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Gesztenye Torta


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#1 Swisskaese

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 04:49 AM

I am looking for a recipe for this famous Hungarian cake. I have seen a few on the internet, but I would prefer making a walnut sponge cake.

I have seen the following descriptions:

Gesztenye Torte – cake with smooth chestnut puree mixed with cherries, topped with a vanilla pudding, served chilled


Gesztenye Torta (Chestnut Cream Torte)
This is a very traditional Hungarian cake, often served at birthdays, weddings, or as the grand finale to Christmas dinner.

A light, delicate walnut sponge cake with a rich chestnut cream icing, flavoured with pure vanilla and a hint of rum.


I have seen recipes where the cake is made with breadcrumbs and I get the feeling that this cake would be very dry. Any suggestions for this cake?

#2 oli

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 06:42 AM

I am looking for a recipe for this famous Hungarian cake. I have seen a few on the internet, but I would prefer making a walnut sponge cake.

I have seen the following descriptions:

Gesztenye Torte – cake with smooth chestnut puree mixed with cherries, topped with a vanilla pudding, served chilled


Gesztenye Torta (Chestnut Cream Torte)
This is a very traditional Hungarian cake, often served at birthdays, weddings, or as the grand finale to Christmas dinner.

A light, delicate walnut sponge cake with a rich chestnut cream icing, flavoured with pure vanilla and a hint of rum.


I have seen recipes where the cake is made with breadcrumbs and I get the feeling that this cake would be very dry. Any suggestions for this cake?

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I will post mine when I get home, but it traditionally does not come with cherries.

#3 ludja

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 07:16 AM

I have some chestnut cake recpes from Hungary and Austria. Some have chestnut puree in the actual batter and others not.

In George Lang's Cuisine of Hungary, the recipe he gives for Gesztenyetorta is a basic walnut cake (3 layers) without chestnuts in the cake batter and with a filling and frosting composed of chestnut puree, chocolate, butter, vanilla sugar, egg and rum. He suggests that you can grate chocolate shavings over the top. So, this is a chocolate-chestnut recipe which not be what you want. I tihnk one could also omit the chocolate if desired.

To make more of a chestnut cream dessert, I have recipes for slices (schnitten) in which a chestnut cream filling is made by flavoring chestnut puree with vanilla and powdered sugar. Then lightened by folding in whipped cream. You could frost and fill the cake with this and then grate some sweetened chestnut puree (w/o the whipped cream) on top. Then, top wtih grated dark chocolate or not.


I love chestnut tortes and slices, as well as Kastanien Reis (Mont Blanc). I was thinking of making a chestnut dessert for an upcoming dinner party. I tend to like the recipes that go light on the chocolate (i.e. just shavings, etc) so that I can really taste the chestnut flavor.

At least in Austria, I've also typically not seen cherries with chestnut tortes, etc. Looking forward to oli's and other's comments and let me know if you want any of the chestnut filling recipes.
"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#4 Swisskaese

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 07:20 AM

I was also surprised by the cherries in the description.

ludja, George Lang's recipe sounds spot on. Now, I need to find a copy of his book here in Israel.

Oli, I would love your recipe.

Edited by Swisskaese, 25 October 2006 - 07:20 AM.


#5 oli

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 07:50 AM

I have some chestnut cake recpes from Hungary and Austria.  Some have chestnut puree in the actual batter and others not.

In George Lang's Cuisine of Hungary, the recipe he gives for Gesztenyetorta is a basic walnut cake (3 layers) without chestnuts in the cake batter and with a filling and frosting composed of chestnut puree, chocolate, butter, vanilla sugar, egg and rum.  He suggests that you can grate chocolate shavings over the top.  So, this is a chocolate-chestnut recipe which not be what you want.  I tihnk one could also omit the chocolate if desired.

To make more of a chestnut cream dessert, I have recipes for slices (schnitten) in which a chestnut cream filling is made by flavoring chestnut puree with vanilla and powdered sugar.  Then lightened by folding in whipped cream.  You could frost and fill the cake with this and then grate some sweetened chestnut puree (w/o the whipped cream) on top.  Then, top wtih grated dark chocolate or not.


I love chestnut tortes and slices, as well as Kastanien Reis (Mont Blanc).  I was thinking of making a chestnut dessert for an upcoming dinner party.  I tend to like the recipes that go light on the chocolate (i.e. just shavings, etc) so that I can really taste the chestnut flavor.

