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Tout de "Sweet": The Gâteau

Updated: Oct 11, 2023





Cake. What is it about the fluffy, cream-filled, layered confection that just makes everything feel like a proper celebration? From birthdays to weddings to even graduations -- a cake, no matter its shape or form, always seems to serve as the perfect bookend to a meal. People all over the world have their native versions: Britain has their Victoria Sponge; Latin America, their Tres Leches; Sweden, with their Princess. Each cake perfectly embodies its country's unique personality.


The French-style gâteau is no exception. Just like its highly-cultured citizens, a gâteau is simply more... sophisticated than just any cake, particularly with its lighter, sleeker iced topping compared to your typical buttercream frosting. Below are some of our favorite recipes with the gâteau as its main star.


 


TRADITIONAL GÂTEAU BASQUE CAKE BY BELÉN GOWLAND


A traditional recipe hailing from the French Basque region, it consists of simple ingredients which include black cherry jam and vanilla pastry cream (a version of this recipe containing only pastry cream is typically found in the Spanish region of Basque country). For this recipe, Belén Gowland of Belula prefers the Northern French version, favoring its inclusion of cherry marmalade and its slight hint of lemon.




GÂTEAU GRENOBLOIS (FRENCH WALNUT COFFEE CAKE) BY AUDREY LE GOFF


Originating from the French city of Grenoble, this Walnut Coffee cake combines the unique flavors of its ingredients with a simple icing to create a rustic, yet still very much rich cake. For her take on it, Audrey Le Goff of Pardon Your French tops hers with icing made from coffee and sugar -- resulting in the perfect comforting Autumn dessert.




GÂTEAU ST. HONORÉ BY JACQUELINE BELLEFONTAINE


One of the showstopping gâteaus on this list is none other than the St. Honoré. Named after the literal patron saint of pastry chefs and created by Auguste Julien, a chef presiding over the Chibouste Bakery on the Rue Saint-Honoré in Paris, the cake incorporates decadent ingredients: a ring of pâte à choux, puff pastry, profiteroles, and spun sugar. The result is a cake truly worthy of a Saint. Here, Jacqueline Bellefontaine of Only Crumbs Remain opted to use traditional crème Chibouste instead of a plain crème pâtissière, essentially recreating Julien's original creation.




GÂTEAU CONCORDE BY STEPHANIE HENRICKS


Created by famed chef Gaston Lenotre in 1969, the cake was meant to mark the launch of the groundbreaking Concorde plane, then considered to be a remarkable feat of engineering. According to Stephanie Henricks of The Dessert Spoon, the Gâteau Concorde consists of just "two simple elements" -- meringue and mousse, which might not seem like much, but taken together, the two make some mocha-flavored magic.



 

All images via Kristin Rosenau at Pastry Affair, Belén Gowland at Belula, Audrey Le Goff at Pardon Your French, Jacqueline Bellefontaine at Only Crumbs Remain and Stephanie Henricks at The Dessert Spoon.


Check out The French Workshop's selection of cakes here.

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