Known in French as the Gâteau Ardéchois, this Chestnut Cream Cake originates from the French Ardèche and is a Winter classic for French homebakers. Located in Southeastern France, the Ardèche is a department famous for its valleys, trails, lush forests and abundance of chestnuts. Chestnut purée, roasted chestnuts, candied chestnuts, chestnut cream… the local repertoire boasts a variety of chestnut-focused recipes, with this Chestnut Cream Cake being one of the most popular.
Made with homemade chestnut spread, this is a simple yet moist cake, with an incomparable taste and texture from the chestnut spread.
A traditional recipe, with a little twist.
My recipe for this Chestnut Cream cake is traditional, with just one exception. I rely on the same ingredients and steps you would find in any other Gâteau Ardéchois recipe, but I prefer to separate the egg whites from the egg yolks, and beat the egg whites to a firm peak before folding them into the batter.
This extra step makes for an airier, lighter cake that still has a satisfyingly rich crumb of a true Gâteau Ardéchois.
How to make this Chesnut Cream Cakes (Gâteau Ardéchois)
This is an easy recipe, with 4 simple steps which require 4 different bowls.
Note that you need chestnut cream to make this cake. I usually like to make my own and you can find my recipe for it here. But if you have the chance to have quality chestnut cream on hand, ideally from the Ardeche, this works perfectly as well.
The recipe starts by separating the eggs whites and egg yolks in two different bowls. You then beat the egg whites to a firm peak in a large bowl. Make sure you reach a firm peak – this process should take about 3 to 4 of high speed and the egg whites should hold well on the whisk – but do not overbeat.
In a separate bowl, the egg yolks gets ribboned with the sugar. Ribboning means you whisk the yolks and sugar together for 5 minutes until the sugar dissolves and a ribon forms from the whisk. If you want to learn more about the ribboning process, I recommend visiting this page. This process invites air into the egg yolk and also ensure the sugar is fully disolved and will be blended homogeneously into the cake batter – making for an airy, moist crumb.
In a separate bowl, soft butter (at room temperature) gets mixed with chestnut cream.
In a separate bowl, the flour gets sifted with baking soda, baking powder and salt. I recommend you do not skip on the sifting step, as we want to ensure the flour is lump free and separated, to produce a light and airy crumb.
The final step in the making this Chestnut Cream cake is to fold the egg whites, alternating with the flour. The fluflly batter gets transferred into a large cake pan and bakes. You can opt for a large Bundt cake pan or a circular 9-inch pan.
You can serve this cake warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or even more chestnut cream on the side. It is also delicious at room temperature or cold, with a simple dusting of icing sugar.
My Cooking notes:
- This Chestnut Cream Cake is traditionally baked in a large circular cake pan. I used a large Bundt cake pan here, which works great for this high cake. A 9-inch circular pan will work well too. Avoid using anything smaller (ie. 8-inch circular pan) as this cake is slightly bigger than your average cake.
- I like to make my own Chestnut Cream, and use it to make this cake. If you have the chance to have quality chestnut cream on hand, ideally from the Ardeche, this works perfectly as well.
I hope you’ll love this Chestnut Cream Cake as much as I do! This is a great French classic to add to your Winter repertoire.
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5 large eggs, yolks and whites divided
½ cup (100g) sugar
500g Chestnut Cream
1 cup (250g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups (250g) all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
Pre-heat your oven at 350F (180C) with a rack in the middle. Grease and lightly flour a large Bundt cake pan or 9-inch cake pan.
Step 1 - In a large bowl, beat the egg whites to a firm peak. Set aside.
Step 2 -In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar for about 5 minutes, until paler in color and a ribbon forms from the whisk.
Step 3 -In a separate bowl, combine the chestnut cream with the soft butter. Mix until homogeneous. Add the chestnut cream/butter mixture to the egg/sugar mixture, and mix until fully combined.
Step 4 -In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Step 5 -Using a spatula, fold in about a quarter of the egg whites into the chestnut cream mixture, and then fold in about a quarter of the flour. Repeat, alternating a quarter of egg whites and a quarter of flour, until all folded in. Do not overmix; stop working when just incorporated. The batter should be fluffy.
Gently transfer the batter into your cake pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes, until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack for 5 minutes and unmold.
Did you make this recipe?
I’d love to know how it turned out! Please let me know by leaving a comment below, rate the recipe and/or share a photo on Instagram: tag @pardonyourfrench and hashtag it #pardonyourfrench. Bon Appetit!