After making my Quick and Easy Christmas Fruit Cake, I suddenly had half an open tin of chestnut puree to use. I put half in the fridge and, as an experiment, the other half in the freezer. I decided to try and find a recipe that also used the puree but so you could actually taste the chestnuts. This Chestnut and Vanilla Cake recipe was looking to be the winner, but then I found this recipe.
The experiment worked - the frozen puree defrosted beautifully in the microwave. So if you make a cake with some puree and don't want to use the rest then pop it in a tub and freeze it. I bet you could use fresh roasted chestnuts and just blitz them up with a dash of water for this recipe too. Though personally I love roasted chestnuts so much just with a little bit of salt that I don't know that I could bear to blitz them up (this is also why I find chestnut stuffing distressing to make...). If you defrosted some frozen ones that could work too.
These are my kind of cupcake: complex, nutty and packed with flavour. I find that a lot of commercial cupcakes in particular taste of absolutely nothing but icing sugar. The cake is very damp and quite unusual - not what you expect to find in the bottom of a cupcake. It took me a few moments to decide if I liked it, but I do. Especially when combined with the chocolate. Be careful to not go too overboard with the ganache, though, as it could easily overpower the delicate chestnut flavour.
I'm having a bit of a camera nightmare at the moment. When I was in London to see my cake being sold as a result of the Maltersers competition, I took my camera out of my bag to take a photo, switched it on and my screen was completely screwed. I'm still deciding what to do as the body is cracked in another place too - I think I may have to buy another body. My student budget does not like this status.
In the meantime I'm shooting without being able to navigate any menus. I also have a bit of a light problem in my house, especially now it's dark so much. A stool in front of the window is the only way to go, but it creates big shadows. So please forgive any lacklustre photography.
Chocolate Chestnut Cupcakes
(Adapted from BBC Good Food, here)
For the cake:
215g chestnut puree
90g golden caster sugar
100g ground almonds
1/2 tsp baking powder
Line a 12 muffin tin with cases - I used these gold foil ones. Preheat the oven to 170C. Weigh the chestnut puree out into a mixing bowl and beat it with a fork until smooth. Whisk the eggs and sugar in a stand mixer until doubled in size, pale and holds shape. Spoon about half of the egg mixture into the chestnut bowl and fold in until uniform. Sift over the ground almonds and baking powder, adding any bigger pieces of almond at the end. Fold in carefully but throughly. Finally add the rest of the egg mixture and fold that in. Divide between the cases (I had a bit spare). Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown and firm to touch. Cool (you can apparently freeze them for up to six weeks at this point).
For the ganache:
200ml double cream
100g dark chocolate
Break up the chocolate into a bowl. Heat the cream up until nearly boiling and then pour over the chocolate. Leave for 3-4 minutes then stir until smooth. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before spreading over the cupcakes.