Friday, 15 May 2009

"Cannes" I Tell You a Story About a Cake?

If you turn on the TV here in France, there's no escaping the fact that the Cannes film festival has just started.

It's wonderful seeing those archive images from past festivals and today it made us think about a cake (naturally!)

In particular, the Tarte Tropézienne. Although French pâtisserie seems to have a reputation for colour and delirious designs, this unremarkable looking pastry is unlikely to win any hearts for its looks alone.

Yet you're sure to find one in almost every bakery and supermarket in France. So how has this "Plain Jane" of a cake gone on to become such a superstar?

Miniature Tarte Tropézienne
Miniature Tarte Tropézienne

Until 1955 the cake had no name. Created by a Polish baker living in St Tropez since 1945, the cake was already popular with locals and so when the baker was hired to feed the cast and crew of "...and God Created Woman", he included it with his catering.

Each day, more and more of the cake was eaten and finally none other than Brigitte Bardot asked him what it was called. On confessing that it had no name, he asked the then unknown future starlet to name it for him. As they were filming in St Tropez she suggested the name "La Tarte de St Tropez" - to become the Tarte Tropézienne!

And just look at what it is made from...a large round brioche cut in half and filled with a crème pâtissière flavoured with orange flower water (fleur d'oranger) and kirsch. The top is sprinkled with crunchy "casson sugar". So lots of textures and divine flavours.

It's a delicious treat that has, despite its unremarkable appearance, has quite rightly earned its place amongst the classics of French pâtisserie.


  1. I love it. There is a bakery which makes it and it's truly pure delight. I could eat one whole by myself.
    BTW I'm trying to make my trip to SIMP. Cross fingers for me!

  2. Thank you for this piece! I love this cake but always forget the name. I will now definitely remember the story of how it was coined.

  3. Elizabeth,

    You might also enjoy this piece that we wrote about another classic French pastry, the "Saint-Honoré"

    See the article