Le Gateau Vert Technical Challenge

Love his paintings, not so much his taste in cakes. The Greak British Bake Off 2018’s Cake Week technical challenge was set by Prue Leith and it was le gâteau vert, Claude Monet’s favorite birthday cake.

This cake is super fiddly with lots of components — a pistachio marzipan, génoise sponge, crème au beurre and liquid fondant, both made with spinach water. Yep, spinach. In cake. Luckily, you don’t actually taste the spinach, it’s just seems a bit odd.

I followed Prue’s recipe to the T, just halved because I didn’t think we’d actually eat much of the cake. I also didn’t make the fondant icing as I’d rather save that icing sugar for macarons. I just made a light glaze with the spinach water and icing sugar.

And I was not wrong. Only my 4-year-old seemed to love this cake. It’s a bit too pistachio forward for my liking.


But if you love pistachios and want a bit of a challenge for your technical skills, I highly recommend giving this cake a go.


  • Grind all your pistachios first. Prue’s recipe directs you to grind pistachio’s as you get to the step, but if you grind the batches and set them aside in separate bowls, you’ll save yourself the trouble of having to clean off your food processor before each step.
  • Speaking of food processors, Prue also directs to use a blender to blitz the butter and pistachios for the crème au beurre. My food processor worked just fine.
  • When making the marzipan, add your egg whites little by little, don’t dump in the full egg white all at once. Start with half and add as needed until you have a kneadable dough. Make sure to generously dust your bench with icing sugar when kneading.
  • If you forget to soften your butter, bung it in the microwave for 10 – 15 seconds. It should still be solid with no parts melted.

Good luck! Here’s the recipe: Prue Leith’s Le Gâteau Vert.

Le Gateau Vert on a plate
Le Gateau Vert with spinach water glaze (instead of spinach water liquid fondant) and buttercream flowers (instead of fresh wild flowers).

img_27301Do you want a festive sweet bread recipe just in time for the holidays?

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Author: Jorina Fontelera

I love eating carbs, feeding people and watching the Great British Bake Off (aka in the US, the Great British Baking Show). I'll be chronicling my attempts at all the challenges per GBBO season.

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