Gâteau Battu Recipe

This isn’t the standard French method for making gâteau battu (“beaten cake” in English). Traditionally it’s made with fresh yeast using what some people call the “blitz method”, i.e. just throwing everything into the mixer all at once and turning it on. I’ve converted this to a dry yeast procedure on the assumption fresh yeast isn’t easy for most people to find. To compensate for the lack of a fresh, live culture, I’m using instead the sponge method, which gives the yeast a running start since it’ll eventually be confronted with lots of sugar and/or alcohol. I also add the butter in late, as you do if you’re making standard brioche. This creates both a fluffier texture and a higher rise. Omit this step if you’re a stickler for authenticity.

Oh and I should mention that gâteau battu is made in a special mold that looks like this:

You can find it on the internet. Sometimes it’s called a “tall brioche mold” though a standard large brioche mold is actually quite different. If you don’t have — or don’t want to buy — either one of them, you can still make a great gâteau battu in a standard 10″ loaf pan.

For the Sponge

1 egg
2 ounces (1/2 cup minus a tablespoon) flour
2 tablespoons milk
3 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

For the Dough

7 egg yolks
7 ounces (1 1/2 cups minus a tablespoon) all-purpose flour
2.5 ounces (1/3 cup plus a teaspoon) sugar
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) milk
1 ounce brandy, optional, or 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla or orange extract)
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 ounces (10 tablespoons) soft butter

Combine the sponge ingredients, stir them together with a fork, and let the sponge ferment for an hour. At that point put the sponge into the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook along with the rest of the ingredients save for the butter. Knead for about five minutes, until the dough comes together into a sticky ball. If it doesn’t, add more milk a teaspoon at a time until it does. Alternately, if it’s too sticky, add a little flour to bring it together.

With the mixer running on medium, add the butter a piece at a time and knead about 30 seconds between additions. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled container and let it rise for about two hours, until it’s close to double in size.

Butter a tall brioche mold and place the dough in it. Allow it to rise about one more hour, covered with a lightly moistened cloth. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for about 50 minutes until well risen and browned on top. Cool completely on a wire rack before turning out. Slice and serve with your choice of spread.

22 thoughts on “Gâteau Battu Recipe”

    1. Indeed it is. In my mind pandoro has a more flavorings in it (lemon zest, candied citron, things like that) but there’s no doubt the bread is very similar in composition — and it’s also baked in a tall mold. This one’s fluted, pandoro molds are star-shaped, that’s about the only difference.

      Thanks for a great question!

      – Joe

  1. wow! this is going to be one rich kick ass bread…is it going to be straight up or studded with nuts and dried fruits?

    1. Hi Malini!

      The recipes I’ve found don’t call for any additions — those come later (at serving, you’ll see).

  2. would it be worth using an osmotolerant yeast and toning down the amount?


    1. It may well be. Sometihng like SAF Gold might do the trick. I’m going to try the recipe as written first to see what happens. I promise to keep you informed!

      – Joe

  3. Joe, I see you have not tested this recipe yet. I want to try it but I ll wait to see what you have to say. Also, it may not hurt to add maybe 1/2 to 1 tsp vanilla extract. Looking forward to hearing from you. Thanks!

    1. I think I will add some sort of flavoring to it ultimately. Hopefully I’ll produce a good one today!


      – Joe

  4. Joe, thanks so much for adding the cup/tbsp measurement. I just got the tall brioche mold which I ordered online from Sur La Table. I can’t wait to make it and I will let you know how mine turned out. Thanks again!

    1. Please do let me know. I’ll be very interested to hear how it goes.

      – Joe

  5. You put to different recipes. One for the sponge and one for the dough. My question is, do you out the two together? Because in the instructions you say combine the sponge ingredients. I wasn’t sure is you meant the two. Also the recipe for the dough, how many does that make? Is that the recipe for larger amounts where the recipe for the sponge is just for one. And do you know where (online) I can get a tall brioche mold. Thank you.

    1. Hi Amanda! Yes, they’re meant to be combined. Make the sponge first and then proceed as directed! 😉

      Let me know how it turns out!

      – Joe

  6. Joe. OMG! I made the Gateau Battu last nite and let it cool in pan overnight. What a marvelous, delicious, feathery light brioche like bread. We ate slices of it with butter or apricot jam and hot chocolate. Even my mom drove to my house after she saw the pictures i sent her.
    I used regular dry yeast inadvertently instead of the instant yeast. I panicked initially but i read online that it might not matter much other than longer risings. But it made no difference in the amount of time it took to let sponge and dough rise. But i made sure temperature was between 75F and 85F using my trick of warming oven for a few minutes at 350F and then let oven door open until my thermomether shows a reading of 75-85 when door is closed. Also, i used the windowpane test both before adding butter (i read it is best to develop the gluten before adding butter and maybe this is whay you meant in your explanation as to why you were adding the butter last); and after adding it all. I also found it took me 1 minute or 2 not 30 seconds to mix each piece of butter before adding the next one. I might have added butter in maybe 7-8 installments, for lack of a better expression. Thanks so much. Cant wait to make it again for my next brunch party.

  7. Joe, i meant to say i placed dough in oven during rising period. Also my mom not mol lol came over to eat some.

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