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Coconut Cherry Petits Gateaux

Coconut Cherry Petits Gateaux

The temperatures have dropped here in the last few days which is extremely bizarre for us this time of year. Humid is a given, hot is pretty much the norm, hotter is, well, summer. I always take the dogs out barefeet in the morning. I love to feel the dew tickling my feet and waking me up. The other morning was no exception only for the fact that my ritual was paired with a sounding "Oh la vache c’est froid" ("Holy cow, it’s cold"). Hurried my little flock back inside, made hot tea and sat with Bill with a few Coconut Cherry Petits Gateaux while he was reading the morning paper.

Obviously, I have forgotten what cold really is having been in the South so long but I actually look forward to a good wind and a cold front. I take it all in, making "cold memories" to dip into when August rolls around and I wilt going from the house to the car. Times like this usually give me an urge to make cakes and tea cakes. When I see cherries I am immediately thrown back to our house in Provence where we had two giant cherry trees giving us what seemed like a house full of fruit each year. Maybe it looked that dramatic because I was 4 and everything seems disproportioned at that age.


Yes, I know, cherry season won’t be in full force until June here but a patron asked me to come up with an anniversary dessert containing cherries. I sampled a few at the store and while they were ok, it was not something I would have spent my money on this early in May, but it was a job not a choice. I dropped by her house so she could taste them and she turned to me and said "yeah you are right, why don’t you keep them then. I am sure you’ll know how to doctor them up". Geez, thanks! I think I did allright though.

I love the fact that B indulges me in making him repeat in French all the ingredients I am using. He appeals to his inner teenager and I just about crack a rib everytime we do this. "Pour le petits gateaux" (for the tea cakes)"commence par le sucre" (start with sugar), "ajoute les oeufs" (add the eggs). It quickly became a mix of English and French: "add the lait de coco" (add the coconut milk), "now les cerises" (now the cherries). He stopped abruptly and exclaimed "you know, even in French I understand you are trying to make me eat two things I dont' care for, coconut and cherries even though it sounds way better this way!".

Ha! I did not trick him though, he likes coconut milk and he likes cooked cherries. I can’t never get him to eat them fresh from the bowl while I can go through a pound of them without fliching. Well, when these came out of the oven, he grabbed a couple and a glass of milk and went back up to his study. I only found the wrappers and a happy man later on.

Since I wanted to boost their flavor a bit, I used coconut milk instead of cow’s milk in the batter, added a drop of coconut extract and sprinkled them with chopped raw pumpkin seeds to change from pistachios.

Coconut Cherry Petits Gateaux

One year ago: Cherry Blossom and Hibiscus Macarons
Two years ago: Floating Islands

Coconut Cherry Petits Gateaux:

Makes 8 to 10

1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
2 eggs
1/2 (125ml) coconut milk
2 tablespoons (30gr) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
1 3/4 cups (220gr)all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup cherries, pitted and halved
3 tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350F and position a rack in the center. Lightly spray or butter muffin tins or cupcake molds. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or with hand held beaters) whisk together the sugar and the eggs on medium speed for 5 minutes. With the machine running on low speed, add the coconut milk, melted butter and coconut extract. Beat for a minute to incorporate all the ingredients thoroughly. Add the flour and baking powder and mix until smooth. Stop the machine and fold in the cherries with a spatula. Divide the batter between the prepared muffin tins and sprinkle with the chopped pumpkin seeds. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clear.

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Bron May 20, 2009 um 5:04 am

How envious am I over your cherries and your usual warmth and humidity, while it snows and hails down off and on here today.
Your cakes look so sweet with the baked cherry on the top too

Lisa is Bossy May 20, 2009 um 5:52 am

Ahh I too am looking forward to cherry season, Helen. And I loved reading about your little "flock". We had a guest doggie staying here last week and I DEF know the feeling. It was more like herding than anything else! 🙂

Rachelle S May 20, 2009 um 5:58 am

Beautiful!! I saw your tweet and had to come and see! =)

Irene May 20, 2009 um 6:18 am

What a lovely combination of flavors! I love the dark background in the first photo, it really communicates the whole atmosphere of your day and the comfort of sinking into a chair in the office/library with such a perfectly wrapped sweet treat. I would be a happy (wo)man too!!!

