Chestnut Flour in a Savory Cake — Farine de châtaigne pour cake salé

Chestnut and Crab Cake with
Smoked Salmon and Horseradish Cream

Chestnut and Crab Cake

The movie looked promising despite the bad critics it had so far received. We opened my MacBook to watch the preview of Breaking and Entering in which Juliette Binoche played along with Jude Law. The story seemed good. IMDB talked about “a landscape architect’s dealings with a young thief causing him to re-evaluate his life” to describe the plot, motivating us to go to see the movie. Yet we hesitated, as we sometimes do for no particular reason but the sake to hesitate. Within a few minutes, we changed our mind and decided to stay home, both preferring a cozy night in. In fact, I was happy to cook us something nice for dinner. During most of the day on this past Sunday, we had both been feeling in a snuggly mood. The run I took in the morning to the nearby park had really been the extent of my time spent outside. I did not even have the weather as the excuse. It had been gorgeously sunny. We simply felt homey.

Since the initial plan was actually to attend a friend’s birthday party who happened to be sick, I had not really planned dinner. No choice, my improvisational skills had to come into play. By 6:30 pm, I went downstairs to look at the fridge situation. I fumbled around, from one cabinet to another and a few minutes later, still not exactly knowing how this actually happened, I was left with a bag of chestnut flour in my hands. I looked at it and started to scan ideas in my head. I had almost forgotten about this flour bought at the store a few months back.

I have a fairly large collection of varieties of flour, between spelt, buckwheat, whole grain, chickpea to name a few. Buying chestnut flour, however, was a first time. I initially thought that I would use it in a sweet cake, but following what seemed to have been the tone of our day, I changed my mind. Instead, I thought to prepare something savory to complement dinner. I was going to make un cake salé.

You might be surprised by this but the French language borrows English words, pronounced in the French way — you would be expected to laugh here if you were to hear some of these French Englished words because of the distorted pronunciation. These words, however, do not bear the meaning of the original English word. The word cake is one of these words. In French, un cake is commonly used although it does not mean a cake per se. Instead, it is a particular type of cake. Are you still with me? Un cake is in fact a fruit cake. From initially referring to a sweet food, the word however has stretched to other uses. Un cake salé (savory cake) follows the same idea but in place of the fruit, savory fillings are added: cheese, vegetables, meat, fish are a few possible choices.

With the bag of chestnut flour in my hands, I scanned my fridge and found a box of fresh crab purchased for another experiment, I had fresh herbs, pine nuts, scallions and a Coeur du Berry, an excellent heart-shaped goat cheese (Valentine’s day already playing tricks). I had in mind to make a savory cake that would be eaten as finger food, to go along with the leftover of vegetable soup made the day before, and to be used as the basis of sandwiches for our lunch the next day. Organizational thinking, you hear it well! It seemed perfect and it was. The best ideas always seem to come when you expect them the least. The cake turned out excellent, and as planned, I used it for sandwiches the days that followed: sliced, sandwiched with horseradish cream and smoked salmon, bringing an air of Scandinavia in our plate.

And so, what about the movie? The food needs covered, we thought of revisiting the idea and considered seeing it before it would no longer be playing locally. Worst case, wait until it shows up on Netflix. Staying cozily in.

Chestnut, Crab and Goat Cheese Savory Cake

Ingredients :

  • 3 eggs
  • 3.5 oz all-purpose flour
  • 2 3/4 oz chestnut flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp chives, chopped
  • 3.5 oz crab meat
  • 2 oz pine nuts
  • 2 oz fresh goat cheese (Coeur du Berry)
  • 1/2 cup minus 1 Tbsp buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup minus 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  • Preheat your oven at 350 F.
  • Mix the two flours together in a bowl.
  • Add the baking powder.
  • Make a hole in the middle and break the eggs. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
  • Pour the olive oil while mixing and when everything is absorbed, add the buttermilk. Mix until your batter is homogeneous. It should be thick.
  • Crumble the cheese.
  • Add the herbs, scallions, crab, pine nuts and cheese to the batter. Mix delicately to combine all ingredients.
  • Place in a greased rectangular cake mold (or lined with parchment paper) and cook for about 45 to 50 mns.
  • Check whether the cake is cooked by inserting the blade of a knife in it (it should come out clean) and let completely cool before unmolding. The cake is fragile.

