Thursday, January 12, 2006

Chestnut and Matcha Cake

I like the combination of chestnuts and matcha as well as the idea of experiencing the same flavor in different textures. I experimented yesterday, and the result was this multi layer cake with 2 different cake layers and 2 kinds of buttercream. I usually have a large batch of RLB's Classic Buttercream recipe from the Cake Bible stacked in my freezer. (For her easier Neoclassic buttercream recipe, refer to this link.) For this cake, I flavored half of my buttercream with chestnut puree, and the other half with matcha. I normally prefer whipped cream to buttercream in taste, but I must say that the chestnut buttercream was so good that I had to fight the urge to spoon the leftovers. The unusual and quite dense chestnut cake recipe is from The Art of the Cake by Bruce Healey and Paul Bugat. This is the first time I make it, but it surely will not be the last. I am already dreaming it glazed with bittersweet chocolate (as suggested in the book.) The green cake layer is my tried-and-true Hot Milk Sponge cake (from Alice Medrich's Cocolat) flavored with matcha. The result, as you can see, was pleasingly colorful to the eye. It was very tasty, too. But then again, how can one go wrong with such a heavenly combination?

Chestnut Cake (from The Art of the Cake)
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 3 eggs, separated and warmed to room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 17 oz sweetened chestnut puree
  • 4 tbs melted butter
  • A pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1/3 c + 1 tsp flour
Preheat the oven to 425F. (I baked mine at 400F, and it took a little longer.) Grease a 9" springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper and dust the insides generously with flour.

Put aside 4 tsp of the sugar. Combine the rest with vanilla and the egg yolks, and beat until light and thick. Beat in the chestnut puree and the butter.

Whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until light peaks form. Now gradually add the reserved 4 tsp of sugar, and continue beating until the whites are stiff but not dry.

Sift the flour over the chestnut mixture. Add about 1/3 of the meringue as well. Stir quickly with a spatula. Then gently fold in the remaining meringue.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface from the center up the sides of the pan. (I baked half the recipe in a loaf pan, and forgot to do so without any adverse results.) Place the cake pan on a baking sheet. Bake until the center is springy to touch, about 17 to 20 minutes.