Friday, March 25, 2011

Chestnut Pound Cake

The type of chestnuts that most are familiar with are the ones seen around the Christmas holidays.  Then there are also water chestnuts, which are mostly used in Asian cooking.

Some time ago, there was an abundance of chestnut trees in the US. These trees made up 1/4 of all the hardwood tree population in the east.  However, a blight brought over from Asia nearly wiped all of them out.  The future of the chestnut trees are now reliant upon a new species that are blight resistant.

This particular recipe calls for chestnut flour.  In light of the above information as well the fact that chestnut flour is gluten free, I had a little bit of difficulty finding this ingredient.  After some research, I found it can be ordered from or Amazon.

The flavor of the cake is very light so it goes well with tea or coffee.  Like all my favorite pound cakes, this one has a moist and tender crumb.  Simple and tasty with no frosting or filling required.  Also, unlike regular nuts, Chestnuts only have 1% of fat.  For a more attractive presentation, try using a 10 cup bundt pan and adjust the cooking time.

Chestnut Pound Cake
courtesy of Pure Dessert Cookbook via Technicolor Kitchen

4 large eggs (room temp)
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup dark rum
1 cup or 2 sticks of butter (room temp)
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 cup plus 1 tbs regular flour
1 cup chestnut flour

Prepare 2 loaf pans (5 cups each) by buttering all insides.  Then line bottom and sides with parchment paper, leaving excess paper hanging over the long sides.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Take a small bowl and whisk all the eggs together and set aside. Then sift together both kinds of flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Repeat the sifting process 2 more times and set aside.

Using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy.  This should take about 3 minutes. Then beat in eggs until evenly distributed.  Put mixer away.

Get a wooden spoon and stir 1/3 of the flour mixture into the batter.  Add half the amount called for of the buttermilk and rum.  Continue to stir batter and repeat the add in process, ending with the flour, until all is combined.

Divide the batter evenly and spoon into each loaf pan, smoothing out top and covering sides and corners.  Place loaf pans in oven on the same rack, spacing evenly apart.  Bake for approximately 50-55 minutes, rotating at halfway point. Cakes are done when tester comes out clean and are golden on top. 

Remove and let cool in pans on rack for 20 minutes.  Then lift out with parchment handles and place on rack to finish cooling.