January–April 2023 Baking Cookbook of the Month: GATEAU: THE SURPRISING SIMPLICITY OF FRENCH CAKES

Lol. I was thinking that as I wrote it.

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@MunchkinRedux Thanks. I used a hand held mixer. It might be that the baking powder affects the rise— I started using Argo Baking powder a few years ago, and I think the rise on that is much better than other brands. You could also decrease the booze in the syrup and increase the orange juice— I did that for the neighbors’ cake, since I knew one of the main cake consumers is their three year old. For us, however, the booze is key.


@Nannybakes That combo sounds heavenly!

For sure add some chocolate to the cake if you get to make it again. I’m so pleased with the results of these relatively simple cakes that it’s hard to move forward in the book!

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@Nannybakes My thoughts exactly! I rarely bake the same cake 3x in such a short period. I have earmarked one of the rum cakes to try next, but the yogurt cake is so easy, and the results so consistent, and the neighbor keeps giving me oranges…

Well heck! That’s a good reason to continue. If you happen to grow lemon verbena in the summer, the verveine and peach cake is wonderful. I made it with raspberries as it was past peach season and have made it more than several times. I pulverized the lemon verbena and sugar and froze it in the appropriate weight packets so I could make it during the winter. It’s the first cake eaten when I bring it to a gathering along with other cakes I’ve made.

Argo is the best, the only one I use. Definitely a difference in the rising capabilities.

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Thanks for the rec— will certainly be on the lookout to add lemon verbena to the garden this spring. Great idea about pulverizing and freezing the packets.

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Berry cake. While I’ve liked everything I’ve made from this book thus far, this is hands-down my favorite to date.

I used cake flour, partially-frozen garden blueberries, and subbed sour cream for the crème fraiche. The only other change I made was with the second half of the berries, tossing them with about ¼ t. of the flour mixture, ½ t. sugar and ½ t. lemon juice before topping the cake. I made a half recipe utilizing a hand-mixer and a 7” springform pan.

DH agrees, this is a very good cake. Tender, light, gently lemony, not to sweet, with the berries prominently up front. Different enough from my usual Boy Bait or standard pantry cake to warrant a new blueberry cake recipe in my collection. Will look forward to trying this with other berries later this year when in season.


Wow, that looks delish!


Thank you - it is!

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This is, as she suggests in the headnote, essentially caprese salad in quick-bread form. Roasted cherry tomatoes are the only out-of-season fresh tomatoes I bother with, so I figured I’d brighten up my table on a chilly, storm-soaked day with this recipe.

My various minor deviations: I used just 2 tablespoons of olive oil to roast the tomatoes and garlic rather than 1/4 cup, and that was plenty to coat them and still yielded at least twice the tablespoon of post-roasting liquid you’re to add to the batter (I went ahead and added 2 tablespoons’ worth to no detriment). I used DC kosher salt rather than fine sea salt, and less than the equivalent amount called for in both the tomatoes and the batter. That was a good call because, even without salty add-ins, the batter tasted quite salty and the finished bread was well-salted but not oversalted. I used dried buttermilk powder and skipped the tablespoon of chives because I had none. I used fresh mozzarella packed in plastic, as recommended, and while I eyeballed rather than measuring the volume of cubed cheese, I’d say using the full 8 ounces or just a bit less works. I split the recipe between a 4-cup capacity loaf pan and two minis.

I served the larger loaf cooled almost to room temperature the day I baked it to accompany a more-seasonal cauliflower velouté, and the wrapped minis went into the fridge. I sliced part of one two days after baking and warmed the slices briefly, and the crumb was as soft and nice as when fresh. Over all, I like the flavor a lot, though I can’t detect the garlic or parmesan per se. I might increase the amount of tomatoes by a bit, and I’d definitely increase the basil.



A big orange cake. Only I baked a petite gateau, using a 1/3 recipe and baking in a 6 ½” springform pan.

This was so good. Fresh tasting and tender, but substantial. The orange flavor permeates but is not overwhelming. The two of us ate half the little cake with afternoon coffee, if that’s any indication.


That looks delicious! Such a nice fine crumb on the cake, picture perfect!


That looks delicious, love the crumb!

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Thank you, both! I was surprised at how fine the crumb came out. Another winner from this lovely book.


You guys have convinced me I need to buy the book! Beautiful cakes all around, and they sound delicious.


gâteau au sucre roux, au rhum et aux pépitez de chocolat(cake with brown sugar,rum and chocolate chips page 39
I approached this recipe with tribulation having failed twice at other recipes but it worked out great. In this cake the rum has a presence. There is 1/3 cup. The bundt was greased and dusted with cocoa which gives cake a dark outer look. A nice moist cake which isn’t sweet at all. I used greek yogourt.


It looks and sounds delicious!

Picture of slice