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Gateau is a French cake derived from the old French word gastel. It is described as a light cake filled with a variety of fruits, nuts or custards. The word gateau has altered in meaning and is now applied to any form of rich cake which is baked in layers and decorated elaborately. The small French cake is now called Petit gateau and served with vanilla ice cream. Many restaurants in New York have adopted the gateau recipe and serve the dessert with a variety of diverse fillings made up of fruit and berries. The recipe followed in America also includes filing the small cake with whiskey instead of any sweetened food item.

Small crepes that are stacked one above the other with a layer of jam or berries separating each of them is served as a dessert and called the gateau erroneously.

The most famous gateau is however the Black forest cake derived from the traditional Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte of German origin. The word literally means Black Forest cherry torte and is prepared as a multilayered chocolate cake with whipped cream and cherries put between the individual layers. While the Germans and the Austrian gateau recipe recommend adding a little alcohol to the cake mixture, the confectioners of the United States of America prefer to bake it without any alcohol.

Origin Of The Gateau Recipe

The English borrowed the term gateau from the French word of gateaux in the nineteenth century and used it to denote all types of desserts including cakes, puddings and pies. However, the gateau recipe for a rich and elaborate cake decorated lavishly came to be known as the gateau after the Second World War.

The initial gateau baked in Victorian England were sickly sweet in taste with a sponge cake filed with butter cream and adorned with fondant icing. Later on the recipe started including more refined decorations including the piping with sugar and baking the cake in many different shapes.

Ingredients & The Most Popular Gateau Recipe

Gateau recipes include a number of ingredients most of them sweet in taste. The all purpose flour together with sugar, butter and eggs are the most basic ingredients that can be found in a gateau recipe. A cupful of milk along with vanilla extracts and vegetable oil is often recommended by the primary gateau recipe as well. Whipped cream, white, refined sugar and pitted cherries together with some unsweetened cocoa powder are almost always required for preparing it.

Making a mixture by whisking the flour, eggs, sugar and baking powder together with the vanilla extract is the very first step for baking a gateau. The milk and oil are often added in when the blend becomes too thick. It is important to bake the different layers separately while trying to make the cake. While different layers get to cool, the cherries can be made ready and their juices stored in a separate container. The frosted icing is generally created by cooking the cherry along with its juices with a mixture of sugar, cornstarch and vanilla. The layers of the cake can then be divided into two and a filling of the frosted icing containing sugars applied in between the two layers. The same technique which is then repeated with the top layer decorated with a piping of icing sugar as well.

The sides of a gateau are also plastered with the frosting and the gateau recipe recommends storing it in the refrigerator before being served.


The gateau is usually served with sugarless whipped cream after defrosting it. However, the variations prepared with fruits and other fillings are also frequently served with jellies, jams and other condiments. Brushing chocolate shavings over the chocolate covered desserts one of the popular ways of serving it in America.

Popular Gateau Recipe Variations

A number of variations can be observed in the traditional gateau recipe now while a simple variation of the fillings or the top most layer can result in a completely different kind of gateau as well. Some of the most loved variations that are baked across the United States on special occasions are:-

• Carob Mint: A rich cake made with carob powder and peppermint extracts.
• Chocolate & Cheese: Cream cheese and digestive biscuits are added to the cake mixture here.
• Mocha Variety: Mocha flavored coffee powder along with chocolate is used to make the icing.
• Fruity Gateau: Bits of fruits and raisins or nuts are usually added to the filling.
• Lemon Flavor- The juice, rind and pulp of a lemon is added to the rich cake which lends it a tangy flavor.
• Chocolate Fudge: The chocolate fudge recipe is incorporated within the cake.
• Pecan & Date Variety: Dried fruits like pecan and dates in the filling help to enhance the nutritive value of the rich cake.
• Caramelized Version: This cake is topped with a measure of caramel sauce in Finland where it is eaten on festive occasions.
• Pancake: A multi layered pancake dish with different fillings eaten together is a unique savory form of the gateau.

utritional Facts of Gateau

It is rich in calories but contains some vitamins particularly when fresh cherries are used. The fruit filled variations have a higher nutritive value with lemon and oranges adding the Vitamin C as well. The cake is however a good source of energy and can help to warm the body during winter. The traditional way of baking it with alcohol or liqueur may increase this property while the presence of eggs ensures a little amount of protein within the cake.

The modern variety baked with sugar substitutes might be a better alternative for weight watchers and people suffering from diabetes. Statistics reveal that the traditional gateau contains almost 250 calories per serving and is best eaten sparingly.

Gateau: Trivia

  • The Black Forest Gateau is also the name of a movie.
  • The gateau is promised as a reward in the video game called the Portal.