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Chestnut cakes with raisins, pine nuts and honey

Australian Gourmet Traveller Italian dessert recipe for chestnut cakes with raisins, pine nuts and honey.

By Emma Knowles
  • 25 mins preparation
  • 30 mins cooking plus cooling
  • Serves 8
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Chestnut cakes with raisins, pine nuts and honey
This recipe is inspired by the flavours of the famous castagnaccio alla Toscana; a dense cake made from chestnut flour, flavoured with rosemary and topped with pine nuts and sultanas. This version has a lighter texture and is served with rosemary honey.


  • 50 gm sultanas
  • 220 gm (1 cup) caster sugar
  • 150 gm softened butter, plus 20gm melted butter, for drizzling
  • 1½ tbsp finely chopped rosemary
  • 3 eggs
  • 200 gm plain flour
  • 100 gm chestnut flour (see note)
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 150 ml milk
  • 30 gm pine nuts
Rosemary honey
  • 170 gm chestnut honey
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • Juice of ½ lemon


  • 1
    Preheat oven to 160C. Combine sultanas and enough hot water to cover in a bowl and set aside.
  • 2
    Beat sugar and butter and 1 tbsp rosemary in an electric mixer until light and fluffy (3-4 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping down sides of bowl after each addition. Sift in flours and baking powder, stir to combine, stir in milk, then spoon into eight buttered and floured 200ml-capacity round cake tins.
  • 3
    Drain sultanas, pat dry on absorbent paper and combine in a bowl with pine nuts and remaining rosemary. Scatter over cakes, drizzle with melted butter and bake until golden and centres spring back when lightly pressed (25-30 minutes). Cool cakes in tins for 5 minutes, turn out onto a wire rack.
  • 4
    Meanwhile, for rosemary honey, combine ingredients and 30ml water in a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat until flavours infuse (3-4 minutes), cool to room temperature. To serve, discard rosemary sprig and spoon rosemary honey over cakes.


Note Chestnut flour is available from select Italian delicatessens, but be sure to check the packing date because it must be very fresh.