How to make a delicious chestnut chocolate cake with a fluffy meringue topping

If you still have chestnuts left over from Christmas, here's a fun way to turn them into a family favourite.

Ingredients

For the chestnut purée:

  • 200g cooked chestnuts
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 50ml single cream

For the chocolate cake:

  • 110g self-raising flour
  • 75g cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1tspn vanilla essence
  • 75ml vegetable oil
  • 125ml buttermilk
  • 125ml hot instant coffee

For the meringue:

  • 285g granulated sugar
  • 75ml water
  • 5 egg whites
  • .tspn cream of tartar
  • Edible gold glitter (optional)

Method

For the chestnut purée:

Simply process the chestnuts, sugar and cream in a blender until smooth. Set aside until ready to use.

For the chocolate cake:

Preheat your oven to 180˚C/ 350˚F/gas mark 4. Grease a 10in loose-bottomed cake tin with butter and add a circle of parchment in the base.

Combine the flour, cocoa and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Set aside. In another bowl, use a whisk or electric beater to mix the eggs, sugar, vanilla, oil, buttermilk and coffee. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Pour into the prepared tin and swirl through the chestnut purée, so it is evenly distributed. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean, but be careful not to over-bake. Remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack.

For the meringue:

Dissolve the granulated sugar in the water in a saucepan over a medium heat. Allow the sugar to dissolve, brushing down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush. Once it’s dissolved, do not stir it again, but set a sugar thermometer on the side of the pan and wait until it reaches 120˚C. Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites. Once side peaks are reached, add the cream of tartar and whisk to bring it up to stiff peaks. With the beaters running continuously, steadily pour the hot sugar syrup into the egg whites and continue to beat for five minutes after it is incorporated.

Pile the meringue on top of the cooled cake, or pipe it on as I have, then brown it with a blowtorch. (You can brown it under the grill, but do keep a careful eye on it.) Finish, if you like, with a sprinkling of gold, edible glitter.