Chocolate and Candied Chestnuts Coffee Cake Recipe

Coffee Cake Chocolat Marron Glacé

[Chocolate and Candied Chestnuts Coffee Cake]

I wanted to bake a cake for our new year’s eve party – what’s a party without a cake? — and this is what I made. The recipe for this cake is originally a Sour Cream Coffee Cake from Bon Appétit (circa 1993), which my mother and I tinkered with a little while ago, lowering the sugar content, subbing yogurt for sour cream and converting the measurements from cups to grams.

My mother and I absolutely loved it, so perfectly crispy and caramelized and moist and flavorful. The original cake has a walnut and cinnamon topping, and I had made a delicious hazelnut and blueberry version for my birthday party last summer. A funny thing to note is that coffee cakes are not common at all in France, so when I tell people what this cake is, they always get a quizzical look on their faces, wondering why they can’t taste the coffee. So I have to explain that coffee cake is a cake to eat with coffee, not a cake containing coffee.

I wanted to try twisting it again, using more festive ingredients this time, chocolate chips and chunks of marrons glacés, those delicious glazed sweet chestnuts which are a typical holiday treat in France. I modified the recipe to account for the sweeter nature of my toppings, and avoid having my guests fall into sugar shock.

For the chocolate chips, I used the ganache drops I bought at G. Detou before the holidays, which characteristically came in a one-kilo bag. The candied chestnut pieces were generously donated by Maxence from his personal Christmas loot.

The resulting cake was as good as I had hoped. The little bits sunk to the bottom somewhat, which made for a scrumptious bottom layer. It is just the right sweetness, the tastes of chocolate and chestnut present but subtle, complementing the batter’s taste but not overpowering it in the least. And the texture is so pleasant that Maxence commented it was “comme un canelé, mais en gâteau”, which is really the best compliment he can make, considering how much he loves canelés. We served it along with a deliciously fresh fruit salad, a signature Marie-Laure concoction.

Coffee Cake Chocolat Marron Glacé

– 50 g brown sugar (I use muscovado sugar for extra crunch)
– 75 g chocolate chips
– 75 g chopped marrons glacés — glazed chestnuts
– 50 g crème de marron — sweetened chestnut purée
– 200 g flour
– a bag of baking powder (1 1/2 tsp)
– 1/2 tsp baking soda
– 115 g butter, at room temperature
– 100 g white sugar
– 3 eggs
– 2 plain yogurts (125 ml each, I use the Dannon Velouté)
– 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 180°C (360°F). Grease a 10 inch cake pan, preferably nonstick with a removable bottom.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.

In a food processor, mix together the white sugar and butter until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing between each. Add the yogurts and the vanilla extract, mix again. Add the flour mixture, mix again.

Pour half of the cake batter in the cake pan. Sprinkle half the chocolate chips and the marron glacés bits. Drop the crème de marron in small spoonfuls over the surface. Pour the rest of the batter. Sprinkle the brown sugar and the remaining chocolate and marrons glacés over the top of the batter.

Bake for an hour, until the top is golden and a knife blade inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for ten minutes, then remove from the pan and transfer to a rack to cool completely.

  • Meg

    Hi Clotilde — just catching up on a few days of entries (the duo of long holiday weekends that resulted from the Holidays being on Thursday this year seemed to have robbed me of all ambition!). Your recipes for the party all look great. . . I am most intrigued by the “terrine” book and am going to have my Philippe search it out since he loves to make terrines and he’ll be in Paris later this week (lucky him) without me (sigh).

  • Meg – I do recommend the book, it’s relatively cheap (7.5 euros) and filled with cool yet simple ideas! It should be easy enough to find in any Fnac store… Let me know what you think if Philippe gets his hands on a copy!

  • Deb

    My mouth is watering. This cake sounds superb! I was wondering, do you think replacing the flour with chestnut flour would perhaps enhance the flavor of the chestnuts more? I adore chestnuts and it just seems like the flour would be good in this cake too. Your cake is a beauty.

  • Sylvie

    Il doit être fabuleux ce gâteau ! moi, je le ferais bien sans chocolat. Mais la crème de marron reste-t-elle bien au milieu ? Et pour le myrtille-noisettes, avais-tu mis les myrtilles dans la pâte ou dans la garniture ?
    Bisous, miam miam

  • Deb – Chestnut flour is a fantastic idea! I would only sub part of the flour though, maybe half, because I heard that non-wheat flours tend to make cakes that are a little on the heavy side.

    Maman – En fait, en cuisant, la crème de marron se mèle au gâteau, donc on ne la retrouve pas telle quelle dans le produit fini, par contre elle le parfume et le rend plus moelleux et humide!

    Pour la version myrtille-noisette, j’avais mélangé les myrtilles (environ 200 g je pense) à la pâte avec précaution, et les noisettes étaient dans la couche du milieu et du dessus…

  • I can’t imagine what this tastes like — which makes me even more curious to try it! The only thing I’ve ever had with chestnuts is a chocolate chestnut refrigerator cake that I make (chestnut purée, butter and melted dark chocolate, poured into a lined loaf tin and refrigerated, served with crème fraîche), and you seem to be a big fan of chestnuts, so perhaps I should do more research and investigative eating in this area!

  • Jackie – your fridge cake sounds great! Would you share the recipe? And yes, I am a huge fan of chestnuts, funny you noticed!

  • You can find the recipe here, Clotilde — it’s another Nigella one, I’m afraid:

  • Jackie – Thanks for the recipe, this sounds easy and *delicious*! And I love the shorter link thing!

  • Well, longer links break the comments boxes, adding huge horizontal scrollbars — this drives me crazy, especially on my own sites! So comes in handy (for emails too).

    As for the recipe, yes, it is incredibly easy. I have made it a couple of times, and my only problem with it is that the texture can be a bit…chalky? I don’t know if I can adequately describe it, but perhaps I didn’t use enough butter last time. I imagine it would be very good with ice cream, too, as the “cake” itself is a tiny bit dry.

  • Eileen

    The recipe sounds yummy. I am very fond of marron glace myself. I was in Paris last year and had bought some chestnut puree. What would be a good substitute for the chestnuts though, since it is hard for me to get them?


  • Lu

    HI lu, a recipe with creme de marrons!

  • Alice

    Jackie said:
    As for the recipe, yes, it is incredibly easy. I have made it a couple of times, and my only problem with it is that the texture can be a bit…chalky? I don’t know if I can adequately describe it, but perhaps I didn’t use enough butter last time. I imagine it would be very good with ice cream, too, as the “cake” itself is a tiny bit dry.

    Strange, mine was very humid, perhaps too much…
    How strange, it seems everyone gets a different result!
    Anyway, it was delicious.

  • I just printed out this scrumptious recipe and added it to my short list of things to experiment with. One problem crème de marron is in short supply where I live, however we do have chestnuts so I will make my own – just adds to the fun.

  • Clothilde
    Thanks for this fabulous recipe.Would I be overstepping to ask for the measures in cups rather than grams ?

  • Phyllis

    Has anyone ever made coffee out of chestnuts?

  • anon

    The only problem with shorterlink(and tinyurl) is that the links expire…so those of us looking through the archives can’t see the linked recipe :(

    Both cakes sound delicious though!

  • “Anon” – A quick search seems to point to this recipe.

  • BakingSoda

    May I ask what type of flour did you use ? Plain flour or self rising flour??

    • It’s plain flour. In general, with recipes, if the type of flour isn’t specified, it’s always plain flour. You can be even surer if some kind of raising agent (baking soda or baking powder) is listed separately.

      • BakingSoda

        I see. Thank you very much !

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