At least in Austria, I've also typically not seen cherries with chestnut tortes, etc.  Looking forward to oli's  and other's comments and let me know if you want any of the chestnut filling recipes.

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Ludja, are you processing your own chestnuts or buying it already prepared? I remember as a child cooking chestnuts that we picked up off the ground, and then shelling them, then putting them through our meat grinder and mixing it rum and sugar - YUM

#6 ludja

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 08:13 AM

I've done it both ways. I've started from fresh chestnuts when making Kastanienreis and used canned chestnut puree in a cake. The most common way I had chestnuts growing up was to roast them in the oven or in the fireplace.

I haven't tried the George Lang recipe yet but will type it up and pm to Swisskaese and anyone else that is interested. It's difficult to find chestnut dessert recipes and for those that are passionate about them; they are special.

The cuisines I've seen the most chestnut dessert cookery in are Austria, Hungary and Italy (the north, I guess). Oh, and Japan has a lot of European-inspired chestnuts desserts as well.

Did you pick your chestnuts somewhere in Europe, oli? Most of the chestnuts in the US are inedible horse chestnuts. Love your reminiscence of grinding up chestnuts with rum and sugar... :smile:
"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#7 Swisskaese

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 02:42 PM

Thanks ludja! I would be ever so grateful. I am making this for a special occasion.

#8 oli

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 07:46 PM

I have to say, looking over the Lang recipe, its pretty much the go to recipe. Throughout Hungary there are tweaks with it here and there, but by and large go can't go wrong with this recipe. Give it a shot and see how it goes. You might just love it as it is.
Let us know how you like it.

When I made my chestnuts we steamed them, I guess we just didn't have a fireplace, I just never asked about doing it another way, thats just the way my parents did it.

Edited by oli, 26 October 2006 - 07:35 AM.


#9 Kiem Hwa

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 09:56 PM

This sounds so delicious!
Is the recipe something like this?
http://www.recipeland.com/recipe/5339/

#10 Swisskaese

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 06:22 AM

This sounds so delicious!
Is the recipe something like this?
http://www.recipeland.com/recipe/5339/

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No, this cake is a walnut/vanilla sponge cake filled with a chesnut buttercream filling. It is not sweet like American cakes.

#11 gfron1

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 07:45 AM

I just finished my cake (not the filling), and it was rather flat. I pulled the two pictures that Google/image has on gesztenyetorte and they look much larger. I modified by using pastry flour which may have had an effect. Anyway, I'm ploughing ahead. I'll work on layering the torte at this point to get some substance.

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#12 ludja

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 09:24 AM

This sounds so delicious!
Is the recipe something like this?
http://www.recipeland.com/recipe/5339/

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Well, although it is somewhat different in style and richness compared to the recipe we were discussing above as Swisskaese pointed out, it does look like it has its inspiration from some Hungarian/Austrian/Italian chestnut cakes. I have seen some traditional recipes that use chestnut puree in the batter and in the filling. Other ground nuts, usually walnuts, are often used and here they sub ground pecans. Chocolate and rum are two other common flavorings used in conjunction with chestnuts; this recipe uses chocolate and bourbon.

Thanks for linking to this! :smile:
"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#13 ludja

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 09:28 AM

I just finished my cake (not the filling), and it was rather flat.  I pulled the two pictures that Google/image has on gesztenyetorte and they look much larger.  I modified by using pastry flour which may have had an effect.  Anyway, I'm ploughing ahead.  I'll work on layering the torte at this point to get some substance.

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Hope the end result is good if not very tall!

These cakes are a little tricky to make (flourless or nearly flourless nut cakes leavened with egg whites) and I would have no idea how to approach making it at 6000 feet elevation. Did you make any adjustments or do you think there are any to make for this type of cake?
"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#14 gfron1

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 10:48 AM

I do "gut" adjustments typically. The most consistent and successful adjustment is that I drop the temperature down by 15-25 degrees F, and bake by sight and smell more than time.

Having never had one of these cakes, I don't have a comparison point. My batter started at 1 inch thick and ended half of that thickness. What would it normally do?

Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM


#15 ludja

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 11:57 AM

I do "gut" adjustments typically.  The most consistent and successful adjustment is that I drop the temperature down by 15-25 degrees F, and bake by sight and smell more than time.

Having never had one of these cakes, I don't have a comparison point.  My batter started at 1 inch thick and ended half of that thickness.  What would it normally do?

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I haven't made this recipe yet, so I can't say how it performs in my hands or at sea level. As it is baked in a jellly roll pan I don't think the cake layers wlll be that high; just not sure if the sinkage you saw is expected.