Le coin français
Cake à la farine de châtaigne, au crabe et au fromage de chèvre

Ingrédients :

  • 3 oeufs
  • 100 g de farine blanche
  • 80 g de farine de châtaigne
  • 1 sachet de levure chimique
  • 2 oignons tige, hachés
  • 3 càs de persil haché
  • 1 càs de ciboulette hachée
  • 100 g de chair de crabe
  • 60 g de pignons de pin
  • 60 g de fromage de chèvre (Coeur du Berry)
  • 10 cl de lait fermenté (lait ribot)
  • 10 cl d’huile d’olive
  • Sel et poivre

Étapes :

  • Préchauffez le four à 180 C.
  • Mélangez les 2 farines dans un saladier.
  • Ajoutez la levure chimique.
  • Faites un puits au milieu et cassez les oeufs, un à un. Mélangez bien.
  • Ajoutez ensuite l’huile d’olive, mélangez bien avec une cuiller en bois avant d’ajouter le lait fermenté. Vous obtenez une pâte épaisse.
  • Émiettez le fromage.
  • Ajoutez les herbes, les oignons, le crabe, les pignons de pin et le fromage.
  • Répartissez dans un moule à cake bien beurré (ou recouvert de papier sulfurisé) et enfournez pendant 45 à 50 mns. Vérifiez la cuisson en enfonçant la lame d’un couteau dans le cake (elle doit en ressortir sèche).
  • Sortez du four et laissez refroidir avant de démouler. Le cake est fragile.
Posted in Appetizers, Bread, Cakes, Fish, French Inspired


  1. Bonjour Bea, pour le lait fermenté, est ce que on peut utiliser le lait ribot?
    Merci pour la recette!

  2. oups avec la farine de chataignes le danger c’est qu’une fois essaye toujours toujours adore et adopte…une vraie addiction

  3. Ils devaient être très savoureux tes petits cakes!

    J’entends parler de la farine de châtaigne de plus en plus sur les blogs, mais je ne l’ai jamais essayée. Le commentaire de Veronica m’encourage à m’y mettre aussi! Au risque d’y devenir addict.

    Nice molds 😉

  4. je suis déjà totalement conquise par les cakes à la farine de châtaigne, mais ce qui m’interpelle ici, c’est l’association terre (chèvre) et mer (crabe) celle ci, il faut que j’essaie, très vite!

  5. Relly,

    Lait ribot est un autre nom pour lait fermenté.

    Veronica, tu as bien raison! J’adore cela, et j’y ai touché il n’y a pas si longtemps.

    Ninnie, oui, délicieux, surtout aussi avec le saumon et la crème au raifort, et une salade de mâche. Oui pas mal les moules, n’est-ce pas ? 😉

    Alhya, ah oui, vas-y! Merci!

  6. Hello, I just dropped by your blog recently and I’m loving it. You probably would have heard this a milllion times but, I have to say, the photographs are just amazing!! I’ll be back!

  7. I’m always on the look out for new recipes with farina di castagne and this sounds and looks great Bea!

  8. Hear, hear! It’s true, the best ideas do seem to come when you least expect them. I’d seen chestnut flour at the store, but had no idea what to do with it, so thanks for this creative and delicious recipe.

  9. This indeed is an interesting dish. I have never tasted savory cake before nor use chestnut flour. You are full of unique ideas , Bea!

