When tasked with creating something as vague as a “holiday dessert,” however, my mind goes blank. With endless paths to go down or ideas to explore, how can one determine what would be best? Similarly, the concept of creating a recipe that simply must have flour as an ingredient left me just short of baffled. Flour, that ubiquitous ground wheat product, is so prevalent in this household that I’d swear I could sweep up all the dust on the shelves and bake a loaf of bread with it.
Creating a hearty crumb that isn’t too dense, a blend of both whole wheat pastry flour and bread flour lends this sweet loaf a unique texture, slightly fluffier than your average pound cake. Chestnuts are blended to weave their unique essence into every bite, paired with sizable pieces for toothsome pops of nutty flavor. Though icing is typically an after though, something that could be listed as optional, this particular spicy topping is absolutely essential to contrast the hearty crumb. Don’t rush it either; the crunch and slight cooling sensation it provides after it hardens is critical to maximum enjoyment.
Now there’s simply no excuse to get into the kitchen and start your oven!
- 1 Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
- 1/2 Cup Bread Flour
- 1/2 Cup Confectioner’s Sugar
- 1/4 Cup Cornstarch
- 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Cup Canola Oil
- 1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed
- 10 Ounces (About 1 1/2 Cups) Whole Roasted and Shelled Chestnuts, Divided
- 1/2 Cup Plain Non-Dairy Milk
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- 1/2 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 Teaspoon Almond Extract
- 1 Cup Confectioner’s Sugar
- 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
- Pinch Ground Nutmeg
- 1 – 2 Tablespoons Water
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl, sift together both flours along with the confectioner’s sugar, cornstarch, baking powder and soda, and salt. Roughly chop half of the chestnuts and toss them in, stirring to coat with flour to help prevent the pieces from all sinking to the bottom while baking. Set aside.
3. Place the oil, brown sugar, and the remaining half of the chestnuts into the container of your blender or food processor and thoroughly puree. Pause to scrape down the sides if necessary, ensuring that everything is smoothly combined. Add in the “milk,” cinnamon, vinegar, vanilla, and almond extract, blending once more to incorporate.
4. Pour the liquid mixture into the bowl of dry goods, and stir with a wide spatula just enough to bring the batter together. A few small lumps are far better than an overworked, tough cake. Pour the batter to your prepared pan and bake for 50 – 60 minutes, until amber brown all over an a toothpick inserted into the center pulls out cleanly. Let sit in the pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
5. To prepare the icing, simply whisk together all of the ingredient, slowly adding water one drop at a time until it reaches your desired consistency. Drizzle generously over the top of the cake and allow it 1 – 2 hours to set and harden. Slice, serve, and enjoy!
Makes 1 Loaf Cake; 8 – 10 Servings