1 lb resh chestnuts or 1 cup
unsweetened chestnut puree
pure vanilla extract
Mocha Whipped Cream
semisweet chocolate, broken into bite-size pieces
instant espresso coffee, dissolved in
- For the Cake:Place the almonds in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a knife blade and pulse until the nuts are finely ground.
- Set aside in a small dish.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Butter and flour 2 9" round cake pans.
- If you are using fresh chestnuts, place them in a saucepan with water to cover.
- Simmer the chestnuts until they are tender, about 40 minutes.
- BE sure to keep the water level over the chestnuts as they cook.
- Drain the chestnuts, reserving 1 cup of the liquid, and set aside 6 whole nuts.
- When they are cool enough to handle, peel the skin with a paring knife.
- Puree the chestnuts in the bowl of a food processor and remove the puree to a small bowl.
- If you need more liquid, add some of the reserved cooking liquid.
- The puree should be as stiff as peanut butter.
- Beat the egg yolks with the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium spped for 5 minutes or until the mixture forms ribbons when you raise the beater from the batter.
- On low speed, blend in the chestnut puree, almonds, vanilla and espresso.
- With the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites in a bowl of your electric mixer with the pinch of salt until they form soft peaks.
- Do not overbeat.
- Add 1/4 of the whites to the egg yolk batter and blend well; carefully fold in the remaining egg whites until you have a fluffy batter.
- Fill the cake pans evenly with the batter.
- Gently rap the pans on the counter to settle the batter.
- Bake the cake layers on the center rack of the oven for about 35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Allow the cakes to cool 10 minuts in their pans, then invert them onto wire cooling racks.
- Place 1 cake layer on a large round cake platter.
- Frost the sides and top of the bottom layer with Mocha Whipped Cream.
- Place the top layer over the cream and frost the rest of the cake.
- Cut the reserved whole chestnuts in half and arrange them over the cake.
- Chill the cake at least 1 hoiur.
- Remove it from the refrigerator 15 minutes before serving.
- For the Mocha Whipped Cream:Combine the cream, chocolate and espresso in a heavy saucepan.
- Cook, stirring, over moderate heat until the chocolate has melted and the mixture thickened.
- Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer and refrigerate until the mocha cream has chilled, about 30 minutes.
- Whip the cream until stiff.