Chestnut Sponge Cake

While browsing the shelves of a large health-food store in the city recently, I came across some chestnut flour by chance, and decided to try it out.

It smells slightly nutty and sweet, which reminded me of something I read in this BBC Food article about why we bake:

“In times of difficulty or distress, targeting our sense of smell is the quickest way to alter our emotional state.”

I agree with that wholeheartedly, don’t you?

With a hint of lemon and tonka beans, this cake has such a delicate flavour. Moist and aromatic – this is one of the tastiest cakes I have ever made! The recipe is a mix of ideas from the internet and a basic swiss roll mixture. I made mini cakes first, and served them with whipped cream. The batter would also be perfect for a swiss roll, or even muffins. Here’s the simple round cake, plain and delectable.

Chestnut Sponge Cake

  • 1 cup (120g) sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup (200g) thick yoghurt or sour cream
  • zest of 1 organic lemon
  • A few shavings of tonka bean (optional)
  • 1 cup (125g) chestnut flour
  • 1 1/2 tsps baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • a little icing sugar for decoration

Grease  and flour a 26cm (10 inch) cake tin and preheat the oven to 180°C.

Separate the eggs, and whisk the egg yolks and sugar until thick and creamy. Stir in the yoghurt/sour cream, lemon zest and tonka bean shavings. Then sift in the flour, salt and baking powder, and fold in carefully with a large metal spoon. Wash whisk blades and whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl until they form stiff peaks. Fold into the batter very gently. Pour into cake tin and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Remove from tin and leave to cool on a wire rack. Sprinkle with a little icing sugar when completely cool.