30 October 2012

A cake called a « toutché »

I was surfing around on the web yesterday morning when I came upon a site — a blog — where I found a recipe for a French cake I'd never heard of before. It's called a toutché (I've also found it spelled toutche without an accent, or even touché without the second T) and it's a specialty of the area called La Franche-Comté in eastern France.

A toutché cake, from the Franche-Comté region of France

I have no idea where the name comes from or what its derivation might be. Since we were having friends over last night for a light dinner, an apéritif dînatoire, and I had the whole day ahead of me, I decided to make a toutché that we could serve as dessert. The blog where I first found the recipe, Tout le Monde à Table, describes it like this:
[Cést] un délicieux gâteau avec une pâte levée briochée et un goumeau à base de crème et d'oeufs qui répond au nom patois de « toutché ». On l'appelle aussi gâteau de fête ou encore gâteau de ménage. Il peut être en version sucrée comme en version salée.It's a delicious cake made with a leavened brioche-type pastry and a custard filling made with cream, eggs, and sugar, and it is called a toutché in the local dialect. It's also called a party cake or a home-style cake. It can be made either sweet or savory.
Here's the recipe, which I've translated and adapted. By the way, our friends from California really liked it and both asked for a second helping.

– The Pastry –
2 eggs
1 cup milk, lukewarm
2 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. melted butter, lukewarm
4 Tbsp. sugar
4 cups flour
1 packet of baker's yeast

– The Cream Filling –
2 eggs (or 2 egg yolks, if you prefer)
1 cup of heavy cream
3 Tbsp. sugar

To make the pastry, put all the ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer in the order listed. Mix the dough for five minutes and then let it rise in a covered bowl for about 2 hours. (You can also make the dough in a bread machine.)

When the dough is ready, spread it out to fill a non-stick cake or pie pan that's been dusted with flour.

Make the cream filling by mixing the eggs (or yolks) into the cream. Stir in the sugar. (Some recipes call for a little vanilla or other flavoring to be added to the filling.)

Using a fork, make a half-inch raised border around the edges of the dough in the baking pan so that the cream filling won't run off. Pour the filling onto the dough.

Cook the cake in an oven pre-heated to 180ºC / 350ºF for 25 to 30 minutes. The top should brown lightly. Sprinkle on some sugar while the cake is still hot from the oven. Serve at room temperature.
This kind of cake isn't very sweet by American standards, but the brioche-type pastry is very tender and tasty. My toutché dough didn't have a high enough lip around the edges so the filling spread over the whole top and some ended up inside the cake after it cooked. No matter — it was still very good, and looked nice.

Next time I'm planning to make a savory toutché, putting no sugar but a little salt in the cream filling, along with some cooked lardons (chunks of smoked bacon or ham).


  1. This cake sounds delischus! I have just had to make myself a sandwich to keep my stomach quiet.

    On the cat front... first RonRon and then Baron came and walked slowly up and down me at around 6:15 this morning... they got fed... at 7:30!

    Still it enabled me to take a look at what is going on in the States at the moment... hope all your family and friends are OK.

  2. Thanks, Tim. The area on the coast of North Carolina where I grew up and where my mother, sister, and other family members still live, got some wind and about 90 mm of rain on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Not really a big deal there, where the annual rainfall totals about 1400 mm.

    Farther north is the area where Walt's family lives, 150 miles north of New York City. We are waiting to hear how friends and family fare up there, where rain and flooding will be the big problem.

    Thanks to Susan too, for the nice e-mail she sent me yesterday on the same subject.

  3. Tim and all, I just looked at weather statistics, and I see that the area 100 miles or so north of my town in NC had 250 mm (!) of rain compared to the 90 mm I mentioned earlier.

    I'll try to call CHM in Virginia this afternoon to see how he weathered the storm.

  4. Even though part of my family is from Franche-Comté, I have never heard of such a cake; I wonder if my Cousine has.

    It looks delicious and if you used lardons it would be akin to a Quiche, IMHO.

    I’m going to Google it in French and learn a little more.

    I wrote my comment before going to the comment section.

    I was going to ask how your mother and family were faring in coastal NC and I’m glad to know everything is OK. Hope Walt’s family is safe in Upper New York state.

    Here, in Northern Virginia we’ve had rain and wind but, as far as I know, nothing more than the usual in such context. For some reason I lost my land line phone connection for several hours early yesterday morning. No power failure [yet?]. It is supposed to be worse today. We’ll see. So far, Agnes, exactly forty years ago, has been much worse here.

  5. Another great recipe Ken. I'll make it in the near future, although first up is the shrimp, coconut milk and rice noodle soup from the other day. While everyone at the grocery store was stocking up on staples for the storm, I bought rice noodles. And the storm here in Maine hasn't been much; a fair amount of wind but not much rain. It seems like the NYC area got hit pretty bad though.

  6. That sounds really interesting, have bookmarked this one to they out. Thanks Ken. Keep warm both of you. Diane

  7. Glad to hear from both of you, CHM and Bob R. The worst weather seems to have been between Washington DC and Maine, or maybe farther down into Virginia. We are waiting to hear how things come to pass in the Albany area, where Walt is from.

    Yes, CHM, the toutché salé would be a kind of quiche, but with a bread-brioche crust. Sounds good to me.

  8. Oops forgot to ask, would creme fraiche be all right for the cream - never see real cream around here? Diane

  9. Hi Diane, you can buy crème entière liquide at the supermarket, I'm sure. I used crème entière liquide from a 20 cl carton + a little crème fraîche épaisse to bring the quantity to 25 cl. It's hard for me to understand how crème fraîche would not be considered "real" cream. Crème fraîche is slightly "fermented" or cultured, as is the milk from which French butter is made. The fermentation gives the cream and the butter a good taste. I guess it really is a different world here, as compared to S. Africa, the UK... or the US.

    CHM, try this link for info about le toutché.

  10. Ken

    I believe that upstate New York may have been spared except for some rain and wind.Looks like the hurricane ( now a tropical storm) veered left after crashing ashore along the US east coast.

    We were expecting for bad weather last night -even brought in my car because we were expecting gust > 100 km/hr but it was just windy and it has started to rain now. However NJ and NYC took a big hit. Snow in West Virginia and part of MD.

    Bonjour CHM

    Happy to hear that you are all right in VA - same for my sister in DC ( offices were closed yesterday and will be closed to day also). I have never heard about that cake and hope to ask la grande tante next time I speak to her. She was born and grew up in Franche Comté .

  11. Thank you for the link. It seems that “le toutché” is a specialty of the northern part of Franche Comté close to Lorraine. Since my maternal family originate from Arbois in the southern part of the province, I think that’s why I’ve never heard of it. However, it is called also “gâteau de ménage” and I might have heard of that.

    Here are two links that should interest you and give you some ideas.


    Bonjour Cousine,
    Glad to know you sister is OK in DC. We were expecting much worse conditions. It is still raining and may continue so for some time, but practically no wind.

  12. you had me a "cream filling".... wow! and to make it savory is a great idea. bacon makes everything better. ;-)

  13. Would love to taste this cake some time.

    It's good to hear that your family made it through the storm OK and that you kept your power, CHM.

  14. A question for you regarding this lovely recipe: could you elaborate on the size of pan? Would it be similar to a 9x13 inch (je suis Americaine!!) pan?? That is what it looks like in the great picture, but I just thought I would check...

  15. Kassandra, I used a big silicone cake pan, but I should have used a pie plate because the toutché is better made in a pan with slanted rather than straight sides. I think the pan I used for this amount of pastry measures at least 12 x 12 if not 13 x 13 inches, and it's a good inch and a half deep.


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