Three Classic French Cake Recipes

These French cake recipes can be served during specific holidays or anytime you're looking to elevate an occasion. King Cake is a Mardi Gras standard, apple cake would fit right in at an American Thanksgiving and chestnut cake will warm you up during the holidays.

Traditional King Cake (Gâteau des Rois)
Ingredients You Will Need:
2 full eggs and 1 egg yolk
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
½ cup milk
¼ cup almond paste
¼ teaspoon almond extract
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon rum
¼ cup butter
2 packages thawed puff pastry sheets
Sprinkles in purple, green and gold (or icing in purple, green and gold)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix two eggs with sugar. Then, mix the cornstarch with the milk, and then add to the first mixture. Cook this mixture on low heat until it boils while consistently stirring. Allow mixture to thicken before removing from burner. Add the almond paste, almond extract, vanilla, rum and butter, and mix until blended.

Next, cut out two circles out of the pastry. Place one circle on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Layer edges with beaten yolk. Spread half of batter on the center of this circle, and then put the second circle on top. Spread the remaining batter on top of that. Smooth edges together, and smooth center of circle to level out the filling. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. During the last five minutes, dust with confectioners' sugar, and sprinkle it with purple, green and gold, the colors of Mardi Gras.

If you are baking a king cake for Mardi Gras, insert a small toy baby (one that is too big to swallow) in a slice as you cut the cake. Whoever gets the slice with the toy baby is responsible for hosting next year's Mardi Gras party.

Apple Cake (Gâteau aux Pommes)
Ingredients You Will Need:
2 cups flour, all-purpose
3 tablespoons almond flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
? teaspoon sea salt
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup butter, melted and cooled
3 medium-sized apples (cored, each apple cut into small pieces)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and layer a cake pan's bottom and sides with grease and flour. Mix flours, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Separately beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla and then mix with the sifted flour. Add butter, and stir in apples. Pour batter into pan, and bake for 45 minutes.

Chestnut Cake (Gâteau aux Marrons)
Ingredients You Will Need:
1 ½ cups flour, all-purpose
1 teaspoon chestnut flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 eggs
?" cup sugar
½ cup low fat milk
6 tablespoons butter, melted
¼ cup chopped almonds
¼ cup toasted and chopped hazelnuts

Preheat oven at 350 degrees, and layer a cake pan with grease and flour. Sift together the flours, and mix in the baking powder. Separate the eggs into two bowls. Beat yolks with sugar until foamy, and add the flour mix, milk and butter. Mix until smooth.

Take egg whites, and beat until stiff. Stir a third of this into the batter, mixing until fully blended, and fold in the rest. Pour batter into pan, top with nuts and bake for 25 minutes.

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Like anything you bake, learning how to make a cake is part art and part science. The first step is choosing what kind of cake you want to make and then using the best quality ingredients you can find and measuring them carefully. Be sure to follow the recipe's instructions for mixing and soon you may find that when you make a cake, you're not only creating something tasty, but expressing your own creativity through baking.

There might be only a few better things in life than savoring a piece of delicious crumb cake alongside a cup of hot tea or coffee. This recipe for a great crumb cake is quite simple and offers the baker a choice of crumb level in their final product.

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