How To Bake A Cake Like The French 

How to bake a cake like the French! 
Whether you want to make a birthday cake for your new French friends, or if you want to have a go at recreating a French classic like crepes or even a croissant (ambitious, to say the least!), you’ll need to find your ingredients in a French supermarket first. 

Baking in France - How to bake a cake like the French!

Many apartments in Paris, especially for students, are fairly small. Therefore, your kitchen may be limited in terms of appliances. Elsewhere in France, you might be a bit luckier with square footage! If you only have a microwave-oven, which is often the case, you can still bake a cake. Just make sure it’s on the smaller side… and potentially in a mug! Or, try tiramisu and no-bake cheesecake. 

How To Bake A Cake Like The French

Here is a list of common ingredients for which you need to know the French translation before you do your shop: 

  • Flour – La farine
  • Sugar – Le sucre
  • Butter – Le beurre
  • Eggs – Les œufs
  • Baking Powder – La levure chimique
  • Vanilla Extract – L’extrait de vanille
  • Milk – Le lait
  • Salt – Le sel
  • Yeast – La levure
  • Cocoa Powder – La poudre de cacao
  • Chocolate Chips – Les pépites de chocolat
  • Brown Sugar – Le sucre roux
  • Cornstarch – Le fécule de maïs (Maïzena is a common brand)
  • Almond Flour – La farine d’amande
  • Baking Soda – Le bicarbonate de soude
  • Cream – La crème
  • Nutmeg – La noix de muscade
  • Cinnamon – La cannelle
  • Honey – Le miel
  • Lemon Zest – Le zeste de citron
  • Icing sugar – Le sucre glace
  • Cream Cheese – Le fromage à la crème / le fromage frais 
  • Almond Extract – L’extrait d’amande
  • Baking Flour – La farine à pâtisserie
  • Orange Extract – L’extrait d’orange
  • Walnuts – Les noix
  • Raisins – Les raisins secs
  • Coconut Flakes – Les flocons de noix de coco
  • Molasses – La mélasse
  • Apricot Jam – La confiture d’abricots

How To Bake A Cake Like The French


How to make crêpes like the French

Find our recipe here!

Crepes, of course, do not require an oven. You only need a stove, a pan, and some pancake-flipping skills. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make classic crepes:

  1. Flour – La farine
  2. Eggs – Les œufs
  3. Milk – Le lait
  4. Water – L’eau
  5. Salt – Le sel
  6. Butter (for cooking) – Le beurre (pour la cuisson)

For the most experienced bakers, try a classic French pastry. For this grand feat, you will need: 

  1. All-purpose flour – La farine tout usage
  2. Active dry yeast – La levure sèche active
  3. Sugar – Le sucre
  4. Salt – Le sel
  5. Unsalted butter, cold – Le beurre non salé, froid
  6. Milk – Le lait
  7. Water – L’eau
  8. Egg – L’oeuf
  9. Butter – Le beurre
How to bake a cake like the French! 

In order to make the best French sweet treats at home, you might want to consider using a French recipe in order to find out all the top tips that the French use to perfect their baking. If that is the case, here is vocabulary that will be used in a recipe that you need to get to grips with: 

  1. Recipe – La recette
  2. Preheat – Préchauffer
  3. Mix – Mélanger
  4. Stir – Remuer
  5. Whisk – Fouetter
  6. Fold – Plier
  7. Knead – Pétrir
  8. Roll – Rouler
  9. Grease – Graisser
  10. Line (as in “line a baking pan”) – Chemiser
  11. Boil – Faire bouillir
  12. Chill – Réfrigérer
  13. Frost – Le glaçage
  14. Glaze – Le nappage
  15. Drizzle – Arroser
  16. Slice – Trancher
  17. Taste – Goûter
  18. Measurement – La mesure
  19. Cup – La tasse
  20. Teaspoon – La cuillère à café
  21. Tablespoon – La cuillère à soupe
  22. Ounce – L’once
  23. Pound – La livre
  24. Gram – Le gramme
  25. Kilogram – Le kilogramme
  26. Millilitre – Le millilitre
  27. Litre – Le litre
  28. Temperature – La température
  29. Timer – Le minuteur
  30. Cooking spray – Le spray de cuisson 

Baking in France – Historical Background

Throw yourself into French baking; it is a significant part of French culture and it boasts a rich and illustrious history that stretches back centuries, intertwining with the social and economic fabric of France. From the iconic baguette to delicate pastries, French baking has left an indelible mark on culinary traditions worldwide.

The roots of French baking can be traced back to the Roman Empire’s conquest of Gaul. The Romans introduced wheat cultivation to the region, laying the foundation for France’s bread-making tradition. However, it was not until the Middle Ages that baking in France began to flourish as a distinct craft. Monasteries played a pivotal role during this period, with monks mastering the art of bread-making and passing down their knowledge through generations.

History of French Baking

By the Renaissance, French baking had evolved into a refined practice, with Paris emerging as a culinary hub. The Guild of Bakers, established in the 13th century, regulated baking practices and ensured the quality of bread produced. This period saw the emergence of various bread varieties, each with its unique characteristics, from crusty baguettes to hearty boules.

The 18th century marked a significant shift in French baking with the introduction of Viennese baking techniques. The Austrian princess Marie Antoinette, upon marrying Louis XVI, brought her love for Austrian pastries to the French court. This led to the adoption of laminated dough techniques, giving rise to iconic pastries such as croissants, pain au chocolat, and puff pastry.

The French Revolution brought about profound changes in French society, including its baking industry. The guild system was abolished, leading to greater accessibility to baking professions and innovation in techniques and recipes. Baking became democratised, and bakeries proliferated across France, becoming integral to daily life in cities and villages alike.

In the 19th century, advancements in technology revolutionised French baking. The invention of steam ovens and mechanical mixers streamlined production processes, allowing for greater consistency and efficiency. Meanwhile, the Industrial Revolution spurred mass production of bread, albeit with some backlash against the loss of traditional artisanal methods.

The turn of the 20th century witnessed the emergence of renowned French pastry chefs who elevated baking to an art form. Auguste Escoffier, known as the “king of chefs and chef of kings,” modernised French cuisine and popularised classic pastries like the mille-feuille and éclair. Meanwhile, establishments such as the famous Le Cordon Bleu culinary school played a crucial role in preserving and disseminating French baking techniques worldwide.

In the modern era, French baking continues to evolve, blending tradition with innovation. Artisanal bakeries thrive alongside innovative patisseries, each contributing to France’s vibrant culinary landscape. Moreover, the globalisation of food culture has led to the fusion of French baking techniques with culinary traditions from around the world, further enriching the tapestry of French gastronomy.

Today, French baking remains synonymous with excellence, craftsmanship, and a deep-rooted passion for culinary artistry. Whether savouring a freshly baked baguette from a local boulangerie or indulging in a decadent pastry from a Parisian patisserie, one thing is certain: the legacy of French baking continues to captivate palates and inspire gastronomes worldwide.

How to bake a cake like the French