a friend's birthday a while back resulted in frenzied, last minute baking. i assured her i would bring a couple of things from my kitchen - including a tart tatin with beetroots. well, i made said tart. but let's just leave it at that: it wasn't very good. more like, maybe, a sandstorm. when i realised okay this tart is probably not going to be so great, i whipped up a cake at the last call (or even already after). a simple (very simple) chestnut cake. i divided the batter between two small, round cake pans, glued the layers together with some simple vanille whipped cream and frosted it with just the same. uhm, yeah, you've probably seen prettier cakes, right? at least, the inside didn't disappoint. it was moist and chestnutty and simply rustic - in a comforting way. and, you've got to give them some credit - the tulips are nice? period.
chestnut layer cake
100 g butter, room temperature
150 g sugar
200 g chestnut purée (unsweetened, if using sweetened then reduce sugar amount)
150 g ground hazelnuts (or walnuts or almonds, really)
3 egg whites
1 pinch salt
250 ml cream
1 vanilla, seeds
2 tbsp. sugar
preheat the oven to 200 c / 380 f. grease two small round cake pans with butter and lightly dust with flour. set aside. prepare the dough. cream together the butter and sugar, then add the chestnut purée and hazelnuts. whip the egg whites with the pinch of salt until stiff. fold into the wet mixture but don't overstir. pour into the prepared pans and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. the cake is ready when it's still moist (a needle or wooden stick would probably still come out sticky at this point, even when it's good) but when the sides are brown and are beginning to lift from the pan. let cool on a rack completely.
if need be, remove any uneven bumps or heaps in the middle of the cake to make them even and layerable. whip the cream, then add the sugar and vanilla and stir to combine. put the bottom layer of the cake on a plate or cake stand, distribute a layer of whipped cream, then place the second cake layer on top. frost with the whipped cream all around.