  10. Bea, this looks divine. I was reading in awe. I had bought some chesnut flower some time back but it ended up at the back of the cuboard for too long and it ended up reaching it expired date before I had a chance to give it a go. Might need to pop to the little italian deli in London to grab another bag. May I ask if a different flavour actually comes out or is it more the texture?

  11. pour l’instant je n’ai testé la farine de chataigne que dans des recettes sucrées, je sens que ce cake me dévoile d’autres horizons 🙂 merci !

  12. first, your blog is incredible, your recipes too…just a question, I can hardly understand the “purpose” of scallions, which are listed in the ingredients but disappeared in the preparation steps….may i leave them aside? sorry for my bad english…but I am italian..;-)

  13. Swee, thank you!

    Ilva, oh nice. I am glad to give you more ideas!

    Lisa, ah yes, very true indeed. I think once you try this flour, you will love it. I am totally converted already.

    Veron, thank you!

    Kat, thanks.

    Fabienne, ah oui moi comme toi, j’adore ce lait.

    Susan, yes the buttermilk definitely is a great addition in this cake. Makes me think about Irish brown bread a little.

    Peabody, thank you.

    Valentina, oh yes I hear you. I did the same thing with some cookies I had. I had no idea that flours could expire as a matter of fact. The texture is definitely different and the taste, I shall say a little sweet and nutty.

    Christine, thank you. Glad you like them. The light is actually natural day light.

    Yoyo, thank you.

    Trig, thanks a lot. To answer one of your previous questions btw, I take the photographs.

    Tarzile, merci bien. C”est bien si je te donne faim. C;est une bonne maladie, comme dirait ma mère.

    Sylvie, merci.

    Marion, tu vas peut-être devenir accro comme moi!

    Ellen, oh thank you! Corrected! I missed it indeed.

    Rowena, good! 😉

  14. Le coeur de Berry, un fromage que j’adore et qui vient encore de chez moi tiens 😉 Je m’apperçois de plus en plus que ma région s’exporte, par les vins, les fromages et je m’en félicite 😉 Très belle recette, bravo !

  15. Interesting and delicious sounding! I’d love a piece of this:) A savory cake…yummy! I know what you mean by “organizational thinking”…I find myself doing this unconsciously as well!

  16. Hi Bea,

    I remember bumping into you at Whole Foods when you bought that chestnut flour 🙂 Wow — what a great idea. I’ve never tried making a savory cake, but now that I think about it, corn bread must be kind of like a savory cake. I love the idea of doing it with chestnut flour. I’ll have to give this a shot.


  17. C’est un mélange extra chèvre chataigne. J’en fais des petits biscuits pour l’apéritif car inconditionnelle je suis et je resterai. La châtaigne c’est ma prédilection !!

  18. Bea,
    What a wonderful idea to pair crab meat with goat cheese!!! I actually tried this recipe and liked it. Only one observation: for ingredients you call for 3 eggs and then at step 4 you say “break the 2 eggs”. I used 3 eggs and did not have any problems.

  19. Thanks Roxana, I am glad you liked it. I will fix the mistake. Thanks again!

  20. Pingback: A Cinnamon Nutty Apple Cake — Gâteau aux pommes, à la cannelle et aux noix by La Tartine Gourmande

  21. I would love to know how you made the horseradish cream! I am thinking of making these for a bridal shower as an appetizer because they are so unusual and elegant. Thank you and I just found your site and have marked it in my favorites.

  22. Carolyn,

    You can buy horseradih fresh or already marinated in a jar. Simply combine to whipped cream, or goat cheese combined to cream.

  23. I really love goat cheese desserts, their are awesome. If I have guests, I just make goat cheese deserts and they love it. Are there any other good uses for goat cheese?

  24. Very sexy cakes, yum! I wonder if they can be frozen… I like to keep some goodies in the freezer for emergencies! 🙂

  25. PS: I wonder if I can use almond flour instead. Chestnut flour is not easily found where I live.