Traditional Portuguese Chestnut Cake


Today, we have one of my favorite cake recipes of all time!!! Uh bold claim hehehe, it’s a very traditional Portuguese Chestnut Cake, also known as “Bolo de Castanha”, is a popular cake and dessert that is often associated with the “São Martinho” celebrations in Portugal. The cake is typically made with chestnuts, sugar, eggs, and butter, and it has a dense and slightly nutty flavor.

The “São Martinho” celebrations in Portugal take place in November and are a time to celebrate the autumn harvest, particularly the harvest of grapes and chestnuts. One of the traditional foods associated with these celebrations is roasted chestnuts, which are often sold on street corners and at outdoor markets.

So It’s pretty common to have sweets for this of the year, normally cookies and different sweets made with chestnuts, this cake in particular is really super yummy, if you love chestnuts you will love this cake, it’s moist, crumbly with an intense rustic flavor of chestnuts, it will warm your heart and tummy ;D Lets check the recipe!

Traditional Portuguese Chestnut Cake

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Normal
  • Rating: ★★★★★
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This typical chestnut cake from Portugal is usually served dusted with powdered sugar, and it can be a delicious and comforting dessert to enjoy during the colder months of the year.


  • Chestnuts – 500gr
  • Fennel – A pinch
  • Butter – 100gr
  • Baking Powder – 2 teaspoons
  • Brown Sugar – 250g
  • Eggs – 5 (Separated)
  • Butter – Just enough
  • Flour – Just enough
  • Powdered Sugar – To sprinkle (Optional)
  • Almonds – In slices to sprinkle (Optional)
  • Salt – A pinch


  1. Start by boiling the chestnuts in a pot with plenty of water, if they have shells then you have to peel them, or you bought frozen peeled chestnuts you don’t need to peel hehehe, add some fennel and cook until tender, you can see when they are tender by tasting or piercing with a knife, if it enters the chestnut easily then they are cooked.
  2. Drain the boiled chestnuts and grind everything, it doesn’t need to be super fine, just enough, so you don’t have big chunks (you can see it in the picture) leave it aside to cool down completely, you can do this the day before.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180ºC and prepare a circular baking pan lined on the bottom with non-stick paper, greased with butter and dusted with flour.
  4. In a large bowl, add the sugar with the butter and whisk well until everything is creamy.
  5. Separate the egg whites from the egg yolks, add the egg yolks to the batter and whisk some more.
  6. Now add the ground chestnuts with the baking powder and a pinch of salt, and mix everything well.
  7. Finally, whisk the egg whites until stiff and then add them to the cake batter. Be careful not to whisk them so as not to take the air out of the batter, you want to fold it gently, just enough for everything to be mixed.
  8. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and sprinkle with sliced almonds and bring it to the oven to bake, it should take about 35 minutes or less, this cake bakes fast, to make sure it’s baked, poke in the middle of the cake with a toothpick, if the toothpick comes out dry then it’s baked.
  9. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool a little, before serving, you can serve it plain or with a pinch of powdered sugar, enjoy and happy St. Martin’s day! ;D
Notes: You can use the exact same recipe to make chestnut cupcakes, I tried it, just make sure you keep an eye on the oven, because they will bake fast.

This recipe for Traditional Portuguese Chestnut Cake was originally created on
Esta receita de Bolo Tradicional de Castanhas
foi publicada em português no


Per Serving: 277 calories; 12 g fat; 39 g carbohydrates; 3.7 g protein.

Did you try this recipe?

Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below ;D


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