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Old 04.02.2013, 15:43
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Question Re: Baking with French Measures

Calling all bakers --

I have a recipe for a chocolate cake that I would like to prepare; it is written in French. It calls for "3 grosses cuillères à soupe de farine." I understand that a "cuillère à soupe" would be equivalent to a tablespoon, or 14.3 grams.

My question concerns the word "grosses", or "large" in this recipe; is this indicated on the recipe only to distinguish that the size of the spoon is bigger in comparison to the "cuillère à café" or does it indicate the need for what I would call a "heaping tablespoon"? That would be a considerable difference in quantity compared to leveling the tablespoon (which I would always do in baking unless otherwise instructed).

Merci beaucoup!
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Old 04.02.2013, 15:47
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Re: Question Re: Baking with French Measures

I would say that is a heaped table-spoon. Or it could mean a large table-spoon (as opposed to a small table-spoon, possibly).

I'm not helping matters much, am I?
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Old 04.02.2013, 15:54
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Re: Question Re: Baking with French Measures

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I would say that is a heaped table-spoon. Or it could mean a large table-spoon (as opposed to a small table-spoon, possibly).

I'm not helping matters much, am I?
Maybe not, but I will thank you for trying!

I am thinking that I may need to just try one way or the other; I will probably give it a go with less flour for the first go-round as too-gooey chocolate cake is preferable to that which is a bit overly dry.

Obviously there is not much flour in this cake to begin with, so I will probably be okay either way.
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Old 04.02.2013, 15:57
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Re: Question Re: Baking with French Measures

Online it says 1 grosses cuillères à soupe is about 50-60 grammes.

However, I took out one of my old soup spoons (which are quite big compared to the tablespoons sold these days) and 1 heaping tablespoon of flour is only 36 grams.

What are you making?
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Old 04.02.2013, 15:59
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Re: Question Re: Baking with French Measures

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Online it says 1 grosses cuillères à soupe is about 50-60 grammes.

However, I took out one of my old soup spoons and 1 heaping tablespoon of flour is only 36 grams.

What are you making?
Maybe they mean a soup ladel then?
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Old 04.02.2013, 16:01
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Re: Question Re: Baking with French Measures

I am not positive, but I think this just means plain old tablespoon (as opposed to teaspoon).

To clarify: grosses cuillère vs petite cuillère being my frame of reference. Also, I thought a tablespoon of flour was 7.8 g, and butter was around 14 g...

Last edited by 3Wishes; 04.02.2013 at 16:05. Reason: clarifying, sort of
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Old 04.02.2013, 16:02
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Re: Question Re: Baking with French Measures

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Online it says 1 grosses cuillères à soupe is about 50-60 grammes.

However, I took out one of my old soup spoons and 1 heaping tablespoon of flour is only 36 grams.

What are you making?
It is a chocolate cake which is supposed to turn out firm on the outside (a bit crisp but gives way under a spoon) but still soft and gooey in the middle.

I just measured and my leveled tablespoon of flour (using my measuring spoons from the US) gave me only about 10 grams of flour, whereas a "heaping tablespoon" yielded about 20 grams.
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Old 04.02.2013, 16:07
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Re: Question Re: Baking with French Measures

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Maybe they mean a soup ladel then?
I was just thinking that. My grandmother had a big spoon she used to serve with. It looked like a big soup spoon. Not ladel shaped.

I found two conversion sites that list 50-60 grams.
http://www.epeautre.ca/table-de-conversion/
http://www.lesfoodies.com/dianeange/...-de-conversion


And one that calls for 2 grosses cuillères à soupe and lists that closer to my measure at 75 grams
http://www.france3.fr/emissions/les-...e-monique_7863


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It is a chocolate cake which is supposed to turn out firm on the outside (a bit crisp but gives way under a spoon) but still soft and gooey in the middle.

I just measured and my leveled tablespoon of flour (using my measuring spoons from the US) gave me only about 10 grams of flour, whereas a "heaping tablespoon" yielded about 20 grams.
I know a US table spoon is not a big soup spoon. It's just a regular soup spoon.
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Old 04.02.2013, 16:21
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Re: Question Re: Baking with French Measures

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I was just thinking that. My grandmother had a big spoon she used to serve with. It looked like a big soup spoon. Not ladel shaped.

