Chestnut Cream & Poppy Seeds Cake

2017-04-20 - Louis-Philippe Véronneau

Hmmm, chestnuts. Who doesn't like them? Eating a cone of hot roasted chestnuts has to be one of my best memories of Europe. Buttery, savory, filling chestnuts.

Out of the multiple recipes my father does, he's always been very proud of his rolled chestnut cream cake. Even though I like it very much, this post is not about that recipe.

I've never been fond of super sweet stuff and sadly, my father's roulé falls in that category. Instead, let me blog about my take on a old recipe my great-aunt gave me a while ago. It originally comes from a recipe sheet they gave her way back when the general store she went to at Halles Saint-Jean in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu was still open. Anyway, you get the point, an old grocery's recipe.

I think what I really like from this recipe is actually the poppy seeds. It gives this cake a very pleasant mouthfeel.

As a matter of fact, I'm putting this here because I'm afraid to loose the sheet my great-aunt gave me and since she gave me the original, it's not getting any younger. That and friends asked me for it.



It's quite hard to describe accurately how much cake this recipe makes, so let me try a few things:

  • Last time I made it, the 9 people around the table all had a reasonable but not ostentatious piece
  • In my 14" x 7½" cast iron mold, it makes an 1½" thick cake
  • Total cake volume is 2.5 L

Sorry for the derp units, Canada still isn't using the SI system for cooking recipes -_-'. Anyway, here's the ingredients list:


  • 1 cup of milk (the fatter the better)
  • ½ a cup of poppy seeds
  • ¾ cup of salted butter
  • 1½ cup of white granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2⅓ cup of flour
  • 3 teaspoons of baking powder


  • 1 can (500ml) of chestnuts cream
  • ½ cup of salted butter
  • 3 tablespoon of maple syrup
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoon of some fragrant hard liquor

Baking steps


1 - Mix the milk and the poppy seeds together in a bowl. Reserve.

2 - Cream the butter and add in the sugar until fluffy. Realise how great plain white sugar and butter tastes.

3 - Add 4 egg yolks.

4 - Slowly add in the flour and baking powder. Make sure everything is well mixed.

5 - Add in the milk and poppy seeds mix.

6 - Whip the 4 egg whites until you can make solid peaks. Fold in the cake batter carefully. Eat some batter directly and appreciate it.

7 - Bake at 350°F for around 30 minutes. Time depends a lot on the size of your mold, so watch your cake. I like it slightly moist, but you can check that by putting a knife in the middle. I like baking in a cast iron mold since it creates a nice golden crust and does not stick.


The original recipe calls for splitting the batter in two, baking in round molds, adding the glazing in-between and glazing the whole thing afterwards.

This is both painful to make and adds little value in my opinion. I prefer to bake the cake in one single mold and let people add the glazing themselves as they like. This also has the advantage of giving people the liberty to deciding how sweet they want their cake. Your call.

1 - Cream the butter.

2 - Add everything else and whip the glazing until smooth and consistent.

Voilà! I forgot to take a nice picture of the cake, but here's a beautiful picture of a poppy field taken from Wikimedia.

Poppy Field