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Gateau Bernard

  • 3½ hours
  • 30-35 minutes
  • 12
Gateau Bernard

There are three steps involved in making this special cake; the yeast-rich base, the custard cream and the nutty topping. The cake should be made on the day, or the day before serving, while the other two components can be prepared up to two days in advance.


  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 2 tblsp sugar
  • 1½ tsp acive dried yeast
  • 3¾ cups high grade flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 125 grams butter, softened

Almond Topping

  • 100 grams butter
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tblsp glucose, corn syrup or maple syrup
  • grated rind 1 lemon and grated rind 1 small orange
  • 1-1½ cups sliced almonds

Custard Cream

  • 3 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup caster sugar
  • 3 tblsp flour
  • 1 cup full cream milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence or lemon essence


  1. Stir water and 1 tblsp of sugar together until sugar dissolves. Stir in yeast and leave for 10 minutes until mixture turns frothy.
  2. Sift flour, salt and remaining sugar into a mix master fitted with a K beater. Make a well in the centre. Add frothy mixture, eggs and butter. Beat on a medium speed for 6 minutes until the dough forms a pliable mass.
  3. Turn out the dough. Place into a well-greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Stand in a warm place for 1½-2 hours or until dough has doubled in bulk. A slower rise will produce better flavour and texture.
  4. Turn the dough out, knead lightly and press into a well-greased and lined 30 cm round cake tin. Spread the slightly warm topping gently over the top of the dough. Cover the cake tin loosely with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place until the dough doubles in size again. This second rise will take about 1 hour.
  5. Bake in the middle of a 180ºC oven for 30-35 minutes or until the dough is cooked. It will be firm to the touch in the centre. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes before attempting to turn out, as the topping will be scalding hot. When cool, split in half horizontaly and fill with custard cream. Serve in wedges.

Almond Topping

  1. In a saucepan stir the butter, honey, sugar, glucose and citrus rinds over a gentle heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat and stir in the almonds. Cool. Keep in a lidded container in a cool park of the kitchen.

Custard Cream

  1. Stir yolks, sugar and flour in a saucepan. Once blended, gradually stir in milk. Stir constantly over a moderate heat until custard is very thick. Remove from heat and stir in essence. Place buttered baking paper buttered-side-down over the custard, and set to cool. Stir before using. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container if making in advance.

Cooks Tips

Use pohutukawa, manuka or rata honey for the almond topping. Corn syrup and glucose can be found in selected supermarkets, and glucose can also be bought at chemists. For a richer custard, use ½ milk and ½ cream.

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