Baking tips

Can anyone give some advice for cake cooking please?

What is the best substitute for self-raising flour?

Is there a French equivalent for icing sugar and also caster sugar?

Hope this does not sound too feeble but I do find all the above are necessary for a decent cake!

Many thanks a cake baker myself..very simple..flour for cakes is Farine a gateaux..Icing sugar is Sucre en poudre...castor sugar is..Sucre extra fin..never had problems :)

Hi, you can also use farine a gateaux it is the same as self-raising flour, I.e. Cake flour, I have found it in the supermarket with all the other flour.

Oh yes, what VĂ©ro says about THAT stuff. I go to the baker sometimes, they sell both bread and cake yeast. There are a few different versions of the former. However, the levure chimique is unpleasant. Agree absolutely on the flour and sugar tips. The best packing of sucre glace is the Saint Louis one in a cardboard, metal lined box. The stuff in plastic ones gets sticky if left too long.

However, VĂ©ro's household and this would probably be likely victims contestants for a 'great bake off', having sampled hers although she is still lacking a big enough sample of ours. Funnily though, I do not in the least have a sweet tongue, but love making cakes and things of that nature, which is fun with two entirely different backgrounds that mean in this house we have 'competitions' to find out such things as whose bread pudding is best (namely, most enjoyed/liked by our young judges). Ingredients count, so some of us become lexicons of them for the most practical reasons; for instance, pleasing our 'audience'.

Beware of levure chimique in little packets, it isn't the same chemicals as the kind in tubs and has a pronounced & (I think) not very nice taste. There is a Dr Oetker one in a tub which is OK. If you make meringues beware of sucre fin/extra fin (NOT icing sugar just v fine caster sugar) as it sometimes has cornflour in it as an anti clumping agent - your meringues will not turn out as you might wish. Won't do cakes any harm, obviously. Sucre en poudre/sucre semoule is caster sugar so you don't really need the very fine one. There is farine à gâteaux both plain & SR so look carefully at the bag. Sucre glace comes in cardboard tubs or plastic ones.

Thanks so muc for that, Brian, brilliant. I can now bake! Many thanks


Brian, as usual has given you a comprehensive answer. You can also buy flour for gateaux which has baking powder added.

If you are using your usual UK recipes remember that French flour is softer than that in UK, so watch what liquid you are aging carefully. You will probably need less.

We cook and bake loads of things so have a big range of both.

Easy, farine fermentante is self-raising for cake making. I prefer to buy ordinary flour and add 'baking powder' (levure chimique) that I generally make myself [which you can, of course, buy] by combining half a teaspoon of cream of tartar (creme de tartre) and quarter teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda (bicarbonate de soudre). This is the equivalent of a teaspoon of baking powder. To make self-raising flour add one teaspoon (or equivalent if home made) to each 110g of plain flour. Should be plenty of online info on proportions since they can differ a bit depending on what you are making, that is to say the amount of baking powder to flour rather than the mix of the baking powder itself.

Just about the whole range of flours you ever need are there. Some of them are a tad harder to find, not every supermarket has buckwheat (sarrasin) and finding rye flour (seigle) slightly more difficult. However, the diversity of flours is slightly bigger in France than the UK, for instance 00 for pasta is easy to find but is fluide here, the only country in Europe not to call it 00, whereas all the rest are often by the grade numbers.

Sugar. Sucre glace is icing sugar and caster sugar is either sucre semoule or sucre en poudre.

Most supermarkets should have all of that.

For the other sugars, browns and darker, sucre vergeoise is available in blonde (light) or brune (dark), where brown sugar is necessary and the crystals need to be evenly sized there there is cassonade, then darker ones sucre de canne complet, sucre roux, demerara and muscovado are all available, although the latter usually only in health food shops (I buy it loose) and I also use pure molasses sugar but have visitors bring me lumps of it because it is not available. Liquid molasses (mélasse) is easy to find, but a horror for any baking recipes.

Hmm. First time baker here!
I have a UK recipe that uses both “self-raising flour” AND “baking powder”.
Confused. What should I get?

Lots of people put both at once in cakes, Mary Berry does eg in a book called something like cakes for idiots which I use. You want farine à gateaux avec levure chimique/ poudre levante incorporée as well as baking powder. Then just follow the recipe.

Here’s a recipe where you cheat aand use pate feuilleté from the shop. Apricots may be difficult to get this year but it works very well with the ones from Picard (who do deliveries by the way).
Tarte tatin is actually very easy to make once you get the hang of it. And always goes down well. MMMMMMMMMMMMM

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Ha ha… I always use bought pastry… not even got a rolling pin any more…
(and not got any pastry either… at the moment… :frowning: .)

On the upside… I do have a bag of apricot halves in the freezer…

I confess to having stockpiled the packets of pate feuilletée in the freezer, and this is a delicious way of using the apricots Stella. Just be careful when handling the hot pan and when flipping it at the end. Oven mits!!

I started making TT when we were still in UK… 'cos it made us almost think we were “there”… :wink: but I made it with apples…

Must confess, it is one of those much loved things… which has been pushed out of pride of place by other delicious stuff… we are spoiled for choice here in France… and that is just great…:slight_smile: :slight_smile:

I like making bread and pastry, I find it therapeutic - but I also have a stash if pâte feuilletee pur beurre in the freezer for emergencies!
Tarte tatin with red onions, rosemary and balsamic vinegar is delicious too :yum:


That sounds good

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@Mat_Davies Very easy too, it just takes a bit longer softening up and caramelising the onions (use smallish ones because you just cut them in half then treat them as you would apples, you can use shallots too).

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You know, I always find it so frustrating when you see these people on tv complaining that they have difficulty in making the ends meet in their food budget. I am the first to sympathise with people who are genuinely hard up, having been through such time myself, but if only the same people would make the effort of taking some time away from their netflix subsciptions on their flat screen TVs and learn how to cook some very basic dishes… It really is possible to make delicious food for next to no cost at all with just a little effort. (Viz. my post on nettle soup LOL).

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Radish leaves and carrot tops also make delicious soup, unfortunately most people just throw them away. Radish leaves and or nettles are good with dhal too.

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