I have been wanting to make this cake since last winter. I couldn’t find any chestnut paste in Michigan and when I finally got some from my mom’s store, it seemed too rich and wintry to make in April. My sister loves chestnuts and hedgehogs I made it for her birthday last week. The recipe for this “Hedgehog Cake” came from Simply Sensational Desserts by Francois Payard, you might recall a lime tart I made a while back- also from this wonderful book.
I started by making the cake, a chocolate sponge. I baked it in on of my favorite pans, my mom’s all-clad jelly roll pan.
While the cake was baking, I made the chestnut ganache! I chopped up a bunch of bittersweet chocolate and poured boiling cream on top and whisked away. When that was smooth, I added some chestnut puree and whisked some more. I cooled it in the fridge for about 45 minutes, stirring it occasionally.
By this time, the cake had cooled and everything was ready to be assembled. I used some bowls to trace around and cut out the layers. I lined a bowl with some saran wrap and spread a generous layer of the ganache evenly across it.
I placed the smallest of the three cake rounds in the bottom and smeared on some more ganache. Then more cake, more ganache, and a big dollop of whipped cream. I topped it off with the last of the cake rounds and sealed it with some ganache. I put it in the freezer over night so that it would hold its shape.
In the morning, I filled the sink with hot water and set the bowl in it long enough that the cake would unmold.I turned it out onto a cake plate and with the back of a spoon spread the spiked the rest of the ganache on it to resemble spines. (I think this step would have been a little better if I had let the ganache warm up a bit more.) I decided to leave it headless. I thought that it would be too disturbing to have to cut off the head of a hedgehog. Eeek. I dusted it with cocoa powder.