In case you want another shot at the cake before using the chestnut filling, here is a walnut sponge cake that I *have* made before as a roulade. It's from "Wolfert's World of Food". It's not a terribly 'high" cake either, as it is rolled to form a roulade.. Thinking about it, I guess the thickness would be less than an inch for sure. This cake is baked in the same size pan as the Lang recipe (ie. 11x17 in jelly roll pan. I haven't tried making it in round pans. The recipe differs from Lang's in that egg yolks are also used in addition to baking powder and there is no flour.

5 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cup (5 oz) finely ground walnuts
1/2 tsp baking powder
5 egg whites at RT

Here is how I make it:

Preheat oven to 375 deg F. Line a lightly buttered jelly roll pan (~ 11x17) with wax paper and butter the paper.

Beat egg yolks, slowly adding sugar and then salt. Beat until light in texture and light yellow in color. Whisk in ground walnuts and baking powder and then fold in stiffly whipped egg whites. Cook for about 15 min or until toothpick comes out clean.

edited to add: A lot of Austrianand Hungarian tortes are not very tall. An example is a Sacher torte which is much 'shorter' than an American layer cake. I've had various chestnut cakes in Austria anyway but don't have a definitive view of exactly how this cake should be. Other input is welcome!

Edited by ludja, 28 October 2006 - 12:03 PM.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#16 miladyinsanity

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 12:47 PM

Hm.. I don't know, gfron. Does it still feel light and spongy? In that case, I'd call it good.
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#17 gfron1

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 01:26 PM

It is light and spongy, and I did use the 11x17, so maybe I'm alright. I've already dolled them up and they're in the freezer cursing me for not giving them a coat first...little buggers. I'll pull them out around dinner and post pics.

Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM


#18 gfron1

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 06:13 PM

Here it is:
Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image
A few notes on the modifications I had to make. There were no fresh chestnuts to be found, so I grabbed some chestnut spread from my store (Sierra Rica brand from Spain). I also topped them with a candied chesnut in syrup from Turkey, and sprinkled with some of the remaining walnut crumbs. I made the final version in my 3" pastry form. Very tasty!

Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM


#19 Swisskaese

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 04:37 AM

Gfron1, how did you make the filling? It looks a lot darker and heavier than I expected. From the way my Hungarian husband described it, it is supposed to be a creamier filling.

Which recipe did you use?

It does look delicious.

Edited by Swisskaese, 29 October 2006 - 04:42 AM.


#20 gfron1

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 06:24 AM

I used Ludja's recipe. It was a huge hit and in fact my spouse said the best dessert yet (for overall taste/presentation). It wasn't as dense as it looks - that was an optical illusion caused by an out of control EGer. I cut that piece frozen so I could have the perfect picture :biggrin: Cutting it frozen gave a perfect edge which makes it seem dense, but it was very light. It was also darker because I used 70% since its what I had in the house. And likewise, dark rum instead of light...So, I guess I should say it was a totally different dessert altogether since I made so many substitutions :raz:

Edited by gfron1, 29 October 2006 - 06:35 AM.

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#21 Swisskaese

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 07:12 AM

I used Ludja's recipe.  It was a huge hit and in fact my spouse said the best dessert yet (for overall taste/presentation).  It wasn't as dense as it looks - that was an optical illusion caused by an out of control EGer.  I cut that piece frozen so I could have the perfect picture  :biggrin:  Cutting it frozen gave a perfect edge which makes it seem dense, but it was very light.  It was also darker because I used 70% since its what I had in the house.  And likewise, dark rum instead of light...So, I guess I should say it was a totally different dessert altogether since I made so many substitutions  :raz:

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I am glad you and your wife liked it. I am making a trial run in the next two weeks before I serve it for a special event in December.

#22 ludja

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 12:26 PM

I used Ludja's recipe.  It was a huge hit and in fact my spouse said the best dessert yet (for overall taste/presentation).  It wasn't as dense as it looks - that was an optical illusion caused by an out of control EGer.  I cut that piece frozen so I could have the perfect picture  :biggrin:  Cutting it frozen gave a perfect edge which makes it seem dense, but it was very light.  It was also darker because I used 70% since its what I had in the house.  And likewise, dark rum instead of light...So, I guess I should say it was a totally different dessert altogether since I made so many substitutions  :raz:

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It looks beautiful; and I'm glad it came out well and was met with approval! Thank you for the feedback as well; I will definately try the recipe.

