Chocolate Chestnut Cake with Confit Cranberries

I love the way in which the nutty chocolate works against the tartness of the cranberries in this rich and decadent dessert.

Ingredients: serves 8

For the chocolate sponge

  • 600ml milk
  • 500g cooked chestnuts, chopped
  • 100g good-quality dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 4 eggs 100g caster sugar
  • 70g ground almonds
  • 2 tsp cornour zest of
  • 1 orange

For the confit cranberries

  • 200ml Stock Syrup (see below)
  • 50g cooked chestnuts, left whole
  • 50g cranberries juice of 1 orange

For the stock syrup (made in advance)

  • 250ml water
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin, buttered


Preheat the oven to 160.C/325.F/ gas mark 3.

To make the chocolate sponge, place the milk and the chopped chestnuts in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Bring the milk to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it cool a little. Carefully pour into a blender or food-processor and whizz to a smooth puree. Pour into a clean bowl and set aside. Place the chocolate and the butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure that the bowl does not touch the water, and stir until all the butter and chocolate have melted. Set aside and keep warm.

Using a food-processor, or by hand, whisk the eggs and the sugar together, until thick and creamy.

Mix the ground almonds, the cornour and the orange zest together. Gently fold the chocolate mixture into the chestnut puree, then, just as gently, fold in the whisked eggs followed by the dry ingredients. Transfer the mixture into the buttered cake tin and bake for 40 minutes, or until the top of the cake with a toothpick, the pickshould come out clean. While the cake is cooking, make the cont cranberries. Bring the stock syrup to a simmer, add the whole chestnuts, the cranberries and the orange juice and cook for about 40 minutes, or until just soft. Set aside to cool.

When the cake is ready, remove from the oven and let it rest in the tin for 10 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool. Serve in slices with a spoonful of cont cranberries on the top.

Stock syrup

To make the stock syrup, bring the water and the sugar to the boil in a heavy-based saucepan, whisking all the time until the sugar dissolves. As soon as the syrup comes to the boil, remove it from the heat and allow to cool. When it is cold, place it in a covered container in the fridge. e syrup should be cold when you use it.

Taken from Bryn’s Kitchen by, published by Kyle Books, price £25.

Photography by Jonathan Gregson.

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