This super delicious Italian dessert is a panforte made with chestnut flour. It’s rich, it’s heavy but so so tasty! And very easy to make! It’s basically an Italian fruit cake recipe and the best panforte I’ve had so far! Perfect for winter cakes.

panforte with chestnut flour

Panforte with chestnut flour

I made a panforte a while ago without the chestnut flour and with less oranges. This is by far my favorite version. It is so good. The oranges really sing in this recipe and the chestnut flour makes it a bit firmer. Due to the use of chestnut flour this is naturally gluten free, lactose free and paleo proof. Chestnut flour is quite a sweet flour with a distinct flavor. A perfect flour to use during the holiday season.

What do you need to make this Italian delicacy

The base of the panforte is dried fruit. You can use a combination of fruits you like but I used dates, raisins, cranberries and apricots. I loved the combination of these but you can also add dried figs if you want. In addition to that there are a lot of nuts in there  as well. I used a nut mixture. Not roasted and unsalted. Then you need dark chocolate and cocoa powder. Coconut oil and honey. Coconut sugar or regular white sugar and about 100 grams chestnut flour. Make sure you use sifted chestnut flour as it has the tendency to clump together. You want to avoid that happening.

Panforte with chestnut flour

How to make the panforte with chestnut flour

Making the panforte could not be easier. You add the nuts and the dried fruit to the bowl of a food processor. Chop it up to smaller pieces. Don’t let it turn for too long. It’s ok to have chunk of nuts and fruit in there. If you do not own a food processor, you can also do this by hand with a sharp knife.

Take a springform pan and cover that with parchment paper. That should make you be able to turn it out easily. Rub the sides with a little bit of olive oil.

Place the nuts and fruits into a large bowl and add the sifted chestnut flour. Add a gingerbread spice mixture (optional) and the zest of 2 oranges. 

Now you need to melt the chocolate chips and the coconut oil together in a double boiler. As soon as that is melted add to the nut mixture and add a bit of orange juice as well. Using a spoon mix it all together. it will be very clumpy but once turned out into the prepared pan you can use a spoon to press it into the form. The back of a glass usually works well too.

panforte with chestnut flour

Now place in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until the top feels firm to the touch. I would say until golden brown but since it is already pretty dark, that will be difficult to see! Let it cool down before you take it out of the spring form pan and let it cool down completely on a wire rack.

Additions and variations

Now you can leave out the chestnut flour if you want. I thought the addition was quite lovely and gave it a bit of different texture to the one I made previously without the chestnut flour. You could add pine nuts too as that seems to be traditional. I would definitely not make this with wheat flour. I don’t know what will happen if you do but I think the end result will be totally different. The ingredients itself are all very dry ingredients so the only liquid you add is the orange juice and the coconut oil and melted chocolate. I have also seen versions where cocoa powder is added. That might enhance the chocolate flavor a bit but I didn’t think it needed that. 

Other optional ingredients would be some lemon peel or candied orange peel. 

For serving the panforte with chestnut flour you need much. Make sure to slice it into small pieces as it is a heavy dessert. Delicious but heavy! A little bit served with coffee is perfect or add some fresh fruit and whipping cream for serving it after dinner. It’s also delicious with a glass of red wine! Or a dessert wine would probably pair well too.

it’s a delicious cake and can be made in a regular cake tin as well. If you do, also make sure to let it cool down and use parchment paper on the bottom and sides of the cake pan so you can lift it out easily.

panforte with chestnut flour

Panforte with chestnut flour

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GangCake and cookies

√Italian classic √gluten free √lactose free √filled with dark chocolate √panforte with chestnut flour √delicious orange flavor
Decorative clock showing preparation time
Cooking time 45 minutes
Total time 45 minutes

12 people


  • 400 g dried fruit dates, raisins, cranberries and apricots
  • 200 grams mixed nuts unroasted
  • 100 g dark chocolate
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 100 g coconut oil
  • 180 ml honey
  • 130 g coconut sugar
  • 100 g chestnut flour
  • Grated zest of 2 oranges
  • 50 ml orange juice

  • Put the fruit with the nuts in the food processor and chop everything a little smaller. It doesn’t have to be super small. You can also chop with a knife.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 170˚C.
  • Line the bottom of a 22cm springform pan with baking paper and brush the sides with a little oil.
  • Place the nuts and dried fruit in a large bowl. Sift the chestnut flour over them (do not skip this step as chestnut flour clots quickly!)
  • Add the cookie spices and grate the oranges on top.
  • Take a heatproof bowl and add the chocolate pieces along with the coconut oil. Heat in a double boiler until melted.
  • Set aside for a moment.
  • Combine the honey and coconut sugar in a small saucepan. Heat until the sugar is completely melted.
  • Pour in your nut and fruit mixture, add the melted chocolate and a little orange juice. Stir well with a spoon and pour into the prepared springform pan.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until the top feels firm.
  • Allow to cool completely in the pan before removing.
  • This is a hearty and rich dessert. So cut it into small pieces!

Nutrition Information per portion

Calories: 435kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.003g | Cholesterol: 0.3mg | Sodium: 173mg | Potassium: 406mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 45g | Vitamin A: 23IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 155mg | Iron: 3mg


The nutritional values above are calculated per portion. The details are based on standard nutritional tables and do not constitute a professional nutritional advice.

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Simone van den Berg

Food blogger from the Netherlands. Loves good food. Likes to create healthy and easy recipes for daily use, but also loves the occasional sweet dish. Lives in the Netherlands with her two cats; Humphrey and Buffy. Profession: Food photographer, food blogger, recipe developer and nutritionist