Porcini caramel and chestnut

Porcini caramel and chestnut

Sticky Fingers Green Thumb
Tara Pearce, Tim Hillier

Velvety and rustic, this is an autumnal cake filled with foraged ingredients. With its creamy, butterscotch vibe complete with a whisper of mushroom, the porcini caramel is one of my favourite surprises, while the chestnut flour gives the cake a nutty, fudgy texture. The cake’s flavours seem to deepen when eaten a day later – try topping it with juicy figs and a spray of field flowers.


Quantity Ingredient
200g unsalted butter
440g sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
250g sour cream
250ml mushroom cream, (see below)
300g plain (all-purpose) flour
90g chestnut flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1 teaspoon salt
figs, to serve

Mushroom Cream

Quantity Ingredient
10g dried porcini mushrooms
625ml thick (double/heavy) cream

Porcini Caramel

Quantity Ingredient
110g sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
60ml water
185ml mushroom cream, (see above)


  1. To make the mushroom cream, add the porcini mushrooms and cream to a saucepan and bring to a gentle, frothy boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, until slightly reduced and deeply fragrant. Strain into a container, pressing down gently on the porcini with a fork to extract the last of the liquid. Discard the porcini.
  2. For the porcini caramel, carefully stir the sugar, corn syrup and water together in a small, high-sided saucepan set over a medium–high heat. Using a sugar thermometer to check, bring the mixture to a temperature of 180°C , then remove from the heat and leave to rest for 1 minute. Using a metal whisk, slowly stir 185 ml of the mushroom cream into the hot syrup mixture (the remainder will be used in the cake so don’t throw it away or drink it) for 2–3 minutes until the caramel settles. Set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly grease and line a 22 cm square cake tin with baking paper.
  4. Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla together in a large bowl for 10 minutes until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, followed by the sour cream and 250 ml of the mushroom cream. Fold in the flours and the other dry ingredients and mix together gently to combine.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  6. Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool slightly in the tin for 5 minutes, then carefully turn out onto a wire rack. While still warm, smother the cake in the porcini caramel and leave to set before serving.

Mushrooms love coffee

  • Oyster mushrooms are among the easiest variety to grow at home. This isn’t something I’ve tried myself, but one technique is to nestle mushroom spawn (easily sourced online) into a bag of used coffee grounds. Sealed and placed in a warm pocket of your home (the internet suggests under your bed!) you’ll have the buds of mushy friends in around three weeks. You try it first.
edible flowers
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