Tuesday, November 10, 2009

TWD - Chocolate Caramel Chestnut Cake


People, did you notice it's November already? I'm shocked. I'm also SOOOO behind on everything, and not just in the blog part of my life. Which is why I haven't been by to visit you recently. Sorry about that!

See, we got home from our family vacation late Monday night (a week ago!), and the delicious feeling of posts in the queue evaporated on Tuesday. The feeling of MUST POST NOW started overtaking the feeling of MUST HAVE CLEAN LAUNDRY NOW, and the two struggled until I found myself two days later with clean laundry hanging all over the house and three unfinished recipes littering the kitchen.

One of these three recipes was last week's chocolate caramel chestnut cake, chosen for us by Katya of Second Dinner. I had initially resisted this recipe as it was "due" the day after we got back from vacation, but when Laurie gave us the flexibility to mix up the recipes this week, I reconsidered making it. When I found the chestnut puree and chestnuts in Paris (at Monoprix, a combo department/drug/grocery store) for a fraction of what they would have cost me at home, the bargain factor kicked in and I resolved to make this when I returned home.

While in Paris, I picked up a nasty respiratory infection that I am still battling, and that made it harder to settle back into a routine once we got home. Still, I made the cake part of the cake and froze it for a few days until I had an event suitable for such a classy dessert.

The event? A silent auction for our P.E.O. chapter. I bought gold luster dust and brushed it on the chestnuts for the decoration on top of the cake. Since I assembled the cake at 4:30 AM on the day of the auction, I forgot to use both the syrup (which I made with water instead of brandy) and chopped chestnuts between the layers. The finished cake wasn't as perfect as I wanted it to be, but the gold chestnuts gave it polish.

The cake was delicious with the ganache and the glaze (I made myself a scrap taste using cuttings from what I cut off the domed top layer), but I would have liked more chocolate flavor (I'm not a milk chocolate fan). I intend to make the caramel ganache again with bittersweet chocolate and salt, since what's not to love about salted caramel ganache?

Thanks, Katya for choosing a cake I never would have undertaken on my own. It wasn't so difficult and the flavors were interesting together. If you'd like the recipe, buy the book (Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan) or stop by Katya's as she has it posted.

19 comments:

Clivia said...

I love bakers. We travel the world bringing back food. Glad you got to taste a bit of this beautiful creation!

chocolatechic said...

I plan on making this for Thanksgiving.

I made the crisps this week.

Kim said...

It looks wonderful and I'm sure it was a hit. I made this cake this past weekend but haven't posted about it yet. I haven't actually tried it yet but my husband says it was tasty. I wish I had some bargain chestnuts. Hope you are feeling better.

Megan said...

You BROUGHT home chestnuts from Paris?

** le sigh **

How dreamy!

Susan said...

All I brought home from Germany was a cuckoo clock! :D Your cake looks beautiful!

Tracey said...

I am very jealous of your bargain chestnuts :) I'm probably going to skip the chestnuts because of the cost but maybe I'll find something else to sub. The cake is gorgeous and I'm sure it was a big hit at the auction :)

pinkstripes said...

How cool that you bought your chestnut ingredients in Paris. YOur cake looks delicious.

margot said...

Your cake looks beautiful! What good timing with the chestnuts, I hope you had a great vacation!

I did not use any milk chocolate in mine, since I'm not a fan either; I used semisweet for the ganache and bittersweet for the glaze and it was yummy.

Jessica said...

Leslie, your cake looks just like the cake in the book! And how cool that you brought your special ingredients back from Paris? I loved the Monoprix when I lived in Lyon. It was my French version of Target. I hope you feel better soon!

shortbreadsouth said...

Sometimes life does get in the way of all the fabulous baking and blogging we want to do!
Your cake looks great, though. Hope you are feeling better soon.

Steph said...

I hope you feel better about your respiratory infection. Once we had so much unclean laundry, I thought I was going to run out of socks. The cake looks really good! That's so exciting you got such a great deal on the chestnuts.

Pamela said...

Looks lovely. And Salted Caramel Ganache?? I'm so there!

Kayte said...

So sorry you are ill...a lot of that going around and it doesn't sound like any fun at all. Your cake looks absolutely fabulous, so I hope that makes you feel much better. Shopping in Paris! Yes, since we all have to import chestnuts from Paris, it stands to reason that you were in the right place at the right time!

Tia said...

your cake looks exactly like the book's!

natalia said...

Your cake looks fantastic ! We are so crazy to go shopping who knows where thinking about TWD !!

spike. said...

Looks pretty perfect to me! Hope you're feeling better

Di said...

Your cake looks gorgeous, Leslie! And I'm totally jealous of your chestnut find. =)

Nancy/n.o.e said...

I tried to find the chestnuts and spread on my trip, too, but since it was Chicago, I wouldn't have actually saved any money (and couldn't find the ingredients in the Chicago Whole Foods)! Love the way your cake looks. I'm tackling it this week, and was thinking I'll start with the layers and freeze them, so I'm glad to hear it worked for you. I'll also lean towards the dark end of milk chocolate. No gold luster for me though. Thanks for the test drive!!

Romaine said...

Somehow I missed your cake the week you posted it. Will you make it again? It looks beautiful. Not sure I will ever repeat it but enjoyed trying something new.