Baking Hermann
Recipes

Castagnaccio (Tuscan Chestnut Cake)

Amongst many other treasures, Tuscany is known for an abundance of chestnuts. Once considered a food of the poor, who foraged the fallen nuts in the forests, dried them and ground them into flour, chestnuts are nowadays considered somewhat of a luxury. And as such, this dessert has long conquered the heart of many Italians, while still remaining fairly unknown elsewhere.

Amongst many other treasures, Tuscany is known for an abundance of chestnuts. Once considered a food of the poor, who foraged the fallen nuts in the forests, dried them and ground them into flour, chestnuts are nowadays considered somewhat of a luxury. And as such, this dessert has long conquered the heart of many Italians, while still remaining fairly unknown elsewhere.

Usually made during fall, when chestnuts are available and the flour is at its freshest, Castagnaccio is an unleavened cake that happens to be both vegan and gluten-free. It is flavoured with walnuts, pine nuts, raisins and, surprisingly, rosemary. The combination of sweet and savoury turns this elegant cake into a unique dessert.

I first learned about Castagnaccio while travelling through Tuscany on my search for traditional plant-based dishes. Knowing all too well about this precious secret that Italians have mostly kept to themselves, the wonderful Giulia Scarpaleggia invited me to her studio kitchen and showed me how the cake is prepared. Giulia shares these and many more secrets as well as popular classics across her blog, Jul’s Kitchen, a timeless deep-dive into the richness of Italian cuisine.

Castagnaccio tastes heavenly by itself, but the angels begin to sing a little louder if you serve it alongside Italian dessert wine like Vin Santo.

Storage

Keep any leftovers in an airtight container for 1-2 days.

serves 8

Ingredients

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Add the raisins to a small bowl, cover with warm water and leave to soak for 10 minutes. In the meantime, roughly chop the walnuts and strip the rosemary leaves. Grease a 25cm cake tin with 2 tbsp of the olive oil.

Sift the chestnut flour into a large bowl, add the salt and gradually whisk in the water until the flour has dissolved evenly. Whisk in 2 tbsp of olive oil, then drain the raisins, squeeze out the remaining water and stir them into the batter along with about half of the walnuts and pine nuts. Pour the batter into the cake tin and top it with the remaining nuts and the rosemary. Then drizzle over the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top feels firm and just begins to crack. Then leave it to cool for 10 minutes, before removing it from the cake tin and cutting it into slices.

Storage: Keep any leftovers in an airtight container for 1-2 days.

As an Amazon Associate I receive a small commission from affiliate links on this page.

Castagnaccio (Tuscan Chestnut Cake)

Amongst many other treasures, Tuscany is known for an abundance of chestnuts. Once considered a food of the poor, who foraged the fallen nuts in the forests, dried them and ground them into flour, chestnuts are nowadays considered somewhat of a luxury. And as such, this dessert has long conquered the heart of many Italians, while still remaining fairly unknown elsewhere.
5 from 1 vote
Active Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  • Add the raisins to a small bowl, cover with warm water and leave to soak for 10 minutes. In the meantime, roughly chop the walnuts and strip the rosemary leaves. Grease a 25cm cake tin with 2 tbsp of the olive oil.
  • Sift the chestnut flour into a large bowl, add the salt and gradually whisk in the water until the flour has dissolved evenly. Whisk in 2 tbsp of olive oil, then drain the raisins, squeeze out the remaining water and stir them into the batter along with about half of the walnuts and pine nuts. Pour the batter into the cake tin and top it with the remaining nuts and the rosemary. Then drizzle over the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top feels firm and just begins to crack. Then leave it to cool for 10 minutes, before removing it from the cake tin and cutting it into slices.

Notes

Storage: Keep any leftovers in an airtight container for 1-2 days.
Print Recipe

2 Comments

  1. Stevie

    5 stars
    Never thought I’d like this based on the ingredients (like rosemary and raisins) but I tried this last weekend and it was absolutely delicious! My family loved it too since it was gone within minutes. I’m already planning to make it again this weekend. So easy to make as well!

