Many, many years ago when I first started blogging in 2009 (as Retromony), I wrote a post about a popular Japanese dessert called Mont Blanc or Monburan. You can read that post here to learn about what it is exactly but in a nutshell, Mon Blancs are light sponge cakes filled with fresh cream and topped with a fluffy, chestnut creme that is piped into thin strands on top to form the titular mountain. There’s usually a glacé chestnut on top to finish.
I had thought way back then that I’d like to make my own Mont Blanc and I finally decided to give it a crack nearly four years on. This is more a practice attempt so please watch this space and I’ll hopefully have the full dessert done some time, and preferably well before another four years!
My cupcake recipe for this post is based on the wonderful Jamie Oliver recipe which is pretty much the only one I use now for cupcakes. It’s simple and I can’t say I’ve made a bad batch from it. It’s also easy to adjust as needed (vegan, gluten free, sugar free etc.). As I’m currently eating gluten free, I used a gluten free flour mix that I bought from Coles. So far it’s been a pretty good blend and works well in many baking recipes.
For the chestnut topping, I decided to use a European chestnut puree. The colour of European chestnuts isn’t terribly pretty but I didn’t have a pack of Asian chestnuts (a decidedly more attractive yellow hue) on hand so these cupcakes aren’t the most vibrant things we’ve seen on this blog! I mixed the puree with whipped cream and sugar and suprised myself with how good it tasted. It actually tasted quite a bit like the Mont Blanc I had in Japan. I saved some of the puree for the cupcake itself which helped make it very moist.
My piping technique (or lack thereof) leaves a lot to be desired but I believe there is a special piping tool for Mont Blanc that I’ll try and find next month when I visit Tokyo. It’s a bit crazy looking but my chestnut mountain was pretty good to eat and made me quite nostalgic :)
- 50g of butter (I used a blend of Nuttlex and butter)
- 150g sugar (I used a ⅓ each of rapadura, agave and white)
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp chestnut puree (you can use cooked, mashed sweet potato or pumpkin, or omit entirely)
- 150g gluten free flour
- 125ml of buttermilk (regular milk is fine or other liquid)
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarb of soda
- 1 tbsp white vinegar (any unflavoured vinegar is fine - I used apple cider)
- Chestnut Creme
- ½ chestnut puree
- ½ whipped cream
- ¼ cup of icing sugar (or to preferred sweetness)
- Note - You can usually buy chestnut puree in a can from continental grocers.
- Preheat oven to 180C and prepare 12 cucpake patty pans in 12-hole tray.
- Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Mix in egg, salt, vanilla and chestnut puree.
- Mix in half the buttermilk and half the flour and baking powder. Once well combined, add the remaining buttermilk and flour and mix well again.
- Add vinegar to baking soda in small bowl and allow to bubble. Add the mixture to cupcake mix and combine. Divide mixture between the twelve patty pans.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cupcakes are ready when skewer comes out clean when pierced.
- Let cool and prepare chestnut creme in meantime by combining chestnut puree, whipped cream and sugar.
- Once cupcakes are cooled, top with chestnut creme, piped with a small piping bag or a plastic ziplock bag with small opening cut on the corner.
Gluten Free Chestnut Cupcake