Nantes cake is the local speciality when it comes to cakes in Nantes… and although I’m from Nantes, Nantes cake was a source of mystery for quite some time.
My grandmother Hélène loved preparing this cake for large family gatherings, but as she used to say so often: “it’s a sweet treat for grown-ups!” And when I discovered this delicious dessert, as a 10 year old, I wondered why…
It was only when I analysed the recipe that I understood! Inside this beautiful all-white cake hides a little rum! That’s right, the Nantes cake reflects the history of the city, particularly the spices and other ingredients of the new world which passed through the port of Nantes in the 18th century.
Since I made this great discovery, I like to use my grandmother’s recipe which has been passed from generation to generation:
For 6 people, you need 150g of sugar, 100g of ground almonds, 125g salted butter (we’re in Nantes, butter is always salted here…) which must be very soft, 3 large eggs, 100g of icing sugar for the icing, 40g of flour and, lastly, 9cl of rum (slightly less if you want little ones to be able to eat the cake).
It’s very simple: in a large bowl, mix the softened butter with the sugar and the ground almonds. And in a second bowl, beat the eggs before adding them to the mixture. Then add the sifted flour and a first glass of rum (3cl) and pour everything into a round cake tin.
Cook it at 180°C (gas mark 6) for 20 minutes. Then leave it to cook at 150°C for 15 minutes. Take the cake out of the oven, remove it from the tin and pour over a second glass of rum (3cl).
The next day when the cake has cooled, add the icing by mixing the icing sugar and a final glass of rum (3cl). Put the icing on the cake and there you have it!
All you need to do now is to taste the delicious Nantes cake – as a foodie, I recommend having it with a scoop of salted butter caramel ice cream! I close my eyes and I let myself be carried away by the tangy ingredients of this local delicacy. I feel like I’ve reached the right destination – like I’m in Nantes!