Are you in love with seasonal recipes as I am? Then this Spiced Chestnut-Coffee Loaf is right up your alley. This recipe came to life on an inspired Sunday morning and it has been since tried, tested and approved several times already. It’s made using Crème de Marrons (chestnut cream), coffee, nutmeg, cinnamon and covered in melted chocolate with roasted hazelnuts.
Fluffy, moist, fully vegan and totally smells like the holidays, what more can you ask for, right?
This recipe calls for "Crème de Marrons de l'Ardèche" or chestnut cream which can be classified as "rare" or "hard to get" for some. Living in France, it was very easy to get my hands one a can but when I moved to Germany, I couldn't find it at the grocery store right away so I decided to order some off of Amazon. It's not very expensive and one small can is all you need for this recipe. Down below, I'll include some tips for those who don't have access to chestnut cream so don't worry, I got your back!
What is Crème de Marrons de l'Ardèche?
Crème de Marrons is not really a cream, think of it like a spread or preserve made with chestnuts instead of fruit. It is widely used in France from gourmet dessert recipes like Mont Blanc to being a popular garnish at the street crêperies. Crème de Marrons happens to be a bi-product of marrons glacées aka candied chestnuts so it's safe to say that it is extremely rich and sweet. I personally was never a fan of using this as a garnish for crepes or for yogurt because it is just way too sweet for me by itself.
At the restaurant I was interning at in Paris, I was reintroduced to this ingredient, this time in a Tiramisu recipe. The tiramisu was incredible yet still quite heavy and sweet for my taste.
Later on, whenever I tried to incorporate Crème de Marrons to my recipes, I ended up decreasing the amount of sugar drastically. This is just a little something to keep in mind if you want to commit to buying this ingredient to make this recipe.
So you will find the final result of this recipe is actually not very sweet. I've adjusted the sugar level by taking the amount of sugar in the chocolate topping and the chestnut cream into account.
Tips and Tricks:
If you can't get your hands on chestnut cream, you can try to make it yourself. Click here to learn how to make your own chestnut cream from scratch.
It's also possible to swap chestnut cream with 2 mashed ripe bananas. When you add mashed bananas instead of chestnut cream, I recommend you add more sugar to the recipe (about 50 grams). Chestnut cream is very sweet and if your bananas aren't super ripe, they will not be able to compete with the sweetness of the chestnut cream.
Replacing the chestnut cream with bananas will definitely change the flavour of this recipe and the final result will be closer to banana bread but it will still be amazing. I've been told that the banana overpowers mostly the coffee flavour and not much else so you can also try increasing the amount of coffee powder for this version.
Patience is key! Wait and you shall be rewarded! I highly recommend you wait for the loaf and the chocolate topping to cool before you taste it. The cooling allows the flavours to set and the spices to shine.
Let this loaf cool completely before wrapping it in cling film or placing it in an airtight container. Store it in room temperature for up to 4 days (but let's be honest it won't survive that long anyway).
You can use gluten-free flour to make a gluten-free version of this recipe. If you're allergic to hazelnuts, simply omit them.
The batter is going to be very thick, it's perfectly normal, go with it.
You can roast your own chestnuts for this recipe or use vacuum sealed and already cooked ones from the store. If you've never roasted chestnuts before, click here to learn how to easily do it at home. Roasted chestnuts tend to add an extra depth of flavour and are preferable but if you don't have time, there is no shame in using pre-packaged ones.
Hate coffee in desserts? Simply replace the coffee powder with equal amounts of flour or maybe with equal amounts of cocoa powder for an extra chocolatey version.
PREP TIME: 30 MIN
BAKING TIME: 1 HOUR
RESTING TIME: 1 HOUR
TOTAL TIME: 2h30 MIN
For the cake:
310 grams or 2 1/2 cups of flour
2 tsp of baking powder
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp of ground cloves
100 grams or 1/2 cup of brown sugar
A pinch of salt
3 tbsp of coffee powder
90 grams or 1/4 cup and 2 tbsp of plant based butter, melted
85 grams or 1/2 cup of sunflower oil
1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
85 grams or 1/2 cup of black coffee or plant based unsweetened milk
250 grams or 8.75 oz of Crème de Marrons (chestnut cream)
180 grams or 7/10 cups of plant based unsweetened yogurt
85 grams or 1/2 cup of cooked chestnuts, crumbled into small pieces (or left whole if you prefer them chunky)
For the topping:
150 grams or 7/8 cup of vegan dark chocolate
1/2 cup or 80 grams of raw hazelnuts or store bought pre-roasted hazelnuts
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F).
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and roast the hazelnuts for 10-15 minutes. Give them a stir every 5 minutes or so for an even roasting. You'll know they're done when the skin is crackling and they start smelling incredible.
3. Take them out of the oven and get a kitchen towel to protect your hands. You'll take a handful of hazelnuts each time and rub them together to remove the skin. The skin comes off very easily while they're still hot so don't skip this step.
4. Oil your standard loaf pan and line it with baking parchment. This will help you remove the loaf from the pan a lot easier after baking.
5. In a large mixing bowl, first, mix together all the dry ingredients for the cake.
6. In a small pot, melt the plant based butter and add the powdered coffee. Let the coffee infuse the butter for 2-3 minutes and set it aside to cool.
7. Add all the wet ingredients to the mixing bowl, stir everything until the batter reaches a uniform consistency.
8. Lastly, fold the crumbled chestnuts into the batter and pour it in your loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour at 180°C (360°F).
9. Check the cake for doneness by sticking a knife or a bamboo stick, if it comes out clean, its time to take it out of the oven.
10. Remove the loaf from the pan and let it cool in room temperature, preferably on a cooling rack for about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
11. During this time, melt the dark chocolate using a microwave or a bain-marie method. You can also simply melt it in a pot as long as you keep the heat low and make sure it doesn't burn.
12. Add the hazelnuts in the melted chocolate and set aside and let it cool but not harden.
13. Finally, pour your cooled chocolate hazelnut mix onto the cooled loaf.
14. Enjoy it as is or as I highly recommend, let it rest for 1 to 2 hours more in room temperature until the chocolate on top has hardened.