Rosa's Yummy Yums May 20, 2009 um 6:29 am

What wonderful little cakes! A great combination of ingredients…



Dominique May 20, 2009 um 6:30 am

Cherry season is just beginning here (la saison des cerises commence seulement ici). Je me rappelle de ventrées de cerises quand j’étais enfant… je grimpais dans l’arbre en j’en mangeais des kilos! depuis j’ai un lien très fort avec les cerises. Ta recette contentera certainement tous les miens également… il faut que je pense aux desserts pour ce long we de l’ascension.

Shy May 20, 2009 um 7:18 am

Hi Helen, this sounds simple and delicious. I guess I could take cherries from a jar couldnt I? :- )

Nirmala May 20, 2009 um 8:38 am

Coconut milk is my weakness and leaving the cherries apart I don’t have any other reason to not to bake these goodies this weekend. Will let you know how it turned up!

David May 20, 2009 um 9:00 am

Il fait froid?

Pas les temps des cerises?
; )

Cindy Khor May 20, 2009 um 10:08 am

aawww, that’s such a sweet conversation, and i do envy how understanding you can be towards your loved ones. the tea cakes looks lovely

Anonymous May 20, 2009 um 11:02 am

These look just lovely – and they’re really easy to veganize, too!

Unknown May 20, 2009 um 11:15 am

so so beautiful pic. and recipe sounds interesting nice color too

Kana May 20, 2009 um 11:37 am

Cherries are appearing in the markets here ( from California) and I have been fighting the urge to buy them…Beautiful dessert 🙂

Hilda May 20, 2009 um 11:45 am

I too down raw cherries by the lb even though I get a terrible tummy ache afterward but that’s how I prefer them =) Happy B. to have to put up with your culinary concoctions. Wish I had one of these now because the weather here is still crudy.

Maybe May 20, 2009 um 12:08 pm

J’adore le petit jeu avec ton mari, ça m’a fait mourir de rire car moi, c’est dans l’autre sens, je lui parle en anglais ! En tout cas, je comprends que tu n’aies retrouvé que les papiers, car ils ont l’air délicieux ces petits gâteaux !

Joyce May 20, 2009 um 12:47 pm

I love cherries! Oh I can’t wait for your book to come out. Put me on the waiting list. I so want to lock myself in the kitchen and try all of your recipes. xoxo

Helene May 20, 2009 um 12:59 pm

Shy: you could use tinned cherries. Can’t vouch for the taste but the texture should be the same.

Deeba PAB May 20, 2009 um 1:17 pm

Very pretty & warming Helen. Wrappers & a happy man is good news. I love the way that ends! I cooked cherries on top of my muffins the other day…delicious!

Patricia Scarpin May 20, 2009 um 2:56 pm

Oh, like Bron, I’m envy of those cherries – we won’t have them here until the end of the year… 🙁

The tea cakes look so adorable, Helen! I can totally see why Bill loved them so much. 🙂

Nélida May 20, 2009 um 2:59 pm


Marion May 20, 2009 um 4:05 pm

Quel bonheur de voir les cerises arriver chez le primeur, ces petits gâteaux ont l’air délicieux!

Anonymous May 20, 2009 um 4:08 pm

Love the dark setting of these pictures! You do whites as well as you do black.
The teacakes sound and look so tasty? Any chance you’d bring some more to Pilates for us?!!


Jen May 20, 2009 um 4:12 pm

With this lovely flavor combination, your gâteaux are deserving of their gift-like presentation. They are precious!

Manggy May 20, 2009 um 4:13 pm

I think I am totally one of those people who can only tolerate coconut cooked, too. But cherries… More, in any form, is always better!!! 🙂 I think you will also leave me a very happy man with these petit gateaux! 🙂

Rose May 20, 2009 um 4:29 pm

Those look delicious! Cherries & Cocounut? Yes please 🙂 Very cute story btw… I love how you write!

Alisa – Frugal Foodie May 20, 2009 um 4:34 pm

That looks incredible! And … one I can make dairy-free without too much sacrafice 🙂

karey m. May 20, 2009 um 4:41 pm


something of yours is at melissa loves today!

and i should’ve written "no no no…i am not a chef. i am an artist. only one beauty i know is both…"

{i’d mean you.}

cindy* May 20, 2009 um 4:51 pm

these look fantastic…i love the little wrappers. loving the new banner too!

cindy* May 20, 2009 um 5:00 pm

these cakes sound fantastic! i love the little wrappers, very cute. and way to trick b, though i’m sure you didn’t have to twist his arm too hard 🙂 May 20, 2009 um 5:23 pm

Beautiful! What inventive way:)

I love your Recipes,Blog
and you can visit me if I can
vist you ~:)

raych May 20, 2009 um 5:47 pm

What is it with men and not eating fresh fruit? My husband will eat plenty of fruits as long as I Do Something to them. Freeze them, blend them, bake them into something bready. I, on the other hand, can barely keep from giving myself the runs. Doctoring fruit feels like such a waste of an already-good thing.

