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The gateau à la broche, the spit cake – Italian Cuisine

The gateau à la broche is a rare spiced conical cake that can be found in some mountainous areas of eastern France

The gateau à la broche, also said spit cake or Koeken, is a truly unique cake of its kind; has one characteristic conical shape and is cooked on the spit, with a long and complex preparation process that involves a gradual addition of different layers.

Widespread in various parts of Eastern Europe, especially in mountain areas and in the French regions Hautes-Pyrénées and Aveyron, its particular recipe and its rarity, attested by Slow Food, make it a sought-after dessert, often linked to fascinating local traditions, handed down from generation to generation and prepared mostly for special celebrations and holidays. Part of the charm of the gateau à la broche also lies in the uncertain origins and legends narrated over the years, which increase the myth.

Recipe and preparation-ritual of the gateau à la broche

The appearance of this dessert is as fascinating as its preparation. The ingredients of the basic recipe of the cake are sugar, butter, flour and eggs, while the additional and optional ones, to flavor it, may include lemon, orange blossom and even rum. Once the mold is prepared, that is a wooden cone attached to a spit that spins evenly, the first layer of dough is poured, to which the next seven or eight will gradually be added.

Preparation of the gâteau à la broche.

After browning the last layer, the cake must be removed from the fire and removed from the conical mold. Once cooked, the gateau à la broche is rather soft, with a golden and rough surface and an intense yellow color and can be stored for several days. Given the effort and time that this procedure requires, it is not surprising to find that the average dimensions are quite abundant: in general, the gateau à la broche is 20 to 80 cm tall and weighs between 150 g and 4 kg. The most fascinating aspect of this preparation is however the social aspect; in many areas and in many villages in Europe, and in particular in France, in the Massif Central and in the Hautes-Pyrénées, the tradition of gateau à la broche is alive and well and is handed down over time as an integral part of popular culture.
For example, in Arreau, in the Hautes-Pyrénées, for over twenty years a brotherhood has been organizing the spit-roasting of the cake every summer, in July, while in Morlaàs, about 90 km to the west, the Salon du Vin et de la Gastronomie, a traditional food and wine fair, which also includes the gateau à la broche as a gastronomic appointment, but also as a celebratory moment of community and social gathering.

History and diffusion in Europe of spit cake

The origin of the spit cake is much discussed. Self tradition attributes the creation of spit-roasted cake to the master pastry chef of the Prussian king in 1790 in SalzwedelIt is however certain that this specialty was born in Central Europe, where it still exists under various names including Kurtoskalacs (Hungary), baumkuchen (Germany). According to legend, when Napoleon's soldiers withdrew from their invasion of Russia in 1812, they brought it back to France with them. In France, a country where the rare gateau à la broche is more present, the recipe has since been transmitted orally.
Many European variants of the gateau à la broche, from the festive cake consumed alone or accompanied by jam or honey in Germany, to the English cake of medieval origin with figs, dates and spices, to recipes that include a covering of sugar or chocolate. One last curiosity: the spit cake has become popular even in Japan, thanks to the German confectioner Karl Joseph Wilhelm Juchheim who introduced it in 1919.

Cooking of the gâteau à la broche

Photo: Rouge's Gâteau à la broche_Wikipedia Commons_Varaine.jpg
Photo: Gâteau à la broche preparation_Wikipedia Commons_Roland Darré.jpg
Photo: Gâteau à la broche cotto spiedo_Wikipedia Commons_Darreenvt.jpg

Arlecchino Cake – 's Arlecchino Cake Recipe – Italian Cuisine

In a large bowl, work eggs and sugar until a frothy mixture is obtained.
Add the melted butter and then mix with milk and vanilla, so as to cool it, and mix.
Finally add the sifted flour and baking powder, and salt.

Divide the mixture into 5 bowls: leave a neutral, and add a little color in the other 4, mixing each with a different spoon so as not to contaminate the colors with each other.

Grease and flour (or coated with parchment paper) a 22 cm diameter mold.
Pour to the center 2 tablespoons of mixture taken from the first bowl, then add 2 tablespoons taken from the second bowl exactly in the center of the previous one. Continue with the third, fourth and fifth bowl and repeat the round until all the dough is finished.

Cook in a preheated oven at 180 ° C for about 40 minutes.
Let cool, then turn out the cake, brush the surface of honey and cover with the sprinkles of sugar.

Et voilà: the Arlecchino cake is ready to bring joy to your table!

Overturned apple cake – Italian Cuisine

First of all, prepare the caramel: put water and sugar in a non-stick pan and cook over medium heat until you reach a burnished color.

Peel the apples, cut them into thin slices and sprinkle with lemon juice.

Whip the eggs with the sugar to get a frothy mixture.
Add flour, baking powder and lemon peel and mix.
Finally, add the melted butter. You should get a fairly thick mixture.

Cover the mold with parchment paper and cover the bottom with the caramel.
Arrange the apples on top of the caramel, after having drained them from the lemon juice, and gently pour the mixture over it.
Cook for about 30 minutes in a preheated oven at 180 ° C.

The inverted apple pie is ready: let it cool before serving.