hear Patisserie Yahagi is still open after the quake – it’s just down the road from my Grandma’s and I’m so in love with their little cakes.

    These little cakes look so awesome, the gluten free bit seems like an afterthought! Chestnut puree AND ground almonds? Count me in! :)

  4. March 5, 2011 11:40 am

    M: So am I, plus their buttery cookies are oh-so-perfect! The chestnut puree is actually really amazing, flavour + texture wise. Shame it’s kinda pricey. EDIT: Wonder if water chestnut flour + some water to make it a similar consistency would work…found some at the asian grocery for $3!

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