This Nigel Slater chocolate and chestnut terrine  is a seriously rich recipe to be enjoyed in thin slices, perfect as a decadent Easter treat, with chestnuts just coming into season. You will get a good 8 to 10 portions from the cake. This cake is very similar to one that we make at Wickedfood Cooking School in our chocolate cooking class. Chestnut purée is available from specialist delicatessens.


250g butter
225g golden caster sugar
225g self-raising flour
2t baking powder
30g cocoa powder
4 eggs
80ml milk
3T hot espresso coffee

Chestnut and chocolate filling

250g dark chocolate (79 per cent cocoa solids)
125g butter
400g chestnut purée
2T caster sugar

To finish

10–12 cooked or candied chestnuts
250g dark chocolate


  • You will need a 20cm sq cake tin lined with baking parchment, and a 20 x 9cm loaf tin or similar for shaping the cake (measurements are taken across the bottom of the tins).
  • Set the oven at 160°C. Cut the butter into small pieces and put into a food mixer with the caster sugar. Beat until light and fluffy.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder (don’t miss this step; it is really important that the dry ingredients are well mixed).
  • Crack the eggs into a small bowl, beat them briefly to mix, then stir in the milk.
  • Introduce the flour mixture and the eggs and milk to the butter and sugar, adding a little of each at a time, with the mixer going constantly till you have a smooth mixture. Finally mix in the coffee.
  • Spoon the mixture into the lined square cake tin and smooth the top, then bake for 45-50 minutes, until risen and firm to the touch. Test with a metal skewer. If it comes out moist but clean, without any raw cake mixture stuck to it, then it is ready. Remove from the oven, leave to settle for 15 minutes, then

    run a palette knife around the edges and gently turn out on to a cooling rack. Peel off the baking parchment.

Chestnut and chocolate filling

  • Break the chocolate into small pieces and melt it in a glass or china bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Do not stir, other than to push any unmelted chocolate down into the liquid chocolate. Turn the heat off as soon as the chocolate has melted.
  • Cut the butter into small pieces and stir it gently into the chocolate until it has melted.
  • Beat the chestnut purée with the sugar until well mixed, then fold gently into the melted chocolate and butter. Try not to over-mix. Set aside.
  • Cut the cake in half to make two long pieces. Slice each half in two horizontally and trim to fit the loaf tin. Place a piece of cake in the base of the tin, add half the chocolate chestnut cream and smooth the top. Place a second piece of sponge on top, followed by the rest of the chestnut cream.
  • Place a third and final piece of cake on top. (You will be left with one remaining piece, which I suggest you freeze for later or nibble at will.)
  • Wrap the entire loaf tin in clingfilm, pressing down firmly to encourage the layers to stick together. Refrigerate for at least two hours.

To finish

  • Remove the clingfilm, loosen the cake from the sides of the tin and turn it out on to a wire rack. Place the chestnuts along the top.
  • Melt the chocolate as before, then pour it over the top of the cake, smoothing it over the sides. Leave to set before serving, sprinkled with cocoa powder if desired.

Makes 10 slices

Wickedfood Cooking School

Sunninghill – (011) 234-3252

Runs cooking classes throughout the year at its purpose-built cooking studios. Classes are run in the mornings and evenings 7 days a week (subject to a minimum of 12 people). The venue is also popular for corporate events and private functions – team building cooking classes, birthdays, kitchen teas, and dinner parties with a difference.

Our classes are hands-on, where every person gets to participate in the preparation of the dishes. They are also a lot of fun where you not only learn new skills, but get to meet people with similar interests. For corporate groups and teambuilding cooking classes these events are a novel way of creating staff interaction or entertaining clients.