I'm thinking of making the Kastanienshnitten (Chestnut slices) that I mentioned above for a dinner later this week. I'll report back if I end up making them.
"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#23 Swisskaese

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Posted 03 November 2006 - 11:28 AM

I am going to make my test chestnut cake tomorrow. I didn't have time to go to the specialty shop to buy chestnut puree, so I am using creme de marron. I am going to use a little less sugar in the filling and see what happens.

I will post my results tomorrow.

#24 Swisskaese

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 11:59 AM

I just finished icing the cake. All I can say is OMG!!! :wub: The filling is amazing. The chestnut flavor is subtle, maybe a little too subtle. I used creme de marron, so that is probably why. However, it is still very nice.

The cake is a bit strange. It shrunk quite a bit when I took it out of the oven. It is quite flat. Did I do something wrong? I beat the egg whites until they were stiff. I was afraid I was going to over beat them.

It is firming up a bit in the fridge. I will post a picture when it is ready.

#25 gfron1

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 02:31 PM

Michelle - interesting that yours was flat also since mine seemed flat as well. But since its often 3 layers, it still works well.

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#26 Swisskaese

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 02:51 PM

Here is a photo before I cut it:

Posted Image

And here is a slice:

Posted Image

Tapenade and I both agree that the chocolate overpowered the chestnut, but it may have been because we didn't use chestnut puree. The cake was nice and moist and the walnut crunch was perfect with the rich and creamy filling. You can not eat more than a thin slice of this cake. It is very rich.

I made 1/2 a recipe and I think the 1/2 recipe cake would easily serve 8-10 people.

Edited by Swisskaese, 04 November 2006 - 04:20 PM.


#27 ludja

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 09:07 AM

Hey, it looks great! Maybe it is trick of lighting or a difference in the chestnut puree type, but did you both use the recipe for the filling? To have a more pronounced chestnut flavor I wonder if the filling recipe would work with the omission of the 3 oz of melted chocolate. One could then cover the frosting with grated chocolate for a more subtle incorporation of chocolate in the dish.

Well, inspired by this thread I did go ahead and make the Kastanienschnitten (Chestnut Slices) that I mentioned above. They are popular in Austria and Hungary. I used a recipe from Rick Rodger's Kaffeehaus. His basic recipe is a sponge cake layer which also has some chestnut puree folded into the batter. The cake layer is soaked with brandy syrup and is topped with a chestnut cream made from chestnut puree, confectionary sugar, vanilla and whipped cream. The slices are topped with grated chocolate. I modified the recipe by adding in a baked almond meringue layer. It is a very creamy dessert and there is a very nice chestnut flavor.

I got the idea of using a dacquoise layer from a chestnut slice I had at Cafe Sabarsky in NYC. I think I recall that their meringue layer still had some crispness to it. I assembled my dessert about 8 hrs before we ate it and the meringue layer was of course soft. The ground almonds added a nice textural element to the dessert though in addition to adding some height.

I used a canned chestnut puree from France -- Clement Faugier. (This is the only brand I've seen in shops out here.)

Here is a photo:
Posted Image

Edited by ludja, 06 November 2006 - 09:20 AM.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#28 Swisskaese

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 04:16 PM

That looks delicious. I did use the chocolate. I used a 75% bittersweet chocolate. I did use the filling recipe. I am going to try another filling in the Art of Cake cookbook. It uses creme de marron and whole chestnuts that have been cooked in syrup.

The filling is a light coffee color.

#29 sanrensho

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 04:31 PM

Well, inspired by this thread I did go ahead and make the Kastanienschnitten (Chestnut Slices) that I mentioned above.  They are popular in Austria and Hungary.  I used a recipe from Rick Rodger's Kaffeehaus.  His basic recipe is a sponge cake layer which also has some chestnut puree folded into the batter.  The cake layer is soaked with brandy syrup and is topped with a chestnut cream made from chestnut puree, confectionary sugar, vanilla and whipped cream.  The slices are topped with grated chocolate.  I modified the recipe by adding in a baked almond meringue layer.  It is a very creamy dessert and there is a very nice chestnut flavor. 


That looks and sounds great. I know my Japanese taste testers would go crazy for it.
Baker of "impaired" cakes...

#30 Chihiran

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 09:25 PM

All of the chestnut cakes look great. I love chestnuts. But I always have trouble finding chestnuts that aren't damaged in some way. Does anyone else have this trouble? I also hate to peel them!!

And sanrensho, you're right. Japanese people do love chestnuts :laugh: