Castagnaccio Cake is a traditional Tuscan cake made with chestnuts. It’s perfect for the holidays but you can enjoy it anytime the craving hits. You don’t have to be in Tuscany to enjoy this delicious cake! Make your own today by following this easy recipe.
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Traditional Tuscan Chestnut Flour Cake
Chestnuts are a key ingredient this cake. Originally it comes from Tuscany, Italy and it’s said to have originated in the small town of Castagneto Carducci, which was named after chestnut trees that grow abundantly there. Castagna means “chestnut” in Italian so the name for this cake translates to Chestnut flour Cake.
What is Castagnaccio Cake
This traditional Tuscan cake made from chestnut flour is most often served during the fall and winter months following the annual harvest. It has a deep, rich flavor that is quite different than other cakes or desserts.
The classic way to make this cake is without any sugar. Dried fruit and chestnut flour are used to sweeten it. I like my cake a bit sweeter, so I am adding maple syrup. This is optional.
When is Castagnaccio Typically Served
Castagnaccio cakes are usually served at Christmas time or on All Saint’s Day. Of course, you can make it any time of year.
How to Store Castagnaccio
When you are storing the cake, you want to store it in the refrigerator. Place the cake in the fridge, covered with a cloth. It will keep for up to 3 to 4 days.
Can Tuscan Flour Cake be Frozen
While I normally love to freeze cakes, I do not recommend freezing the cake. With this type of cake, it becomes rubbery once it has been frozen. It is best to eat it fresh over the course of a few days.
How to Serve Castagnaccio
This cake can be served just the way it is. You can also add a bit of ricotta on top. You can also add honey over the top, especially chestnut honey, or serve it with a sweet wine like Vin Santo.
Homemade Whipped Cream is another fantastic option to add to the top of the cake.
Since Castagnaccio is a dense cake, it should be served with strong black coffee or espresso. If you can not have caffeine then Castagnaccio pairs very well with hot tea and will provide warmth on the coldest winter day.
- You can change the raisins with chopped candied orange peel. This gives an orange flavor to the cake, which is very popular. You can do this with dried black cherries, dried figs, and apples too, or any combination that you like.
- If you want something chocolate, you can also add 5 ounces melted dark chocolate, 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, or 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Tips for Making The Perfect Castagnaccio Cake
When adding liquids like honey, mix them with room temperature water first because cold liquid can cause separation in cakes made with butter
The cake should be set aside for at least two hours before serving so that it firms up properly. This gives both time for the flavors to meld together and makes sure there is no risk of sogginess from refrigerating too soon after baking.
For best results, sift the chestnut flour before you use it. If you don’t have a flour sifter, put the flour in a small fine mesh strainer and shake it in your mixing bowl. This will make sure there are no clumps.
If you can not find chestnut flour, you can make your own. I recommend using a food processor to make the chestnut flour as it will chop up the nuts more than if you used an electric mixer. You could also use a blender, but that would take much longer and might overheat your appliance.
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You will find a complete list of all of the ingredients that you need as well as the directions on the printable recipe card below
- fresh rosemary leaves
- extra virgin olive oil
- chestnut flour
- lukewarm water
- real maple syrup
- chopped walnuts
- pine nuts
How to Make Castagnaccio Cake
Soak the raisins and rosemary leaves in a small bowl with lukewarm water. Set it aside.
Put the oven rack in the middle. Preheat the oven to 350 degree. Put one tablespoon of oil or cooking spray in a 9″ pie pan. Set it aside for later.
In a bowl, combine chestnut flour, water, maple syrup and the rest of the olive oil. Mix with a fork until it becomes a smooth batter. Add more water if needed to thin it out slightly.
Drain the raisins and rosemary leaves. Add half of the raisins, walnuts, and pine nuts to the batter. Stir well.
Pour the batter into a pie pan. Add some rosemary, raisins, walnuts and pine nuts on top, evenly.
Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until it starts to crack.
Remove from oven and cool slightly before cutting into thin slices and serving. Enjoy!
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Castagnaccio – Traditional Tuscan Chestnut Flour Cake
- 1/3 c. raisins divided
- 2 T. fresh rosemary leaves
- 3 T. extra virgin olive oil divided
- 3 c. chestnut flour sifted
- 1 2/3 c. lukewarm water
- 2 T. real maple syrup*
- ¼ c. chopped walnuts divided
- ¼ c. pine nuts divided
- Soak the raisins and rosemary leaves in a small bowl with lukewarm water. Set it aside.
- Put the oven rack in the middle. Preheat the oven to 350 degree. Put one tablespoon of oil or cooking spray in a 9″ pie pan. Set it aside for later.
- In a bowl, combine chestnut flour, water, maple syrup and the rest of the olive oil. Mix with a fork until it becomes a smooth batter. Add more water if needed to thin it out slightly.
- Drain the raisins and rosemary leaves. Add half of the raisins, walnuts, and pine nuts to the batter. Stir well.
- Pour the batter into a pie pan. Add some rosemary, raisins, walnuts and pine nuts on top, evenly.
- Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until it starts to crack.
- Remove from oven and cool slightly before cutting into thin slices and serving. Enjoy!