Chestnut Almond Cake (Gluten Free)
Chestnut purée adds a slightly sweet, nutty texture to this very moist, gluten-free chestnut almond cake. Unlike most nuts, chestnuts contain mainly starch rather than protein and fat, meaning that chestnut products bake with more flour-like characteristics. Chestnut season in Australia runs from March to June, or you can buy tinned unsweetened chestnut meal here. For a variation on this recipe, you can bake the mix as cupcakes, or substitute almond meal with hazelnut meal and add a tablespoon of Frangelico for extra flavour.
4 egg yolks
200 g caster sugar
100 g butter
200 g almond meal
400 g chestnut purée (*)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tsp baking powder
4 egg whites
Pre-heat oven to 160 °C (fan-forced). Beat egg yolks with caster sugar until pale and creamy. Melt butter over low heat, add to egg yolk mixture and beat until just combined. Gradually add almond meal, chestnut purée, vanilla bean paste and baking powder. Using a clean bowl and beaters, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Use a whisk to add the beaten egg white to the remaining ingredients until just combined. Fill mix into a greased, paper-lined 20 cm cake tin and bake 1 h or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let cool slightly before turning out and cutting.
(*) To make your own chestnut purée, first remove the hard outer shell from fresh chestnuts (a paring knife is useful). Simmer the chestnuts for 20 min in hot water or until a skewer goes through easily. Remove the chestnuts from the water and while still warm, peel off the inner skin (many of the chestnuts will break up at this point). Allow the peeled chestnuts to cool completely, then blend in a food processor until an even meal is formed. The meal can be frozen away for future use.