I found two conversion sites that list 50-60 grams.
http://www.epeautre.ca/table-de-conversion/
http://www.lesfoodies.com/dianeange/...-de-conversion


And one that calls for 2 grosses cuillères à soupe and lists that closer to my measure at 75 grams
http://www.france3.fr/emissions/les-...e-monique_7863




I know a US table spoon is not a big soup spoon. It's just a regular soup spoon.
I was always taught as a kid in the US never to use any table utensils to measure for cooking (particularly for baking due to its need for precision) as in the US they were not uniformly sized.

So when I refer to my US measuring spoons, I mean these (clearly not meant for eating! ):



The far right one would be the "tablespoon" measure.

I just weighed a quarter cup of flour and it comes to 60 grams. Now I am really confused.

Last edited by Textoch; 04.02.2013 at 17:13.
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Old 04.02.2013, 16:31
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Re: Question Re: Baking with French Measures

Well, okay shame on the French for giving you such unspecific instructions. In my experience, more flour = drier cake. I would adjust flour according to the wet ingredients (eggs, melted chocolate, milk, or whatever). Give it a whirl with your best judgment and post a pic to let us know how it went!

Edit: When referring to teaspoon or tablespoon, I am talking about those nice little metal measuring thingies posted in the photo by OP. If you Google "how much does a tablespoon of flour weigh" you'll get 7.8 g. So for this recipe I'd say use 23.4 g of flour.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 04.02.2013 at 16:48. Reason: further clarity, I hope
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Old 04.02.2013, 16:43
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Re: Question Re: Baking with French Measures

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I am not positive, but I think this just means plain old tablespoon (as opposed to teaspoon).
Pretty much, yes. But not just a dessert spoon, but what we would have called a serving spoon when I was a kid. Certainly expect it to be much bigger than what we in the UK would call a soup spoon, meaning the circular one you're supposed to daintily pour between your lips rather than put into your mouth.

But yes, the 'grosse' refers to the spoon, not to how full, or heaped, it would be.
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To clarify: grosses cuillère vs petite cuillère being my frame of reference. Also, I thought a tablespoon of flour was 7.8 g, and butter was around 14 g...
Maybe, but why convert to weight? Just get a decent sized spoon and use it. As it happens, I always thought of a tablespoon as 15ml, which would be 15g of water, but the weight in flour would vary tremendously with humidity and how fine a grind it is.

But unlike many US recipes, volume measures would not normally be used if the exact quantity was critical to success, where a weight measure would nearly always be used.

I tend to think of such things as something like my normal measure of 'some'. For instance, if I'm coating chopped up meat with seasoned flour, I need 'some' flour - just enough to coat the meat, which will depend on how finely it's chopped and how wet it is. I wouldn't dream of measuring it, either by weight or volume, but an approximation like this in a recipe gives a rough idea to start from.
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Old 04.02.2013, 16:57
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Re: Question Re: Baking with French Measures

A french soup spoon and an american tablespoon are not the same. A french soup spoon is 2 to 3 times the size, especially if you are using traditional, "handed down through the ages" recipes. Your recipe is calling for heaping soup spoons, so I would use between 2 to 3 times more flour, i.e. 6 to 9 american tablespoons.

I love to cook and bake. I found, after my french improved enough, that it really helped to buy cookbooks in french and just abandon my US cookbooks. The ingredients are always at hand, the measurements don't require translation and the food comes out better.

You can even improve your french by learning through cookbooks! The best cookbook I have found for traditional recipes is "La Bonne Cuisine Francaise" by Marie Claude Bisson, circa 1981. I found it at a brocante faire and it is the bomb.
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Old 04.02.2013, 17:13
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Re: Question Re: Baking with French Measures

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So when I refer to my US measuring spoons, I mean these (clearly not meant for use to eat! ):
The far right one would be the "tablespoon" measure.
I know what you mean by US tablespoon.

I'm trying to explain to you the French measure that you asked about. It is not at all the same as a US tablespoon. And I was point out that there is in fact a difference between a grosse cuillere a soup (a big soup spoon) and a cuillere a soup (a soup spoon).

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I was always taught as a kid in the US never to use any table utensils to measure for cooking (particularly for baking due to its need for precision) as in the US they were not uniformly sized.
....
I just weighed a quarter cup of flour and it comes to 60 grams. Now I am really confused.
Of course not. But the measure you gave in an "old fashion" measure. I gave a few sites that give the equivalents/conversions. But this is an approximate measure. So as 3Wishes says it's going to have to guestimated based on how much of the other ingredients there are.

Maybe give us the whole recipe and we'll work it out together.
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Old 04.02.2013, 17:48
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Re: Question Re: Baking with French Measures

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Calling all bakers --

I have a recipe for a chocolate cake that I would like to prepare; it is written in French. It calls for "3 grosses cuillères à soupe de farine."