(Also, I realize that this is the first time that I’ve ever commented on your blog, and that I’m already talking about my poops. I’m sorry. I was raised this way.)

Anonymous May 20, 2009 um 5:51 pm

gorgeous looking!

veron May 20, 2009 um 6:19 pm

Looks adorable wrapped like that…and delicious too, can’t wait to make cherry desserts. Where did you get those brown wrappers are they parchment?

Anonymous May 20, 2009 um 7:16 pm

The cherries look fantastic. It all looks delicious.

Helene May 20, 2009 um 7:46 pm

Cindy; thanks Hon. The banner has been going back and forth for the past 3 weeks because I can’t decide what I like best. Crumble, eggs, chocolate cake…! There is a dozen made so who knows, could change again!

Helene May 20, 2009 um 7:48 pm

Raych: I think there was a misunderstanding. My husband eats plenty of fresh fruit, except cherries. That’s the only one. And I had to doctor them up because they were a little bland.

Veron: Kitchen Krafts for the wrappers. They come in brown and white and are taller than here. I just trimmed them down to have more of the cake showing.

åsa – hello sugar! May 20, 2009 um 9:03 pm

i just found your blog and i’m already addicted! this sounds delicious and i love your creative presentation!

Eléonora May 20, 2009 um 9:31 pm


Unknown May 20, 2009 um 10:05 pm

Holy mama, those look amazing. I’ve been thinking about cherries ever since I watched The Witches of Eastwick and now I’m pretty sure I need to hit the farmers market and buy a giant bag. Summer must be close!

How To Eat A Cupcake May 20, 2009 um 11:21 pm

I’m dying to get my hands on some cherries that look like that! These cupcakes look wonderful! 😀

Cannelle Et Vanille May 21, 2009 um 12:06 am

I wondered how you got B to eat coconut! But you know all the tricks. The same tricks I have to use with my boys 🙂 They look delicious Helen. All I need is a big glass of milk too!

Vera May 21, 2009 um 2:18 am

Lovely dessert, Helen! And presentation is really beautiful!

Engineer Baker May 21, 2009 um 2:22 am

Love those wrappers! And while I’m not a fan of coconut, the cherry might just do it for me. I can’t wait for cherry season. Oh, and you can have your heat back – 85F in May in Wisconsin is a little bit much for me right now 🙂

Helene May 21, 2009 um 2:33 am

Caitlin: that lasted a total of 1 1/2 days…Ugh..:) What is up with this weather. Temps are back to normal. Sad me!

anna May 21, 2009 um 2:38 am

Those are precious! I saw some cherries at the store today but I resisted because I knew they’d be disappointing.

Katrina May 21, 2009 um 3:59 am

I bet the flavors of these were fabulous! I love the idea of using pumpkin seeds instead of raw pistachios. Way more economical!

Best blog ever!


Finla May 21, 2009 um 10:04 am

I have neve rmade cake with coconut milk, will surely try this, when the chery season is here.
I am also having that book from Michel roux pastry.
I love the book too.

Y May 21, 2009 um 10:44 am

I’m with you – I’d want nothing more than a huge handful of fresh cherries. The cakes look fab. I like 'petit' anything! 🙂

elly May 21, 2009 um 1:58 pm

These sound absolutely delicious, and like always, they are so lovely to look at!

Eileen May 21, 2009 um 2:39 pm

I am so ready to start baking with fresh cherries. I love this time of year.

Jayme May 21, 2009 um 4:29 pm

Helen, the flavor combination of these little cakes sounds lovely. I never would’ve thought to pair cherries and coconut!

What I really wanted to comment on was that I noticed you added links to previous posts 1 and 2 years prior – I LOVE THAT! If I’ve just never noticed it before, then excuse my blindness lol. I’m pretty sure that’s been recently added? Anyway, I think it’s great because you have such amazing recipes and pictures and now I’ll have a chance to more easily click on a current post to also see something you’ve posted previously. 🙂

Helene May 21, 2009 um 5:34 pm

Jayme Duke: if you mean within the post, it depends on the relevance of an older post to the new one. If you mean in the sidebar, that’s not me, that’s automated by Blogger.

