Gâteau Nantais

December 5, 2016

Author Notes: During the 18th century, merchant ships returning from the Caribbean kept the bustling port city of Nantes in constant supply of vanilla, cane sugar and dark rum. Local bakers had first dibs on the exotic goods before they filtered into the rest of the country, which may be why their namesake cake is so generously doused in booze. Though the Gateau Nantais is quite good the day it’s made, let it sit for at least one day to allow the liquor to thoroughly soak the crumb. The thin blanket of royal icing will help seal in the moisture and your patience will be rewarded with one of the more tender cakes France has to offer.

For more history on the cake: http://bit.ly/2h8PyDt
Andrea Bearce Duty

Makes: 1 9-inch cake


  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup dark rum
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
In This Recipe


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C. Butter the inside of a 9-inch cake pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.
  2. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for about three minutes or until the butter is light and fluffy. Add the ground almonds and sea salt and beat on low speed just until combined. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs and the yolk one at a time, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula in between each addition. Add the flour and mix until just incorporated.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the sides begin to pull away from the edge of the pan. Remove from the oven.
  4. While the cake is still warm, use a pastry brush or spoon to soak the top of the cake with half of the rum. Once the cake has cooled slightly, gently flip it out of the pan and onto a cooling rack, then soak the bottom with the remaining rum. Allow the cake to cool completely.
  5. When the cake is cool, prepare the glaze in a small bowl by whisking the powdered sugar and water together with a fork. Pour the glaze onto the cake and use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to spread it evenly to the edges. Allow the cake to rest for at least a day at room temperature before digging in.

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