Sunday, 22 September 2013

Just Desserts: Fruit of the Forest Chocolate Chestnut Cake

A little while ago I made a submission to Sweets Workshop for their annual Food Fight exhibition. Sweets is a retail art gallery run by the very talented John and Emma, who actively encourage and support local artists. The Food Fight exhibition is an invitation for artists, photographers, writers etc to submit a piece of work for a calendar which has a particular food theme. It is released in time for Good Food Month and the Summer Hill Neighbourhood Feast in mid October. This year's theme was The Festive Feast, and I was trying to think of something to do. When I began thinking about feasts, my mind drifted back to favourite books from my childhood -  Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame, Jill Barklam's Brambly Hedge, and the Redwall series by Brian Jacques. The Redwall series in particular has many descriptions of epic feasts enjoyed by English woodland creatures, and I thought it would be so fun to recreate some of that. My next thought was what is the feast for, and it had to be something easily recognisable. I decided on a wedding simply because of the cuteness factor! I set about making mice, squirrels, rabbits, and otters, from various fabric scraps gleaned form my grandmother's stash. She used to make toys when her sight was better and she never throws anything away! I next made various food items from polymer clay - asparagus tart, a cauldron of soup, biscuits, fruit, salad, bread etc, and a wedding cake centre piece which I then made a recipe for. I had SO much fun as I hadn't had time to do anything really creative like that for a long time, so it was a really nice way to start all over again!

A rich dense chocolate cake ( like a mud cake). Gluten, egg, and dairy free.

439gr tin unsweetened chestnut puree
2 cups hazelnut meal
2 cups very good quality dark chocolate bits
1 cup soaked dates, pureed
1 cup mixed berries (frozen is ok, thaw out and drain first)
2 tablespoons tapioca flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

1.Preheat oven to 160C
2.Sift baking powder and baking soda into hazelnut meal into a large bowl.
3.Add chestnut puree and beat for a minute or two until well mixed, scraping down the sides periodically.
4.Add pureed dates, and melted chocolate and mix for another couple of minutes.
Fold in mixed berries.
5.Grease and line a 20cm round springform or loose bottom cake tin. Dollop mixture into tin, and spread evenly.
6.Bake in oven for approximately 50- 60 minutes, a light crust will have formed, and some cracks may appear on top as it will have risen ever so slightly. Allow to cool completely before removing from tin, placing it in the fridge will speed up the process. Keep it in the fridge until ready to serve. 
7.Serve in small slices with more berries and ice cream if desired.


  1. Wow, the model wedding feast that you created is so cool! All the animals are so cute & such detail with the various foods! And the chocolate cake you made looks delicious! :)

  2. that is just so gorgeous - I love all the animals but I particularly love the little foods you made - it is the sort of thing I would like to make for my 4 year old's dollshouse but I am not sure about the right materials - guess I just need to take inspiration from this and jump in