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

This took my breath away. Will have to look for verbrena at the gardeners. Does it spread. Im still finding traces of mint 15 years later in my garden.
Happy Easter.


It’s a perennial so you don’t have to worry about spreading. Mine gets to be about 3-4 ft tall in a large pot I keep on our kitchen terrace. I mentioned up thread that I pulverize the leaves with the appropriate amount of sugar and freeze in baggies. Everyone in my family loves it. I frequently bake half in a round tube pan.

Perfection, as usual!


Thank you, Aubergine, she says blushing😂!

Addendum for anyone interested in making the Lemon Verbena Cake. The suggested amount of fruit ( peaches) is 1 1/4 cups, I used the same amount of raspberries but did not fold them into the batter. Instead, I put in a 3/4~1 inch layer of batter on the bottom of the pan and then placed ithe raspberries in three layers avoiding the outside edges and the center tube. As the batter is relatively thick, they stayed suspended and didn’t migrate to the bottom of the pan. Unfortunately, didn’t get the opportunity to get an interior photo, but the raspberries stayed well distributed.


I’ve always wondered about that, but one that really stumped me was a recipe that specified 1/2 can of marzipan. I did some googling, to no avail, so just took a stab at it and it worked okay.

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Time to nominate our next book!

New reporting thread:

GATEAU a la CARDAMOME (Cardamom Cake), page 44

I’ve had this book on hold at the library for months and it finally arrived. I had some extra heavy cream that I needed to use up and EYB brought me to this recipe where one reviewer described it as ”dreamy”. I couldn’t resist.

This cake is excellent and so easy. It is lighter than a yogurt cake. This is definitely a keeper.

  1. Beat 2 eggs with 190g sugar until pale.
  2. Whisk 1 1/2 tsp freshly ground cardamom, 1 1/4 tsp baking powder, pinch of salt, and 150g AP flour in a separate bowl.
  3. With a spatula, alternately add dry ingredients and 1 cup heavy cream to sugar/egg mix
  4. Bake at 350 in loaf pan for 50 minutes.

I love the cardamom cake from the Parsi cookbook. Have you made that, and if so how does this compare? You certainly make it sound wonderful!

Yes, sounds delicious.

The recent Cardamom Cake I made (My Bombay Kitchen) and gave most of it to my friend and his family: he, his wife and 2 girls loved it. The two boys tasted it but didn’t like it, maybe it’s an acquired taste. Kids range from 13-23. (The boys love sweets, so …)

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Yes, that’s the book and cake I meant, thank you so much. I really love it, but I can see how for some kids it might be strong.

To me, it’s subtle, crunchy. Maybe they are just used to Hostess cupcakes, Krispy Kreme donuts.

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Yesterday i went to the gardener’s and behold there was this one tinny verbena lemon sitting just saying take me home. Hope it grows fast. Wow the lemon fragrance is so intense.


Lucky you! I looked for lemon verbena this spring after reading the discussion upthread - no luck. I have it on my list for next year.

The lemon verbena does grow rapidly. We planted ours a couple of weeks ago and it’s doubled in size. I made lemon verbena gelato last year with a cobbled together recipe, I will try again as the flavor was delicious. A sprig in lemonade is also good, dried leaves make delicious hot tea. Be sure to freeze some finely ground leaves with the sugar in appropriate sizes for cake.
Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

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Lemon verbena steeped a good while in simple syrup is also lovely in lemonade and cocktails, or just added to sparkling water.

I have some LV syrup in fridge as we speak. I also use it to “ baste” a cake prior to confectionery sugar.
So many uses for it!

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Like @MunchkinRedux, I also made the GATEAU AUX BAIES with the substitution of early season apricots for berries. I used cake flour and creme fraiche, and a mix of almond extract and vanilla extract. Sadly, I don’t have photos to document this, but the cake had a very tender crumb, is not too sweet, and we felt the tartness of the apricots balanced out the rest of the cake. I still have a preference for her yogurt/olive oil cakes but this is definitely a solid recipe.


GATEAU DE NANTES almond rum cake p. 94

Catching up on a month’s worth of baking today. I didn’t actually bake this one-- my teenager did, after asking what cake I’d like for my birthday. I’d earmarked this one earlier for us to try, and it was good but very potent. There is rum baked into the batter, a rum soaking syrup (also flavored with allspice and black peppercorns), and a traditional rum glaze.

This is the booziest cake ever. Seriously. I’ve had rum drinks with less rum in them. If you like rum, this can be a good thing. If not, definitely avoid. We ate very thin slices. The glaze hardened into a crackly surface on top after the top, which was a nice contrast to the substantial rum-soaked cake underneath. Apologies for the lack of photos.