Tuesdays with Dorie: Chocolate Caramel Chestnut Cake

November 17, 2009 at 1:00 am | Posted in cakes & tortes, groups, layer cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 45 Comments

chocolate caramel chestnut cake

Last week was kind of crappy.  First, we suffered the latest disappointment in the mulit-year saga known as “R and Stephanie vs. the NYC real estate market.”  I often wonder if owning a little place here just isn’t in the cards for us.  Then, two of my favorite coworkers gave notice and will be leaving the bakery before the end of the month.  This will certainly put a damper on my workplace socializing (the only reason I really even go to work, ‘cuz I barley get paid–ha!)…not to mention that thinking about going into the busy holiday season understaffed is giving me major agita.  Losing myself in my kitchen for a bit to make this Chocolate Caramel Chestnut Cake for TWD was a nice distraction, and probably kept my head from exploding.

The first thing I noticed when I looked at the recipe is that this cake has several steps and requires a few unusual ingredients.  I’m pretty lucky that I can easily find chestnuts and sweetened chestnut spread without a embarking on a major hunting excursion or having to pay for online shipping.  In fact, at Sahadi’s I found cans of the fancypants Clement Faugier spread for about $5–not too shabby, and I should get more before they realize it’s a steal and jack up the price.  I’m not super wild about chestnuts, but that spread is so yummy…I have quite a bit leftover, so I’m looking forward to using it in something else soon.  Any suggestions?

I split up the work (and the dishes– did I tell you that I have the world’s tiniest sink?) over two days.  On night one, I made both the caramel ganache and the glaze.  On day two, I baked the cake and assembled the whole shebang.  I made half a recipe of cake and glaze, and deciding to go easy on things (yeah, right), just a third of the ganache.  To bake the cake, I spread the batter in a quarter-sheet pan (about 9″ x 13″), rather than baking it in a taller square pan.  Not only does it cook in less than 20 minutes (instead of almost an hour), but there’s no sawing the cake into layers (I always seem to do a hack-job on that)…just cut the sheet into three strips of equal width and stack with the filling.  Easy-peasy.

I looove sparkly things, and actually have a huge collection of luster dusts.  After I dusted the whole chestnuts in gold, I couldn’t help but blow the stuff all over the top of the cake, too.  Super shimmery.  And super tasty.  My favorite parts were the end pieces, because they had extra glaze!  This is a luxurious (not to mention expensive) cake…seems kind of a shame to not to have made it for a special occasion, but it sure made a crappy week better.

chocolate caramel chestnut cake

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan(it’s also here on Epicurious).  Read Second Dinner, where Katya posted it earlier this month, and don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!


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  1. What a gorgeous cake! I’m glad it made the week bearable for you. Great idea to make it in a quarter sheet pan and avoid splitting the layers (if you work in a bakery and find it challenging, I feel much better!)

  2. Lovely cake!

  3. Your cake looks delicious!!! I would bake this one for TWD, too if the ingredients were readily available and at a price I could afford. Until then, I’ll just have to drool while looking at yours. Scrumptious!

  4. This look really elegant and very professional. Looking at various attempts at the same cake across the blogs, the differences are amazing!

  5. Great way to scale down a recipe – saves time, dishes, trouble, and oven heat. Your cake looks wonderful!

  6. wow I like the slice in all its splendour!

  7. I love the way you have arranged this cake. It’s beautiful and streamlined. Mine (a bit wonky in shape) is going up as soon as I get a bit of light for a pic.

  8. **drool**

  9. Nice….very nice. Trying to figure out how you blew that dust. Interesting.

    Hope your month gets better with some unexpected blessings.

    • I have a few small watercolor paintbrushes that I use for cake deco…I patted some dust onto the tip of a brush and gently tapped it over the cake.

  10. WOW. That looks fabulous! I don’t know if I’ll make this next week or not. I’m in a rural area and it will be expensive for the ingredients, plus the rush of the holidays. Some day I will make it though! I made the cran apple crisp this week, so good!

  11. Oh, that’s just gorgeous! I really wanted to make this one, but I couldn’t manage to justify such an expensive cake for a family dinner at home. But someday!

  12. That ganache and glaze sound so heavenly. I would want an end piece, too. i didn’t make this one, and with things as busy as they are, I don’t know if I will. Hope things don’t get too crazy for you at work.

