Roasted Chestnuts, Chocolate Cake and Expectations

Roasted Chestnuts and Chocolate Cake

Almost nothing goes the way we expect it to, which can sometimes be disappointing—like yesterday when I roasted some Italian Chestnuts from Trader Joe’s, anticipating the experience for the first time in my life so I could finally relate to the memorable lyric “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.” Because of course I envision rosy-cheeked carolers, bundled in Victorian-era scarves and coats, huddled around a hearth while the chestnuts roast, and then gorging themselves on the most delectable Christmas treat of the year.

Well that was far from reality! Did you know that after you crack open the outer hard shell there is a layer of grey fuzz? Yes. Super creepy and weird. Needless to say that was off-putting. But I was determined to have the experience so I rubbed the skin and fur off and revealed the pale yellow-white nut, which resembled a walnut with all of its nooks and crannies. It had been described on the internet as “creamy” and slightly sweet…I would like to propose an edit: mealy. Mealy and slightly sweet. Not good. So much for that bit of nostalgia.

But sometimes when something goes differently than we expect it can be a good thing—like this grain-free, refined-sugar-free, dairy-free chocolate cake I made for my 2-year-old son’s birthday. Seriously. Grain-free, refined-sugar-free, dairy-free and delicious. I didn’t honestly think this was possible for a chocolate cake…that is, if you actually want it to taste like chocolate cake. But oh my lanta, it does! (*Confession I just finished binge watching all the new episodes of Fuller House on Netflix so D.J.’s lingo kinda rubbed off on me)

Roasted Chestnuts, Chocolate Cake and Expectations
Sweet Laurel’s Chocolate Layer Cake

Speaking of expectations, if you expected that cake up there to be mine, I’m sorry to disappoint you—it is not. Same recipe, mind you, but hey, I don’t own a bakery like Laurel and Claire of Sweet Laurel. So mine looked like this:

Roasted Chestnuts, Chocolate Cake and Expectations

PRIMARILY because I do not have two 6-inch cake pans (who the heck has a cake pan that small???) so I poured all of the batter into one 8-inch cake pan. Next time I’ll just double the recipe so I can have a grand, layer cake. The ganache turned out as luscious as it looks in the first picture. It tasted so smooth and rich. The fact that it had no butter or powdered sugar in it was blowing my mind. I also didn’t end up adding the suggested 1/4 cup coconut milk to the ganache because I preferred a thicker frosting consistency.

P.S. The other 5 candles that spelled “HAPPY” broke upon opening….good thing my 2-year-old can’t read.

Roasted Chestnuts, Chocolate Cake and Expectations
Sweet Laurel’s Chocolate Layer Cake

Everybody loved the cake, including my gluten-free family members. And I loved it…which is saying something…because when it comes to dessert, I don’t compromise. If it isn’t yummy, I don’t care how healthy it is.

So not everything goes as we expect it to, but the good news is there is a trade-off…sometimes it is a major bummer and sometimes it is a sweet, chocolatey surprise. 🙂

*Note: The last paragraph of the recipe, as written on references a “caramel layer.” For the sake of avoiding confusion, disregard. There is no caramel layer in the recipe.

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  1. This is true ! The cake was moist and delicious, thanks for sharing with us and no I wouldn’t like to try the chestnuts, TY

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