Chocolate Chestnut Loaf Cake, TV Appearance and My Orange Kitchen

February 18, 2013

Seems like whenever I make anything with chestnuts, a post on updates is in order. Here’s an update about a few recent and somewhat unrelated things.

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When I was back home in Bombay in January, I conducted a bunch of baking workshops. Readers from all over the country came over (yes, country! Delhi, Pune, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad) for my classes in a quaint little villa in Bandra. I was beyond amazed…I still am. It was a fun two weeks of getting things together, meeting folks whom I’ve known just from their email IDs and Twitter handles and talking non-stop about butter, flour and sugar.

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Aneesha Baig from NDTV’s Will Travel For Food popped by during one of the classes and then we went on to explore some of my favourite baking supply stores in Bombay. The show first aired over the weekend and I managed to get my hands on my segment. Here’s my 9 minutes of fame.

For those viewing this on email, cruise over to watch the “Purplefoodie on NDTV” Video here.

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Arjun and I have moved into our new apartment in the 19th arrondissement of Paris. It’s cute, it’s cosy and I’ve been trying to make it our own over the past few weeks. What I like most is the fact that I have a huge kitchen (yes, this is considered huge by Paris standards), and an orange one at that with a proper oven! So of course, this means that all the kilos we’ve lost during the months that my oven was broken will now be regained. Here’s a peek into my kitchen. Landlord willing, I will have a magnet strip  on the wall for my Wüsthofs.

My orange kitchen

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It’s been a while since I baked for myself, just myself. Not something meant for a dinner party, or something that a friend requested, or for a baking class. Something I baked at leisure, at my own pace: my alone time in my new kitchen, getting friendly with my new gas oven.

And it finally happened this last week – I felt the need to tinker with a pound cake recipe to the point it had no resemblance to one : a loaf cake made with chocolate and my favourite chestnut jam. This little experiment ended up being a success with a crispy crust and a tight, moist crumb. And the next day, I had a slice slathered in raspberry jam.

chocolate chestnut loaf cake

Chocolate Chestnut Loaf Cake Recipe

160g butter
200g caster sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
3 eggs
100g chestnut jam/ chestnut paste
180g flour (I used 120g flour and 60g chestnut flour)
60g cocoa powder, sifted
1tsp baking powder

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C.
  2. Line a loaf pan (9″x5″)
  3. Beat the butter and sugar together until lighter in colour. Next, add the vanilla innards.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for 1-2 minutes between additions. Finally, add the chestnut jam and beat until thoroughly blended, making sure to scrape down the sides.
  5. In a bowl, whisk flour, chestnut flour (if using), cocoa powder and baking powder.
  6. Fold the dry mixture into the wet mixture.
  7. Transfer to the prepared load pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  8. Eat warm.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 uma February 18, 2013 at 11:55 AM

Shaheen looks great on TV… u are doing a great job for aspiring bakers in Mumbai…

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2 The Vanilla Bean February 18, 2013 at 12:41 PM

*Love* the kitchen. Straight out a novel!

I’m going to be looking for chestnut paste wherever I go now! xo

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3 Shaheen February 18, 2013 at 6:42 PM

Thanks, Roshni! I think I’ve heard of chestnut paste being available at gourmet stores. The Bonne Maman one should be easy to get your hands on.

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4 The Vanilla Bean March 1, 2013 at 6:07 AM

Saw Bonne Maman chestnut paste at Foodhall, Palladium. Whee!

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5 Nandita February 18, 2013 at 12:49 PM

Congrats on your TV appearance Shaheen. You look fabulous. The cake looks divine. Makes me want to dig into it right now :)

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6 noelle February 18, 2013 at 4:49 PM

I so wished I could have taken your baking class! Cheers to your new kitchen! It really is the best shade of orange.

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7 noelle February 18, 2013 at 4:50 PM

Also you looked so chic in the video!

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8 Fab February 19, 2013 at 6:07 AM

Congratulations on being featured on TV!! That cake looks really yum, but it’s nigh impossible to get chestnut paste around here. Is there any substitute that’ll work just as well?

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9 arundati February 19, 2013 at 6:41 AM

its the best thing when you can do what really interests you… congratulations and good luck… also thank you for sharing your sources!

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10 Rujuta February 19, 2013 at 10:56 AM

Hi Shaheen,

I have been a silent reader of your blog for quite sometime now..
Congratulations on being featured on TV…..Great kitchen and lovely recipe…
The cake looks so yummy…. I want to bake it right way… I need to search for places where I would get chestnut paste … would have loved to attend your class in Mumbai.. do let us know when you are taking the next ones.. better still can you do it in Pune?

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11 Kay Aar February 21, 2013 at 6:51 PM

Long time reader…but first time to comment…you look great on TV. Should consider that as an option as well. Congratulations !!!

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12 Anita Menon February 21, 2013 at 8:03 PM

Congrats Shaheen. So well deserved. It was so interesting to watch the video of the tv show. Very well done.
All the best !!

Your kitchen looks so cute and the chestnut loaf cake so moist and delicious

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13 Vicky February 22, 2013 at 6:57 PM

Congrats on the TV appearance. Your cake sounds delicious too. Yum.

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14 Eats Meets West February 24, 2013 at 11:44 PM

Hello Shahene! I’m Indian as well, and to see someone who still loves baking while having to scrounge around for ingredients in Mumbai is amazing. I’m in Canada, and we have a great variety of baking goods here. I never really thought about how hard it might be for my fellow sisters back home to make the things I might make here in Canada! I applaud you for your love of baking :D . Also, do you speak a bit of French? I feel like I’ve found my counterpart since I love to bake, I’m also Indian, and I’m becoming a French teacher :) . Comment est la belle ville de Paris? :D

Anyways, congratulations for being on TV, and that chocolate loaf is to die for. For the chestnut paste/jam, wouldn’t you be able to make it by pureeing it with some oil? I’d love to know if you have a secret recipe for it :)

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15 Shaheen February 26, 2013 at 4:09 PM

Thanks for the kind words! You could most definitely puree some roasted or boiled chestnuts but I’d never get to that stage because I love snacking on them so much.

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16 conunpocodizucchero.it February 25, 2013 at 10:56 PM

Lovely! :-)

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17 Chef Mireille February 27, 2013 at 12:53 AM

I’ve been wondering what to do with a jar of chestnut paste I picked up at Hediard when I was in Paris. I am always looking for new products to try, but I have been at a loss at what to do with it. I am definitely going to try this recipe if for no other reason than to use that jar collecting dust in my pantry.

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18 Chef Mireille March 1, 2013 at 1:13 AM

I tried your recipe today with a few adaptations and it came out so delicious – so light and soft – perfect with a cup of tea:
http://gourmetglobal.blogspot.com/2013/02/chocolate-chestnut-tea-cake.html
I provided a linkback to your original recipe here.

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19 miyafoodblog March 10, 2013 at 3:06 PM

that chocolate cake looks divine!

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