  13. Looks delicious! Where do you get your luster dust? I haven’t got the slightest idea where to start looking…

    • I get mine at a local cake decorating shop (NY Cake and Bake). If you don’t know of a shop near you, do a search for “luster dust” and you’ll find lots of places that ship.

  14. wow, it is SO beautiful! what a great cake for this time of year 🙂 i’ve never actually used fresh chestnuts, i’m excited to try! great take on the chocolate/hazelnut combo.

  15. I love that simplissime picture on top! Woah… I hope mine turns out that beautiful! Can’t wait to taste it! (thank goodness I have a special occasion! LOL)

    Sublime, Steph!

  16. Your cake came out beautifully. I am apprehensive about the cake because of the cost. Can you use the spread in a pound cake? Hopefully you won’t have to work too much this holiday season.

  17. Sorry about the tough week! Your cake looks fabulous — hope it lifted your spirits (’cause just the picture of it lifted mine:).

  18. Wow, your cake looks absolutely incredible!!! I am planning to make this for thanksgiving!!! YUM!

  19. I attempted this cake weeks ago and it had potential but I made a few key errors. Yours looks so great, I need to try again.

  20. Sorry you are having such problems finding a home, and your work is leaving you sad.

    Did you know that chocolate cures everything?

  21. Sometimes some good ol’ sugar therapy is the best kind of thearpy for crappy weeks. Your cake looks beautiful and I’m sure tasted the same.

    There is always light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how faint it might seem. I’m sure things will get better for you soon!

  22. Wow! It looks lovely! Fantastic job Steph.

    I am so scared of this cake. Its going to take a lot of time and Im worried I wont like the chestnuts and that no one will eat it. 😦

  23. Looks amazing. Sorry about all the other stuff. Save me a slice. :-}

  24. your cake looks better than the one in the book! Hope this week is better than last

  25. Sorry to hear life isn’t being the kindest at the moment. Hope you find that dream place soon.

    Your cake is just beautiful – I like things sparkly too.

  26. Absolutely fan$%&*ingtastic cake!

  27. What a great idea with the cake layering! May have to give that a try. And I have to say even the title of the cake leaves me drooling……will have to get this book and give that one a try!

  28. I am so happy that I saw this post from you. I have been thinking about a ‘chestnut’ creation for the holidays, and it has been bugging me what to pair it with. I’ve never used chestnuts before, so not intuitively sure. I am so trying the flavours here. They sound delicious.

    Separately, sorry to hear about the goings-on your end. Maybe two fabulous new people turn up to work in the bakery before the holidays, and they also have a place to sell – quickly!?

  29. After I made this I thought about dusting the glaze next time. Yours convinces me that would be a good thing to do. Beautiful!

  30. I LOVE cakes like this – loaf cakes. I’ve yet to make one but have several recipes for them. Nicely done!!! Love how you adapted it. You’d never know that life is not a bowl of cherries for you by the desserts you are pumping out – they are works of art!

  31. Sorry you had a crappy week Steph, but I think that cake could fix just about anything! It looks fabulous.

  32. This cake scares me to make it for some reason. It looks complicated and I don’t know where to get chestnuts! Yours look sooo very delicious though I might have to go shopping and put on my big girl panties and just do it! You inspire me. . .

  33. Beautiful. I made this one also and was planning on posting it next week. The glittery chestnuts are gorgeous.

  34. I have been looking for a good chestnut cake, and this looks like it’s the one I should try. Many years ago, in a restaurant, I had the best cake I’ve ever had…it was a chestnut cake. Ever since, I’ve been hoping to re-create it. Love your new header!

  35. i love fresh chestnuts and in a cake?? wow! looks wonderful!

  36. Sorry to hear about your property woes 😦

    And I can relate – one of my favourite coworkers is leaving next week and it’s such a bummer since the only thing I like about work is socializing (OK, gossiping – that and the kick ass coffee in our canteen.)

    But a successful cake is one good thing in your week, at least 🙂

  37. Ooh, shiny. Love it. I like your idea of baking the cake in a sheet pan, then cutting it into portions instead of slicing layers. So much easier!

  38. Your cake looks perfect! Great tip about baking it in the sheet pan.

  39. This looks like it was worth all the effort. You’re creative additions with the luster dust make this look like it came from the most elegant (and $$$) bakery in NYC. Great job!

  40. what a nice cake! I m not a big fan of chestnuts but surely this cake intrigues me.

  41. WOW! That first photo is so alluring! I need to make this cake!

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