Once upon a time I decided to start learning French just because that’s what my brother, Will, was learning. I figured we could have a secret language that our parents wouldn’t understand, or honestly, it was simply because I look up to him and wanted to be just like him. Well, thanks hermano, because that one decision has given me so much France/ French/ Frenchies in my life that I now couldn’t imagine it without.
And here we are; I’ve just spent over an hour walking down memory lane looking at hundreds of photos from my French encounters, and you’re gonna get a lot of that today. I suppose it began at a very young age: a bite-sized version of me living in Brussels, learning Flemish and jetting off to Paris on the weekends like the chic bébé I was. I started learning French in middle school, and then jumped at the opportunity to travel to France for two months with my high school French class. I lived with a lovely French family in Tours for a month before traveling all over the country with the group.
I also studied abroad in Aix-en-Provence during college and then moved to Lyon after graduation for a year. What can I say? J’adore la France. (Even in all of their ridiculousness – like when they have a protest against too much protesting. Fact. Happened when I was in Lyon :)
So, I was inspired to make a cake this week (that I learned how to make in Tours) in honor of my French love affair. Someone brought a moscato to the dinner party that Elizabeth and I hosted (side note: if you don’t know anything about wine, know this: never bring a moscato to a dinner party), but it did turn out to be a blessing in disguise because of this divine cake. This cake is the closest thing I’ve ever come to a specialty!
…But historically, I’ve only made the cake in France. I don’t know what it is, but it never seems to turn out quite right when I make it in the states. (Could be the vague French measurements like “un verre à moutard” = “a mustard-sized glass”…what?!)
But I’m here to tell you that I think I’ve figured out the recipe in American measurements! It’s light and super moist. You smell the white wine before you taste it; it’s sweet and delicate. My favorite part is the thin sugary crust that forms on the top, so make sure you eat it immediately or carry it to your party uncovered, straight from the cooling rack, because once you cover it with plastic wrap, the crust is gone – still delicious, but soft.
Here’s what I did:
Gateau au Vin Blanc – White Wine Cake
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together:
-1 ¾ c. sugar
– ¾ c. sweet white wine (either a moscato or a Riesling)
– ¾ c. oil
In a separate medium bowl, whisk together:
-3 c. all-purpose flour
-4 tsp. baking powder
-1 tsp. salt
Gently whisk the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, until just incorporated (a few lumps are ok – you don’t want to over mix it)
Pour the batter into a 9” x 13” glass dish and bake for 35-45 minutes until it’s golden brown and a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool and enjoy in the afternoon with a nice cup of coffee or tea :)
French phrase for fun:
J’espère que tu as apprécié mon pèlerinage sur les lieux du passé autant que je l’ai fait.
I hope you enjoyed my walk down memory lane as much as I did.