Gluten-free Chestnut Cake : Gâteau aux Marrons

I didn’t begin baking cakes until I moved to France. Because the French seem to dine out less (opting to have friends and family over for a meal), I saw a lot of cake-baking going on. I never dreamed I would one day join in the flurry of farine (flour) by asking a hostess if there was something sweet I might bring! To this day making any kind of food for the French still intimidates me… thankfully, I have found ways around such cooking cowardess… by making recipes with 5 ingredients or less!
Here is one of my favorites (only 3 ingredients–not counting the topping or the optional corn starch!). This Chestnut Cake is a standby of my French aunt, Marie-Françoise. She sometimes surprises us with the cake on a hectic bottling day (we live on a busy vineyard), or during harvest time. And we are often treated to this delicious dessert during family get-togethers. It is a cake to make in a pinch and a cake that is a cinch!

 IngredientsGluten-free cake:

  • 1 can (500 grams or around 17 ounces) of canned chestnut puree
  • 50 grams (around 2 ounces) of butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons of cornstarch (= farine de maïs in French. Brand names include “Maïzena” in any supermarkets, crème de maïs at Leader Price, fine de maïs under the Francine brand).
  • Pecans

Preparation:

1.  Preheat oven to 150°C (300°F) Mix softened butter and chestnut spread together. Stir in 3 eggs (you can beat the eggs whites… or simply keep the eggs whole and whisk them in (as I do) with the butter and chestnut puree.

**Optional: 1-3 tablespoons of corn starch can be added to the mix.

2.  Pour mixture into a (greased-with-butter) shallow cake pan (a tart pan is perfect!). Place pecans over the top. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes (do not overcook! The “cake” is flat as a tart, therefore it tends to cook quickly!). Decorating the cake with confectioner’s sugar is optional (and oh-so-good!).

 

If you enjoyed this recipe, you might want a check our article on backing gluten free in France.

 

Bon Appétit!

 

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About the author

Kristin Espinansse

Website

Originally from Phoenix, AZ, famous blogger Kristin Espinasse now lives on a wine farm in Provence where she sends out the "thrice-weekly" French Word-A-Day, a journal blog relating the stories of her sometimes bumpy, often comic, and always poignant French assimilation. Kristin is also author of “Words in a French Life” where she "recounts her adventures with honesty and humor, never afraid to have a good laugh at her own expense... [an] innovative and entertaining way of teaching the finer points of French." --Publishers Weekly

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