    Reply
    • Julius Fiedler

      One of the best desserts to fight that fear of raisins! 😅

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




Recent Recipes

Peanut Spread

Peanut Spread

Previously, I've made tofu out of chickpeas, green peas, red lentils, black beans and, the traditional one, soybeans. Which is another way of saying that you can make tofu out of pretty much any legume. If you'd like to know more about this, check out my Any Legume...

Çiğ Köfte (Turkish Bulgur Balls)

Çiğ Köfte (Turkish Bulgur Balls)

Who would have thought that the Turkish Health Ministry would play a part in creating one of the country's most iconic plant-based street food dishes? Çiğ Köfte has long been a staple food in the southeastern parts of Türkiye. However, it is traditionally made with a...

Curry Leaves Ice Cubes

Curry Leaves Ice Cubes

Curry leaves grow in abundance in India and are easily available in most shops for a few rupees. But if you live elsewhere you might find it difficult to source them. The trouble is that curry leaves are an incredibly aromatic and delicious addition to Indian food....

Kenyan Chapati

Kenyan Chapati

These flakey flatbreads are the perfect companion to Ndengu, a rich Kenyan mung bean curry. Although called chapati, it is similar to Indian Laccha Paratha, one of the many cross-cultural influences from the Indian subcontinent that workers brought to Kenya in the...

Ndengu (Kenyan Mung Bean Curry)

Ndengu (Kenyan Mung Bean Curry)

In the 19th century, thousands of Indian workers were employed in Kenya to build a vast local railway network. They brought with them their own food culture and used ingredients and cooking methods to create dishes that felt close to home. Today, many Kenyan dishes...

Hazelnut Tofu (Hazelnut Dofu)

Hazelnut Tofu (Hazelnut Dofu)

Imagine the flavour of roasted nuts captured into a creamy pudding. That's what Hazelnut Dofu is all about. It's inspired by Goma Dofu, a traditional Japanese appetiser that is made with sesame seeds and kuzu starch. But you can follow the same method and turn any nut...

Potaje de Garbanzos (Spanish Chickpea, Potato & Spinach Stew)

Potaje de Garbanzos (Spanish Chickpea, Potato & Spinach Stew)

During my search for traditional plant-based dishes from around the world two themes reappear time and again. Religion and poverty. Both of these have long shaped food cultures towards naturally vegan options. Potaje de Garbanzos is a great example. The comforting...

Coconut Milk (1 Ingredient)

Coconut Milk (1 Ingredient)

Making your own coconut milk from scratch might seem futile. After all, it's easily available in cans in most stores. However, many brands use added thickeners and stabilisers to give the coconut milk a creamy texture that doesn't separate, and even organic coconut...

Ugali (Tanzanian Maize Meal)

Ugali (Tanzanian Maize Meal)

Across the African Great Lakes region, you'll find versions of Ugali. Most parts of Tanzania and Kenya share the same name for it, while it's known as Sadza in Zimbabwe. The Malawian version is called Nsima and was even added to the UNESCO Representative List of the...

Pani Walalu (Sri Lankan New Year Sweet)

Pani Walalu (Sri Lankan New Year Sweet)

Sinking your teeth into Pani Walalu is a textural delight as much as it is a flavourful sensation. Crispy and sweet on the outside, soft and slightly savoury on the inside, these fermented urad dal sweets are an unusual but extremely satisfying treat. They are...

Tahdig-Inspired Crispy Saffron Rice

Tahdig-Inspired Crispy Saffron Rice

Tahdig is a culinary highlight of Persian cooking. Perfectly steamed rice made better by giving it an incredibly crispy bottom layer. Traditionally, it's made with butter and/or yoghurt, but I've always been craving a naturally plant-based version of this crispy rice....

How to Bloom Saffron

How to Bloom Saffron

Measured by weight, saffron is valued more than gold. It takes 75,000 blossoms to produce 1 pound of saffron, and each individual stigma needs to be picked by hand at the prime of its season. Add to the the intense aroma and flavour of saffron and it's no surprise...