Rich, dense and elegant truffle-like Chocolate Chestnut Fondant made with 70% dark chocolate. A decadent melt-in-your-mouth dessert.
Who’s up for a little chocolate treat right now? You know, the melt-in-your-mouth kind of treat… Something decadent, rich, dense and deliciously sweet. I can’t resist to such delicious things in my life, therefore I keep it occasional so that it creates this little wow effect every single time I taste it.
This cake is a great classic in France, especially during fall and winter months when chestnuts are in season but also when it’s cold outside and you want to indulge. It’s actually both a casual Sunday dessert (yes, we bake cakes in France on Sundays!) and a sophisticated one for special occasions, served with a side of vanilla custard crème anglaise. Really, you can never go wrong with this recipe, whatever the occasion. Fun fact: I even prepared this chocolate chestnut fondant for Christmas last year! My belief is that fancy cakes don’t always compete with the pure joy of simple flavors put together.
Although I have had some chocolate chestnut fondants in my previous years in France when I was younger, I found inspiration for this specific recipe through my French blogger friend Lumir from Voyage Gourmand, who herself had initially found the recipe in a French magazine from 2008. I met Lumir a few years ago at a baking event in Bordeaux (can you guess who she is on these photos?) and immediately connected with her. Lumir is a very talented food blogger and wine lover, which she turned into a career. I also love her eye for food trends, food styling and photography and her amazing technical skills with her blog. Whether you read French or not, you should definitely pay her off a visit.
Coming back to the recipe, you will be amazed to see how easy it is! Just 5 ingredients combined together with no effort:
- Dark chocolate – choose high quality, it’s mandatory in this recipe, at 70% cocoa.
- Chestnut spread – it already contains sugar, so you don’t need to add any in the recipe.
- Eggs – used plain. Nothing difficult here.
- Butter – I use salted butter as I love dark chocolate and sea salt.
- All-purpose flour – one tablespoon only, just enough to give some texture to the fondant.
You will first need to melt chocolate and butter together, either in a water-bath or in the microwave, 10 seconds at a time, stirring between each time to make sure the chocolate doesn’t burn. For the chocolate, I like to use either Valrhona Chocolate Guanaja 70% Feves (the best) or Lindt 70% Chocolate Cooking Bar, which sadly is not easy to find in stores in the US but remains my absolute favorite classic baking chocolate in France besides Valrhona (which is more on a professional level). The thing is that when you use just a few ingredients in a recipe, it is mandatory to choose high quality, and especially with chocolate, so please do me a favor and make sure you choose a good baking dark chocolate.
When it comes to the chestnut spread, I know that it can be difficult to find your hand on it when living outside France. I actually either find mine around the holidays season at Whole Foods or order it online, on Amazon most of the time. Note that I use chestnut spread here and not chestnut puree. While the last one is made of mashed chestnuts only, the chestnut spread is more a chestnut butter sort of treat as it contains sugar and most of the time some vanilla too. Because I use the chestnut spread, I do not add any sugar in the recipe, there is absolutely no need for it. Last but not least, if you want to bake everything from scratch, you can prepare your own chestnut spread with real chestnuts!
I baked the chestnut chocolate fondant in a classic loaf pan here and I really enjoy the rich, dense and decadent fondant texture in the center. You could also bake it in a small bundt cake pan or in a classic square baking pan or a 9-inch (23 cm) springform. Keep in mind that the baking time might change a little bit and I would advise to keep the same baking time if using a bundt cake pan but reduce the baking time to 30-35 minutes max if using a springform as the cake. To make sure your chocolate chestnut cake is done, insert a toothpick inside. If it’s still creamy, you need to bake a little longer.
My favorite way to pair this chocolate chestnut cake is to serve with a side of crème anglaise (homemade, always!) and enjoy with a sweet dessert wine, such as a Montbazillac for instance.
- 1 can (17.5 ounces / 500g) chestnut spread
- 3.5 ounces (100g) bittersweet dark chocolate, at 70% cocoa
- ⅓ cup + 1 Tablespoon (3.5 ounces / 100g) salted butter
- 3 large eggs
- 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and grease a loaf pan. Set aside.
- Melt butter and chocolate in a water bath or in the microwave, 10 seconds at a time, stirring in between each time.
- Pour in the chestnut spread and add the eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously between each increment to prevent raw eggs from cooking when in contact with warm melted chocolate. Add one tablespoon of flour, and stir well.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and let cool completely before serving. Enjoy with vanilla custard (crème anglaise).
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