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Old French Chocolate Gateau Recipe

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I am trying to help someone recreate recipes from a Chateau book that was rewritten over 50 years ago and not very well at that! The recipes are supposed to be from around 1790, but I have my doubts with this "Chocolate Gateau" as I don't know that it was being used in cakes then. What type of chocolate was being used? I would say too much chocolate and needs butter? I will print it in French and give the Google translation.

thank you!

Petite Gâteau au chocolate


2 tasses ½ de chocolat

250 g sucre

3 oeufs


Sucre vanilla


Râpez le chocolat et le sucre et passez-les au tamis de crin puis à  celui de soie.

Mettez dans un vase et alternativement un peu de l’un et de l’autre en y ajoutant à mesure des blancs d’ouefs battus.

Joignez-y aussi du sucre vanilla

Mettez cette pâte dans des petities caisses de papier que vous ne remplissez pas, puis faites-les cuire dans un four bien doux

Laissez-les environ 10 minutes.


Little chocolate cake

2 ½ cups chocolate (unsweetened or powder?)
Sugar 250 g
3 eggs
vanilla sugar

Grate the chocolate and sugar and put them through the sieve (than) horsehair and silk.
Put in a vessel and alternately some one and another by adding to measurement of egg whites.
Include vanilla sugar
Put the dough in small boxes of paper you do not fill, and then cook them in a very low oven
Let them (bake/rest?) 10 minutes.


post #2 of 6

My guess is that it is unsweetened chocolate (with the grating instruction) and since sugar was commonly in a tablet form around the same time, it makes sense that the instruction would be to grate them.  I am going to guess that the part about the egg whites is that you whip three egg whites (or maybe it's the same weight of whites as the shelled eggs?) and add those to the batter.  There's no mention of how to use the second chocolate ingredient in the list, though so I wonder what you're supposed to be alternating with; or perhaps it's just adding some of the beaten egg with some of the whipped whites.  It might be helpful to compare this recipe to others of the same timeframe to see what techniques they used.  Sounds like the first flourless chocolate cake ;)!

post #3 of 6

Ditto what JCakes said. Really all it is is a flourless chocolate "cake" recipe, and it's really nothing special. I'd say the headache of trying to figure out this particular recipe really isn't worth the trouble only because it's pretty much exactly like any other flourless chocolate cake out there.

post #4 of 6

This is dubious. The French version isn't in proper French... what's odd is that many of the mistakes sound typical from an American/English person speaking French. Another giveaway: no one measures chocolate in "tasses" in France. While you might occasionally see "tasse" used in a French recipe, that's usually for recipes that were translated from the English language. Otherwise it doesn't make much sense to use a volume measurement for chocolate, not in France. Grams would be the expected unit of measurement. 


Petit Gâteau au chocolat ≠ Petite Gâteau au chocolate


250 g de sucre ≠ 250 g sucre <- looks like someone tried to translate "250 g sugar."

Sucre vanillé ≠ Sucre vanilla  <- looks like someone tried to translate "vanilla sugar." 

blanc d'œufs ≠ blancs d’ouefs

petites ≠ petities


I don't think you should put them in a "vase" either. In France, we use our "vases" to put our flowers into, not for cooking. Can't think of what that was supposed to be. Sounds like a bad translation. 


"Mettez dans un vase et alternativement un peu de l’un et de l’autre" doesn't sound like a sentence the way a French person would construct it. It probably means that you alternate putting in a recipient a bit of sugar, then a bit of chocolate, bit of sugar, bit of chocolate...


"en y ajoutant à mesure des blancs d’ouefs battus" means "while progressively adding some whipped egg whites." Which is another language issue: you wouldn't add "some" ("des") whipped egg whites, you would add "the" ("les") whipped egg whites.


The last sentence means bake them in the oven for 10mn. 


In French recipes, chocolate normally stands for "dark chocolate", not unsweetened, and certainly not cocoa powder. 

Edited by French Fries - 3/10/15 at 1:16am
post #5 of 6

Thank you French Fries! I have a friend who speaks fluent French and lives in France about 6 months out of the year. She has saved my bacon with the bad translations in a lot of my baking books. Google Translate can only do so much.

post #6 of 6

You're welcome! It struck me as odd that the OP presented the recipe as a French recipe.

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