I love when the seasons change, there’s always a different variety of foods to choose from and I find that my pallet also changes with the season. The summer staple of berries is replaced with apples and tangerines, I don’t know why but those seem like winter fruits to me. I’m pretty sure it was the way I was brought up.
As the winter months and the holidays approach I also find that I start baking with different ingredients. I so cannot wait for the holidays to make gingerbread; sure I can make it all year round but it just doesn’t taste the same in the sweltering summer, know what I mean?
Yesterday I was inspired to try something different using something wintery, what’s more wintery then chestnuts. There’s this great shop, Consiglio’s my place that sells an array of Italian products (did I mention I live in one of the two little Italy’s in Toronto?). This is my go to place for Italian goodies, so naturally that’s where I went when I was looking for chestnut flour I needed for a recipe I found on a great Italian blog; Menu Turistico.
The recipe also calls for Italian flour “00”, which I was also able to find at Consiglio’s. “Dopio Zero” or (00) flour tends to be used more for baking of breads and certain types of desserts; it also has a higher protein content. If you have recipes that call for this type of flour a combination of both cake flour and all purpose flour will work fine as substitutions. As much as I want to keep true to recipes, I don’t think I’ll shell out $5.00 for a small bag of “00” flour again.
So back to this fabulous recipe. It came together very quickly, the batter heavier than usual cake batter due to the chestnut flour. I also added vanilla extract even though the recipe did not call for it.
While baking the warm scent of chestnuts took over the kitchen making me even more anxious to have a taste of this cake. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve been this excited about making something in a long while, it’s just different. I knew that I would either love it or absolutely hate it; needless to say I loved it. The cake itself did not rise like a traditional cake; again I believe that’s due to the chestnut flour. Yet despite being a dense cake it was still very moist, almost crumbling. The flavour of the chestnut is very apparent, and makes for quite a different taste its rich yet subtle.
Adapted from Menu Turistico
- 2 cups of chestnut flour
- 1 cup of flour 00 (if available, if not use APF)
- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- 1 cup of of milk
- 1.3 stick of butter at room temperature(or 150 grams butter)
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract
- 2 tsp baking powder
- powdered sugar for sprinkling on top
Preheat oven to 400. Grease and flour a 10-12 cup Bundt pan and set aside.
Sift the two flours together with the baking powder in a medium sized bowl and set aside. In a mixer combine the eggs and granulated sugar and mix until well blended. Add the vanilla extract. In intervals add first the flour, milk and butter. Mix until combined, be sure not to overbeat as the butter will curd.
Transfer to greased Bundt pan and bake in the middle rack for 30-40 minutes. Oven temperatures vary so check the cake for doneness at the 30 minute mark. Insert a toothpick, if it comes out clean the cake is done.
Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack. Once it has cooled completely sprinkle some powdered sugar on top.