Thought to have been brought to France by Napoleonic soldiers retreating from battle in Eastern Europe, gateau à la broche, or cake on a spit, has become a Hautes-Pyrénées tradition.
Made by pouring layers of batter on a rotating conical-shaped mould over an open fire, the cake on a spit, called le gâteau à la broche in French, is a typical Eastern European recipe. But according to legend, when Napoleon’s soldiers were withdrawing from their invasion of Russia in 1812, they brought it back with them to France. There, the recipe had been transmitted orally, with no written record of the original version. Although the cake is considered rare, according to Slow Food, the tradition is alive and well in two French regions: Hautes-Pyrénées and Aveyron.