Exquisite Tère Couque Recipe

Tender, melt-in-the-mouth cake with a country flavour.

Tère Couque (Tender Cake) recipe

Tère Couque (Tender Cake)

I have created this cake, inspired by the shire of Thiérache, as a premium quality cake with very well-balanced tastes and exceptional melt-in-the-mouth consistency, airy, soft and moist. Unlike other cake recipes, it is neither dry nor filling, there is no need to impregnate it with syrup, as it remains moist with a lot of flavours.

As always with this kind of cake, it is prepared the day before to be eaten. The flavours will spread and it will be much better.

The spelling of the Picard language is not definitive, the same word is often written in different ways. The word Couque (couke or kouque) comes from the Flemish koek, which shares the same origin as the English word cake that we use today. It is a general term for sweet breads made by bakers such as cakes, brioches, gingerbread… Tère or ter means tender when talking about food, like pan tère for tender bread.

Ingredients (for a 24 cm long cake tin, about 16 slices):

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 200 g all-purpose wheat flour T65 type,
  • 160 g (+15 g for the crust) quality butter with taste, cut into pieces, at room temperature and soft (having the consistency of an ointment),
  • 150 g eggs (3 medium eggs),
  • 110 g blond caster cane sugar to be ground into icing sugar (about 45 seconds in a blender/chopper),
  • 90 g fermented milk (ribot, buttermilk, elben… or mix 1/3 of milk and 2/3 of yoghurt or cottage cheese),
  • 60 g smooth liquid honey with a neutral taste,
  • 45 g corn starch,
  • 9 g vegetable oil neutral in taste,
  • 7.5 g baking powder (1 3/4 level teaspoons),
  • 1 g fine salt (1 large pinch).


    Local specialities:
  • unflavoured, but each slice is served spread with a thin layer of jam;
  • 90 g powdered hazelnuts and/or with small pieces of caramelized apples.
  • Or any other combination for a cake, for example:
  • vanilla with 5 g (1 1/4 teaspoon) of Tahitian-style powdered vanilla or 11 ml (2 teaspoons) of liquid natural vanilla extract;
  • grate 1 tonka bean (1.5 to 2 g maximum), it can be combined with the zest of a mandarin;
  • candied lemon with 100 g of candied peel and its juice in syrup, to which 5 g of corn starch has been added;
  • chocolate with 20 g cocoa powder, always to be complemented with another ingredient such as a crunchy chocolate coverture, apricot jam, cherries with kirsch…;
  • marble vanilla chocolate with 10 g cocoa powder and 2.5 g vanilla powder or 6 ml vanilla extract.

Course of the recipe:

Cake dough:

All ingredients (egg, butter, milk, flour and sugar) are at room temperature. Pour the sifted flour and soft butter into a bowl, whisk with the electric mixer at low speed for about 2 minutes (cover the bowl with a cloth, as some fine powder will escape) until the powder becomes sandy without coarse grains. Buttering the flour in this way gives an exceptional melt-in-the-mouth texture. Then add the corn starch, yeast, icing sugar, salt and powdered flavouring, whisk for 20 seconds just to distribute the material. In another large bowl, pour the fermented milk, oil, honey (warm it up to make it more liquid) and liquid flavouring, then whisk by hand to blend everything in. Pour this liquid mixture into the powders in two or three batches while whisking with an electric mixer at low speed for about 2 minutes until no lumps remain. Crack all the eggs at once and mix for about 3 minutes. Do not overwork the dough as this will make it more elastic. The texture should be smooth and creamy.

If necessary, butter and flour your mould. Fill the mould with the dough, then level and flatten the top with a spatula. For a nice crust and a plump cake, smooth the dough with a wet spatula which will delay the formation of the crust so that it becomes thinner, then, with about 15 g of butter, draw a line of butter along the top.

Baking and storage:

If necessary, place a plate under the baking tray to diffuse the heat. Bake for 55 minutes to about 1 hour at 170° (depending on the oven, pan material and flavour). Insert a pin in the centre of the cake, if it comes out dry and barely moist, it is just cooked. Take it out of the oven, wait 30 minutes and unmould it, it is very fragile, then let it cool on a rack.

Wrap it in plastic film or in an airtight box to enjoy it the next day. The cake will keep for 4 days in the refrigerator in a closed box with a paper at the bottom. It should not be allowed to dry out.

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