What a cake, I think this might be the most involved thing I've ever made (baking wise at least). The cake was a decadent masterpiece with chestnuts, chocolate caramel ganache, a brandy syrup and a chocolate glaze. It was a two-day project, one day to make the ganache and chestnut spread and the other day to bake the cake, make the glaze and assemble, plus refrigeration time.
The recipe called for chestnut spread, which I couldn't find. But I did find peeled, jarred chestnuts (thank you Fresh Market) so I threw them in the food processor with sugar, cream and vanilla and pulsed until it looked liked a spread.The chocolate caramel is divine, Dorie was not kidding when she said you'd want to eat a bowlful of it. It's made just like a regular caramel but then once it reaches the caramel stage you pour it over chopped bittersweet chocolate.The cake itself was easy to put together, it used cake flour instead of regular flour, I'm assuming for a more tender crumb. You're supposed to use a square pan, which I don't have, so instead I used two round pans. They were done in about 20 minutes and probably could have come out a little earlier.Once everything was cooled I assembled it, frosted it with the ganache and stuck it in the fridge while I made the glaze. The glaze was similar to a ganache but thinner. I topped the whole thing with a few of the nicer looking chestnuts, no gold dust here though. It was a beautiful cake, the chestnuts gave it an interesting flavor, they're a little more woodsy than hazelnuts but they're very low in fat in calories. Which really doesn't help in a cake with four + sticks of butter, eek. Those I shared it with seemed to like it too. I don't know if I'd ever have the occasion to make this again, because as good as it was I am way to lazy. But it did let me stretch my baking 'muscles'. Thank you to Katya of Second Dinner for this week's selection!