My Baking Adventure in France

April 9, 2009

We just returned from visiting some friends who have a second home in France. I brought along some recipes in case I had time to do some baking, and when I saw their funky orange stove (featuring three separate ovens), I knew I had to give it a spin!


One afternoon, our friends were away, so I decided to bake Dorie Greenspan’s Chocolate Armagnac Cake. The last time I made this cake, it was fantastic. This time, it was super-fantastic! Did it taste better because I used cognac and prunes instead of brandy and raisins? Or perhaps it tasted better because everything tastes better in France? I’m not sure. Maybe I need to go back to France to try again!

I didn’t get a photo of the finished cake, but here I am hard at work.


I had one little glitch with the ingredients. I needed powdered sugar, so here’s what I bought. My French isn’t that great, but I was pretty sure poudre meant powder. And maybe it does, but this was granulated sugar. Oh well. I do wonder if Daddy Sugar has anything to do with a sugar daddy?


Despite the lack of powdered sugar, the challenges of working in an unfamiliar kitchen, and having to do some weight and temperature conversions to metric, the cake turned out great! Our friends loved it and no one blinked an eye at the “secret ingredient” of prunes. I chopped them really small and they disappeared into the cake, adding to the moistness and contributing a bit of a fruity flavor. If you want to give this cake a try, go here for the recipe. It’s a winner in any country!


  1. I am Italian but have been in France very often.Now I am here in the States. I love french cooking and always reccomend Escoffier book. My favourites? Ile flottante, bouillabaisse and of course escargots.
    Well everything depends then where you were in France as like in Italy food is very regional.
    Ciao Tommaso

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