The Castagnaccio is a simple and delicious dessert of the Tuscan tradition. The main ingredients of this chestnut cake recipe are water and chestnut flour. It is a typical dish of autumn in Tuscany. Its rural origins date back to the past, when was a poor dish widespread in the mountainous areas of the Apennines, rich in chestnuts.

A bit of history of this chestnut cake recipe called Castagnaccio

Chestnuts were the staple food for Tuscan peasants and in the nineteenth century, the Castagnaccio spread to the whole of Italy. After the Second World War, poor cuisine dishes such as Castagnaccio lost their importance due to the improvement of the condition for life and to a more refined cuisine. Recently it has been revalued and you can find it in many local festivals and Sagre.

The chestnut cake recipe is traditional in Liguria, Piedmont, and Emilia Romagna too. According to what written by Ortensio Lando (1553) in the “Commentario delle più notabili et mostruose cose d’Italia e di altri luoghi“, the creator of the first Castagnaccio seems to be someone called Pilade from Lucca.

Castagnaccio ingredients Tuscany
Ingredients of the chestnut cake recipe

The Chestnut cake recipe

Castagnaccio reminds me of my youth. During the fall season, my family and I used to spend the weekend at our countryside house, set in the middle of the chestnut forest. Castagnaccio was my favorite dessert prepared by my grandmother.

This chestnut cake recipe I propose to you comes from my mum. It is very easy to make and the result is absolutely mouthwatering. Nowadays, someone (also my mum) use to add dried fruits and nuts to the original recipe, so to give Castagnaccio a more intense taste.

The chestnut cake is also cheap and nutritious. Two special qualities that never hurt. Pine nuts are rich in protein, calcium, and vitamin A. And you do not need to add any sugar because you find it in the chestnut flour and raisins.

A legend about Castagnaccio

A romantic legend says that rosemary used to perfume the Castagnaccio is a powerful love elixir. Eating the cake you should fall in love with the person who prepared it asking him/her to marry you.

What are you waiting for? Don’t waste time and prepare the Castagnaccio following this recipe.

Castagnaccio, the chestnut cake recipe

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time1 hour 10 minutes
Course: Desserts, Fall Recipes, Snack, Street Food
Cuisine: Lucca, Maremma and West Monte Amiata, Mugello, Serchio Valley and Garfagnana, Tuscan recipes, Valdichiana and Crete Senesi
Servings: 6 people
Author: Nicola Bandini


  • 3 cups chestnut flour
  • 10 walnut kernels minced
  • 2 cups pine nuts
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 twigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 pinch sea salt


  • Pre-heat the oven to 180° C (356° F) and soak raisins in warm water for about 10/20 minutes.
  • Sift the chestnut flour in a bowl and add a pinch of sea salt.
  • Add the water and mix slowly with a whisk. Add a tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and keep whisking.
  • Put a baking sheet into the baking tray and grease it with oil.
  • Add a fistful of raisins (previously squeezed), pine nuts and walnut kernels, and mix.
  • Pour the dough in the baking tray and flatten it. Add the remaining walnuts, pine nuts and raisins and the two rosemary twigs. Sprinkle with a bit of extra virgin olive oil the surface of the dough.
  • Bake for about 25/30 minutes until you see small cracks on the surface and till it gets a chocolate brown colour.
  • Cut in slices and serve.


There are some variation you can make at the original recipe: for example cutting small pieces of apple into the dough, using milk instead of water or half water and half milk.
It can be served as dessert with ricotta cheese and paired with Novello wine or a sweet wine.

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