Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie - Chocolate Caramel Chestnut Cake

It's the most wonderful time of the year! :) Fall. Colorful leaves. Apple cider. Pumpkin pie. Crisp, cool nights. I love this time of year. I think all of the recipes this month for Tuesdays with Dorie make me think of Fall. We were given the choice of making any of the November recipes in any order this month, because they are all good for fall/holiday gatherings. I chose to make the Chocolate Caramel Chestnut Cake, the recipe that Katya of Second Dinner picked.



There were a lot of steps to this one, though none of them hard. First, you make a chocolate caramel ganache. I almost quit after making that. Not because it was hard or because the rest of the recipe intimidated me. It was because the ganache was so delicious, just as it was, all by itself. I was tempted to just put some in a bowl and eat it as a pudding. It's rich, and smooth and the caramel flavor blends perfectly with the combination of milk and bittersweet chocolates. But, hard as it was, I showed some self-control and put the ganache in the fridge to cool overnight.



Next I baked the cake. I searched high and low for chestnut spread. I was able to find chestnuts (I think it was in the 4th store I tried) but no spread anywhere. I finally decided to try and make my own. I took all but 10 of my chestnuts and placed them in a pan with water and sugar. I simmered this on the stove until it reduced. Added a touch of vanilla, poured it into my small food processor and processed away! I ended up with a something that was smooth and spreadable and made of chestnuts, so I called it chestnut spread and continued with the recipe. :D Once the cake was baked  and cooled I wrapped it in plastic and set it on the counter to rest overnight.


I next made the brandy syrup. That was easy. Brandy and brown sugar. Done.


I did all the above on Sunday (while also working on my Bread Pudding for SMS and making biscotti for my Secret Baker) and when I got home Monday night I started the glaze for the cake. Another simple step. Chocolate melted with boiled cream that has water and sugar added. Let it set on the counter till it thickens.


In addition to my cleaning business, I bake and decorate cakes...wedding, birthday, anniversary, most any occasion. So, I have a supply of edible dusts on hand and, gold was one of the colors I had. I dusted my chestnuts and then got ready to put all the steps together to complete the cake.

Pretty simple and straightforward. Cut the cake into thirds. Put a layer down, brush syrup over it, cover it with ganache, place next layer on that, repeat, place third layer on top, cover with glaze, place chestnuts on top.




It's very pretty when it's all done, smooth ganache with the gold chestnuts marching across diagonally. But, the proof is in the pudding and I wondered if it would taste as pretty as it looked.


It did not disappoint. There are so many different flavors going on with each bite. I was able to taste the bittersweet of the glaze, then there was just the tiniest bit of heat from the brandy syrup. Next the subtle flavor of the chocolate caramel ganache, both the chocolate and caramel blending with the other tastes. And, the cake! While I think I may have over baked it a bit, it was still moist and soft and delicious. There are so many complex blendings going on with this cake, yet each one compliments and works with the others. I liked it! It is definitely something I would bake again. It would be great for a holiday gathering. I might even sprinkle a little gold dust over the glaze to add more pizazz to it.


So, thank you Katya for choosing this one. If you would like the recipe, head over to her blog to check it out. And, if you want to see what the other bakers thought, you know the drill...Me? I am going to go cut another slice of this cake. :)


26 comments:

  1. Wow, Susan, great job! This one scares me, besides how much work it looks like, it seems a little "heavy". But wow, yours looks gorgeous! Love the gold chestnuts!

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  2. You've inspired me to make this. All those steps seemed a bit intimidating but the end result looks wonderful. Your cake is gorgeous.

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  3. It looks so beautiful! I want to get some of that gold dust now. You make all the steps sound so easy too.

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  4. Beautiful job, Susan! This one was a little intimidating to me--but your break down of the steps make it sound so simple! Might have to give this one a try! The gold chestnuts are gorgeous!

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  5. looks gorgeous! i can tell you are a cake pro!

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  6. wow, beautiful job! I really want to make this cake but don't think I have it in me right now...

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  7. That looks absolutely beautiful! I've never really had chestnuts before so am curious to see how it works out. Love the gold chestnuts on top.

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  8. Well, I had talked myself out of this one as it looked way beyond my capabilities, but all your photos make it look like a possibility after all, and if you liked it, well, I am certain my guys would. I have to sub out the chestnuts though as they don't like chestnuts...hazelnuts you think? Yours looks so gorgeous...I love the nuts all lined up like that!

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  9. Oooh - it looks better than the one in the book! Very impressive, and nice to know it tastes as good as it looks.

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  10. Wow! You cake looks just like the picture from the book! :) Well done.

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  11. Holy cow! This looks so good! But all the steps scare me a bit ;) Hopefully I can find the time to make this! And hopefully have a crowd of people to share it with. Glad you enjoyed it!

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  12. This cake looks so good! And you have been so busy!!

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  13. This is beautiful. I wish I could find chestnuts. If make, may need to do with hazelnuts. Good for you to make your own paste.

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  14. Edible gold dust!?! That is so cool. I've never heard of it before. I'm glad you made this cake and thought that it was simple. It gives me the courage to try it. Yours looks fabulous!

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  15. Your cake looks great! Look at those gilded chestnuts - just beautiful!

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  16. Absolutely gorgeous cake! It's so great to see the recipes ahead of time and get lots of tips, I can't wait to try this one next weekend. (I made biscotti for Secret Baker too, it was a challenge to come up with things that would ship well.)

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  17. Beautiful! You've made this recipe look do-able - without tearing my hair out. ::g::
    And isn't there something so satisfying about an empty plate.

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  18. chestnut spreaed! mmm! I've never seen that in stores either, but it soundn amazing! this cake looks beautiful - the gold chestnuts are a wonderful touch!

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  19. Thanks for walking through the steps on this one. It's the first TWD I've skipped, so it was nice to live vicariously through your photos. Gorgeous cake!

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  20. Your cake looks just like Dorie's in the cookbook! I'm impressed and will definitely keep searching for chestnuts.

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  21. That looks great! Not sure if I'm going to make it. I've heard that Days of our Lives is getting better, I may have to watch again.

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  22. Stunning and picture perfect! Well done.

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  23. Wow! Great job! I have been intimidated by this one...just because it seems like it would take ages to make. Your post made it all seem much more manageable. I also appreciate you sharing how you made your own homemade chestnut spread. I'm pretty sure I won't be able to find that here in Podunk, USA!

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  24. That looks fabulous, Susan! I've been on the fence about making this one, but I think you've convinced me that it's worth my time and effort. Putting chestnut spread (or whatever I can find) on my shopping list...

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  25. This cake was sooooo good. Your cake looks wonderful. I love that you went all out.

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  26. Great job on your cake and kudos for making the chestnut spread. I didn't get to bake the last two TWD weeks, but I might make this cake for the holidays. Nice step-by-step photos, too.

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Please let me know what you think. I love to hear from other bakers.