Merci beaucoup!
I say it is a normally heaped spoon. When I learned to cook I always used heaped for dry ingredients and non heaped for liquid ingredients.

But you may compare the amount of flour with the most basic cake recipe:
Weight 5 eggs, and then use same amount of sugar, butter, and flour.
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Old 04.02.2013, 17:50
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Re: Question Re: Baking with French Measures

This is a picture of a french soup spoon which gives a weigh of 30grams of flour, heaping it came out to 36 gr. As you did, I got 19gr for a heaped US tablespoon measure.

From the link above, this is equivalent of a "1 petite cuillerée à soupe". The " grosse cuillerée à soupe" must be a bigger spoon as I heaped that spoon up as much as I could without the flour falling off and it only came to 36 grams.

Attachment 57354

Last edited by miniMia; 03.07.2014 at 13:44.
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Old 04.02.2013, 17:56
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Re: Question Re: Baking with French Measures

I would look for a better recipe!

http://www.forums.supertoinette.com/...a_cuisine.html

These are good recipes for chocolate cake,
http://www.deliaonline.com/search.ht...e+cake&x=5&y=7
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Old 04.02.2013, 18:02
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Re: Question Re: Baking with French Measures

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I know what you mean by US tablespoon.

I'm trying to explain to you the French measure that you asked about. It is not at all the same as a US tablespoon. And I was point out that there is in fact a difference between a grosse cuillere a soup (a big soup spoon) and a cuillere a soup (a soup spoon).



Of course not. But the measure you gave in an "old fashion" measure. I gave a few sites that give the equivalents/conversions. But this is an approximate measure. So as 3Wishes says it's going to have to guestimated based on how much of the other ingredients there are.

Maybe give us the whole recipe and we'll work it out together.
Sorry, miniMia, I didn't mean to insinuate that you did not know what a US tablespoon was. I actually have come across many people who grew up in the US thinking that they could use any old tablespoon in their cutlery drawer for cooking measure because they assumed they were the same. I think that this is the reason why companies marketing children's liquid concentrated medicine such as ibuprofen have rather recently begun trying to better educate parents since they were potentially over/underdosing their children. Not knowing how familiar you were with the measuring spoons since you are possibly not from the US, I was just trying to be clear with what I was using when I measured the grams of flour.

I did find a site here and here that indicated that the French soup spoon was equivalent to a US tablespoon, so that was my starting point in trying to work out the quantities using the measuring utensils I have on hand.

I understand that you mean that the word "grosse" refers to the spoon size, not to how the ingredient is in placed into it (meaning heaped or leveled).

The recipe I was going to make has quantities as follows:
150 grams of dark chocolate
150 grams butter
3 whole eggs
100 grams sugar
3 large soup spoons of flour.

The instructions in brief involve melting the chocolate and butter together, beating the eggs and sugar, then combining the two mixtures. The flour is then incorporated prior to baking.
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Old 04.02.2013, 18:09
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Re: Question Re: Baking with French Measures

I have the french version of the measuring spoons you showed, a heaped one comes to 24grams so to make what I guess is a "fendant au chocolate" 70 - 75 grams of flour sounds about right
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Old 04.02.2013, 18:11
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Re: Question Re: Baking with French Measures

Don't worry I should have put a next to my . LOL.

A modern French table spoon is probably the equivalent of a modern US tablespoon. But if they were using these old fashioned measures, I was assuming it was an old fashioned recipe (ie, grandma recipe). So the "vintage" spoon measures are probably more what they mean.

Now for the recipe.....

If you want it to be runny, like a moelleux, I'd put 65-75gr of flour. If you want it less runny, I'd go with 100gr of flour. But, if they a really are using old fashioned measures, you're talking about 120gr.

We really are NOT helping you at all! But I'll come down and test tomorrow.
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Old 04.02.2013, 18:16
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Re: Question Re: Baking with French Measures

Here is another recipe:

4 Eggs
75 g sugar
55 g almond powder
30 g flour
100 g butter
100 g dark chocolate

Beat the eggs and sugar together till pale, then whisk in the almond powder and flour, melt butter and chocolate together and mix it in to the rest of the mixture, prepare your moulds, making sure they have been buttered and floured.

And put into a pre heated oven at 200c and bake for 8-10 minutes

Last edited by SimonHicken; 04.02.2013 at 18:16. Reason: added a bit extra
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