Le Gâteau de Famille

Recette de Mamie

This handmade coffee and cream layer cake is the French traditional family cake (Gâteau de Famille).It's mostly eaten with birthdays and special occasions but also serves as a delicious dessert!

Le Gâteau de Famille Thé Brun is a traditional French dessert that usually only grandmother makes. It’s a layered cake made from Thé Brun biscuits, strong coffee, handmade cream and topped with cocoa powder and chocolate shaves. It seems simple, but there is a reason why only grandmother make this cake…

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This is a handwritten recipe from my grandmothers sacred cookbook. Bringing her recipes back to life is a bless and brings back lots of beautiful childhood memories from France. Mamie was always in the kitchen making the most delicious food in her own traditional way. Grandmothers don’t use fancy kitchen aids like we do now. Mamie just sat on her chair at the table and made the batter with her own force using just a wooden spoon. Of course the secret ingredient was her love and full attention to make the best batter you can imagine.

How to make the batter by hand

My first try failed and got me a little upset because the recipe seemed so simple. Luckily I still have my mum to assist me on a video call and share with me how mamie made this batter smooth. The batter I made was not smooth at all. The butter didn’t mix well with the eggs and sugar, and the reason was my impatience and the kitchen aid that I used. The secret lies in leaving the butter outside for a few hours so it really gets soft. Mix the soft butter with the powdered sugar and egg yolk by hand with a wooden spoon. This took some patience and effort but it actually worked. Once the butter mix is smooth, you beat the egg white firm and add it gently by folding it bit by bit into the batter, et voilà.

Keep in mind: leave the butter outside a few hours before you start with preparing the batter. The layer cake needs to firm overnight, best is to prepare the cake the evening before or early morning if you want to serve it as a dessert.

The original recipe is made with LU Thé Brun biscuits, but here in Portugal you’ll mostly find Chiquilín Original Biscuits that are similar.

Please, find more traditional recipes from Mamie’s cookbook on the Recettes de Mamie page!

Le Gâteau de Famille

This traditional French dessert is usually only made by grandmother. It's a layered cake made from Thé Brun biscuits, strong coffee, handmade cream and topped with cocoa powder and grated chocolate.
Servings 8 people
Prep Time 30 mins
Resting time 8 hrs
Total Time 8 hrs 30 mins


  • 24 LU Thé Brun biscuits or another brand, but the same biscuits.
  • 120 grams butter softened room-temperature for a few hours
  • 2 eggs
  • 14 tsp powdered sugar
  • 1 cup of strong coffee (espresso) cooled down
  • cocoa powder and grated chocolate


  • Keep the butter out of the fridge a few hours before you start. It's very important that the butter is super soft (but not melted) so it will make a smooth batter. Prepare a cup of strong espresso and let it cool down.
  • Add the butter, powdered sugar and two egg yolks (keep the egg whites aside, to use later). Mix it with a wooden spoon until smooth.
  • Beat the egg whites firm. Add the egg white gently bit by bit to the batter and fold it. Don't beat it, it needs to stay light and fluffy.
  • Prepare a cake tin with parchment paper and grease it with a bit of butter. Dip the biscuits one by one in the coffee and create the first layer ( make sure the coffee is cold, otherwise the biscuits will break). Add a layer of cream on top and repeat until there is no biscuits and cream left and you created an even layer on top. Finish with cocoa powder and if you like you can add chocolate sprinkles or chocolate shavings. Put the cake tin in the fridge and let it harden overnight, or at least 6/8 hours. The more, the better!
  • Serve as a desert or with coffee. Bon appétit!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: birthday cakes, dessert, Recettes de Mamie, sweet

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