Chocolate Velvet Chestnut Cake with Pumpkin Pecan Crust Recipe


This velvety smooth cake uses pureed roasted chestnuts instead of wheat flour. The taste is decadent, but it’s relatively light because of the whipped egg whites folded into the batter. This is a great holiday dessert, but make it any time you feel like a little indulgence.

Chestnuts are in season from October through January. You may be able to find them in Whole Foods Markets (my local store unfortunately was out so I ordered whole roasted chestnuts online from

Sugared cranberries:
¼ cup water
⅛ cup coconut sugar
4 ounces cranberries


Pumpkin Pecan Nut Crust:
1½ cups pecans
Pumpkin spice mix1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon allspice, ¼ teaspoon cloves, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ⅛ teaspoon Himalayan salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1½ tablespoons butter, melted
½ cup pumpkin purée

Cake (use blender or food processor)
7 ounces chestnuts, peeled, roasted
⅔ cup full fat coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
7 ounces (2 bars) Green & Black 85% Dark Chocolate bars
4 ounces high fat butter
4 egg whites
4 egg yolks
¼ cup maple syrup (do not reduce)
Powdered sugar to dust on top

1. Preheat oven to 350⁰F.
2. Prepare 9-inch spring form pan: Grease sides and bottom of pan; put parchment paper on bottom.

3. Pumpkin Pecan Nut Crust: In a food processor, add the nuts, pumpkin spice mix, sugar, melted butter and pumpkin purée. Pulse a few times to mix the ingredients and lightly chop the nuts.

Press the crust mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Transfer to refrigerator and chill for about 20 minutes. Remove from the refrigerator 10 minutes before cooking to allow the pan to return to room temperature.

4. Sugared cranberries: Bring sugar and water to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add cranberries and cook until barely starting to soften, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cranberries to a plate lined with parchment paper. Chill in refrigerator until no longer sticky, 20–30 minutes.

5. Cake: In a small pan, melt the chocolate and butter over low heat – stirring constantly so you do not burn the chocolate. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

In a blender or food processor, purée the chestnuts, coconut milk and vanilla into a coarse paste.

In a large bowl, add the 4 egg whites. Use a hand mixer to whip to stiff peaks. Set aside.

In another large bowl, add the 4 egg yolks. Add the maple syrup and whisk to combine. Stir in the chestnut purée. Stir in the melted chocolate mixture.

Gently fold the egg whites into the chestnut purée-chocolate batter, one-third at a time.

Pour the batter into the pan with the prepared crust.

Bake for 40 minutes.

Do not overbake. You will know it is done because the sides of the cake will begin to lift from the outer edges of the pan, but the center will be soft and slightly “jiggly”.

Remove from oven and place on wire rack. Cool for 1 hour before removing sides of pan.

6. Garnish with powdered sugar (sift across the top) and the sugared cranberries.

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