chocolate caramel chestnut cake

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My dessert rich-o-meter has chocolate chip cookies right near the middle, with cheesecake at one end and, I don’t know, maybe angel food cake on the other. Although I almost never eat angel food cake. Regular layer cakes tend to be slightly on the less rich side of cookies, until you add frosting of course, and then I figure it’s about the same. So if you disregard the less-rich-than-cookies side of the richometer (pronounced with the stress on the second syllable, for maximum obnoxiousness), that means desserts just span from cookies – pretty darn bad for you – to cheesecake – just about 100% fat.

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The last few Tuesdays with Dorie recipes have definitely been on the cheesecake end of the spectrum. (Of course, nothing is as bad as the lemon cream tart and peanut butter torte, which are off the charts!) At first I thought this cake was similar to a basic cake, but then it has this chocolate-butter filling, and a chocolate-cream glaze, and two sticks of butter in the cake itself. Whoa doggie.

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So we have leetle leetle servings, one quarter of the size Dorie recommends. This isn’t my favorite type of cake – I tend to like more classic flavors and textures – but it’s certainly good, with the earthy chestnuts and bittersweet chocolate. Dorie expounds on the virtues of the ganache filling, made by melting chocolate with hot caramel instead of hot cream, and I agree that it lends some extra complexity to the cake.

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Katya has the full recipe posted. I substituted Nutella for the chestnut cream and decreased the butter in the cake by 2 tablespoons. I also found that refrigerating the ganache filling overnight seemed unnecessary, turning the spreadable mixture into a hard-as-butter (which it mostly is) chunk. I had to wait an hour or so to let it warm up before I could use it on the cake.

One year ago: Rugelach, one of my favorite Dorie Greenspan recipes ever

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  1. are you sure you are not a pastry chef in disguise?????
    this is stunning!

  2. Love the presentation! I did the cookies first and saved this rich recipe for later in the month so I can pawn it off on some guests. 😉

  3. Oh my. It feels silly to say, but what a pretty cake 🙂 Looks rich and fabulous

  4. oh my gosh! it is fantastically beautiful! i’m holding off on this one for awhile because it seems kinda fussy (and b/c it’s at the cheesecake end of the spectrum!).

  5. Gorgeous cake! I wussed out this week. I couldn’t find the chestnut spread (although I admit I didn’t search that hard). I do want to make this someday so I’ll have to try your Nutella spread substitute when I do. That sounds quite tasty!

  6. Sara L says:

    Very fancy looking! I can’t wait until you move to NM and we can eat some of these desserts.

  7. Beautiful! What a lovely cake. I haven’t made this one yet, but I am going to attempt it after seeing how stunning it is.

  8. Give chestnut cream a try if you can. It’s really good also as it is in plain yogurts 🙂
    (I miss my crème de marrons so much, from France…)

  9. Your photos are perfect! It sounds like the cake was as well.

  10. Wow, gorgeous photos – love the way you decorated the cake! I was too busy to make the cake this week and I’m also a bit skeptical about whether I’ll like it, but yours makes me think it might be worth a shot. Perhaps I’ll quarter the recipe. I made the molasses cookies this week, which were really delicious!

  11. Your cake looks AMAZING!!! So beautiful with the caramel sculpture on top.

    I want to make this. Soon. BUt only if it looks like yours…..

  12. It does look utterly beautiful. I don’t think mine will be nearly as pretty if I get around to making it. Gorgeous!

  13. Wow – absolutely stunning! I absolutely love what you did with the caramel sugar art, it makes an awesome presentation! Is it hard to make artsy features like that?

  14. bridget says:

    Oh Jenn, now I have to confess that all of that “art” was a total accident. 🙂 I had to make extra caramel because I only made 1/4 of the cake, but that was too little caramel to cook correctly. So I dipped some extra chestnuts in the extra caramel, and then set those aside to harden, and I just poured the rest of the caramel out onto a silicone baking mat in different shapes. But, I hadn’t cooked the caramel enough, so it never even hardened correctly. It was very sticky. It was definitely a learning experience.

  15. What a beautiful cake! I love the addition of Nutella….always a good choice 🙂

  16. Wow.. love you photography and presentation! Your cake looks amazing!

  17. I am going to make this cake later this month- but I’m pretty sure that mine won’t turn out nearly as beautiful as yours did!! What a gorgeous glaze! I’m really intrigued with the chestnut flavor- I don’t think I’ve ever tasted one!

  18. Hah, and that is why my 6-inch pans are working overtime in my kitchen, lol 🙂 I’m sure somewhere Dorie is thinking you could use a little meat on your bones! And if you disagree, you can always give it to me so I can help you out 😉

  19. That is just gorgeous! Very nice work!

  20. That turned out beautiful!