Chestnut cake – Pierre Hermé


Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour

Serves: 2 cakes 14*8cm/8cm high or 1 cake 20*10cm/7,5cm high

Usually I would say that I love summer days. But since I live in Dubai, autumn starts being the long awaited season which brings back a little freshness. It’s the season too for pumpkin soup, apple or pear tart, and of course chestnuts.

So it’s the perfect time to make this delicious chestnut cake, recipe from my favourite french chef “Pierre Hermé”. The cake is quite dense but also fluffy, full of autumnal flavours. It’s very simple to make and requires few ingredients.

As you can already imagine you’ll need chestnut spread, ou crème de marron, translated in chestnut cream in French, even if there is no cream in it. It’s sweet pureed chestnuts lightly flavoured with vanilla, which has a jam texture. The chef advices to use “Clement Faugier” brand you can purchase it on line, “bonne Maman” is a good alternative too, and you can find it easily at any supermarket . I had mine from “ La Durée “ it was really delicious.

This cake also calls for a mix of plain flour with chestnut flour, it’s made from ground chestnuts. The flour is gluten free, light, and has a naturally sweet with a more distinct nutty flavour.

How to make this chestnut cake ?

First preheat your oven. Melt your butter and let it set until needed.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar and chestnut spread. Add the melted butter, once combined add the flours and baking powder. Fold in the candied chestnuts fragments lightly coated with flour.

According to the chef, this cake can be declined in so many ways. You can add raisins, milk or dark chocolate chips, candied orange or candied ginger.

Pour the batter in buttered and floured loaf tin. Bake for 10 minutes at 180C then reduce the temperature to 160C and continue baking for 40 minutes or until your inserted knife comes out clean.

While the cake is baking make the syrup. In a saucepan bring the water and the sugar to boil, once the sugar is completely dissolved turn off the heat and add the rum. 

While the cake is still warm, soak it generously with syrup. The rum has a bitter taste so it balances the sweetness of the cake.

You may not use the whole quantity of syrup, the half will be enough. Except if you make 2 small cakes instead of one.

If you don’t like or don’t consume alcohol, you can flavour your syrup with vanilla or as the chef suggests add a good quality of rose water. In this case, my advice to you, make sure to reduce the quantity of sugar, otherwise you’ll end up with a very sweet cake.

This chestnut cake calls for patience, you have to leave the cake to mature for at least 2 days in the fridge covered with cling film. It will be even better. So it’s a great one to make in advance. Keeps perfectly in the fridge for up to two weeks.

So if you are a fan of chestnut,  you know what to do.

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Chestnut cake - Pierre Hermé

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Serves: 2 cakes 14*8cm/8cm high or 1 cake 20*10cm/7,5cm high

Ingredients :

For the batter :

  • 3 eggs
  • 105 g caster sugar
  • 220 g chestnut cream (spread)
  • 120 g unsalted butter, melted and lukewarm
  • 100 g all purpose flour, sifted
  • 50 g chestnut flour, sifted
  • 6 g baking powder, sifted
  • pinch of salt
  • 90 g candied chestnut fragments

for the syrup : I didn’t use the whole quantity

  • 150 g mineral water
  • 150 g caster sugar , (90 g for me)
  • 20 g Brown rum, ( instead I used 1-1/2 tsp of rose water)

Finition ( optional) :

  • 1 Tbsp neutral glaze
  • few candied chestnut , to decorate the cake

Method :

  • 1)

    Preheat the oven to 180C fan.

    Butter the cake mould, fill it with flour, turn it over and tap the bottom to remove the excess of flour.


  • 2)

    In a sieve put the candied chestnut, rinse them with lukewarm water to remove the excess of syrup from the chestnuts. Use a towel paper to take off all the water. Make sure to not crush them.

    Coat the candied chestnut fragments with 15g of flour ( 1 tbsp ), this will allow them to be distributed evenly, so they don’t end up at the bottom of the cake. Set aside until needed.



  • 3)

    In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, the sugar and the chestnut spread.



    Then add the melted butter, make sure that the butter is not hot (45C).



  • 4)

    Add the remaining flour (85g), chestnut flour and baking powder all sifted, add the salt. Mix everything very well.

    Using a spatula add the coated chestnut fragments with their flour, mix gently until all combined.



  • 5)

    Pour the batter into the mould. Fill a piping bag without a piping tip with 1 tablespoon of cold butter, cut off the end about 4mm, then draw a line in the middle along the length of the cake. It will help the cake to have  a nice hump.



    Bake the cake at 180C for 10 minutes then lower the temperature to 160C and bake for 40 minutes or more depending on the mould you used and your oven.

    Please keep an eye on the cake, if the cake starts being brown but it’s not cooked yet, cover it with aluminum foil and continue baking, until an inserted knife comes out clean.

    Once cooked remove the cake from the oven and put it on a grill.


  • 6)

    While the cake is baking, make the syrup.

    In a saucepan, bring the water and the sugar to the boil until the sugar is completely dissolved. Turn off the heat then add the rum ( or rose water like me, or let it without any flavour).

    While the cake still warm, soak it generously with the syrup. I didn’t use the whole quantity of syrup, half will be enough.

    Using a brush cover the cake with the neutral glaze ( or lukewarm apricot jam), decorate the cake with some candied chestnut.

    Chef Pierre Hermé, advices to cover the cake with a plastic wrap and leave to mature for at least 1 to 2 days in the refrigerator, it will be better.

    Enjoy !!






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