Bonbon Oiseau May 21, 2009 um 8:17 pm

hahah…but wait! that sounds just like my french! today a very pretty little package arrived helen–i wills end you a proper thank you but…THANK YOU!!!!! i will let you know what kinds of blossomy things are so sweet to do that…

Cakebrain May 21, 2009 um 9:20 pm

It will be quite a while before cherry season here, but your pics have me hankering for summer right now! lovely gateaux pics!

Maria May 21, 2009 um 9:43 pm

I am so excited for cherry season!

The Short (dis)Order Cook May 21, 2009 um 11:54 pm

Perhaps we’re sending down to you the weather we’ve been having in NY for the past two weeks. I’ve been shivering and miserable for days on end and suddenly this week the temperatures popped into the 80s and I’m more than happy to forget the cold. You can have it!

These are so tasty looking. I love cherries and I love seeing the fun things I can do with them during cherry season (coming soon!) I also love coconut. This is worth trying.

Elyse May 22, 2009 um 5:00 am

Mmm, these little gateaux look fantastic! I love that you used coconut milk for flavor. And, I just love that the cherries bring back such wonderful memories for you. What fabulous little treats!

Julia @ Mélanger May 22, 2009 um 11:18 am

I do love cherries. I have to wait about 6 more months for them to appear here – autumn here right now. But I do LOVE cherries.

Lori May 22, 2009 um 12:17 pm

Petit Gateaux, I love those words!

I think you did good too. Can you send me one so I can be completely sure? 😉

Angie May 22, 2009 um 4:53 pm

These are delicious! I have made them twice since you posted the recipe once as is and once veganized. 🙂 Both ways were wonderful and a great way to use up less than perfect cherries.

Thank you!

Barbara May 22, 2009 um 6:14 pm


Anonymous May 22, 2009 um 6:53 pm

Lovely as always! I’d love to learn how to make the cute liners, though… What kind of paper did you use?

Helene May 23, 2009 um 4:24 am

Angie: wow! Thank you for telling me that! Love that you made them twice already!!

thecookieshop: they are from They are about 2 inches taller than the ones pictured here but I cut them to fit the height of the cakes for the pictures.

Jamie May 23, 2009 um 11:08 am

LOL! Franglais is what we speak at home 🙂

I adore anything with cherries and this sounds fab with the coconut milk. Very pretty, too.

Half Baked May 23, 2009 um 2:50 pm

I’m so jealous of your cherries! I wish we could grow them in our area but oh well. I guess I’ll just have to drool over your beautiful petits gateaux:)

icandy… May 23, 2009 um 3:24 pm

Yummy! 🙂

La Cuisine d'Helene May 23, 2009 um 4:51 pm

Totallement délicieux. Tu es bien chanceuse d’avoir des cerises. Que j’aime tes photos. Passe un bon week-end.

unconfidentialcook May 23, 2009 um 6:27 pm

I can’t wait for the cherries to arrive. These are so gorgeous…

Dolcienonsolo May 23, 2009 um 9:22 pm

mamma mia che bontà

Ash May 23, 2009 um 9:28 pm

What a delight! Great Stuff!

Celeste May 23, 2009 um 10:11 pm

This looks scrumptious!!! I have a bowl of fresh cherries sitting in my fridge…I can’t wait to use them up!

nora@ffr May 24, 2009 um 12:25 pm

stunning photography!! keep it up.. m craving for these yummy foods

Anonymous May 24, 2009 um 1:35 pm

Just checking, you mean gm grams not gr grains?

Helene May 24, 2009 um 1:43 pm

Anonymous: yes, there are to commonly used abbreviations for grams "gr" or "gm". Grains would have no significance here.

Brisbane forklifts May 25, 2009 um 1:42 am

cant help while reading your blog makes me feel so hungry..

Angie May 25, 2009 um 4:24 am

Thanks for throwing this contest!

leeangeli@yahoo dot com

Julie May 25, 2009 um 3:32 pm

It looks so delicious…Miaaaam

The Prudent Homemaker May 27, 2009 um 5:10 am

I saw the title of this and in my head came the words of the old song "Le Temps de Cerise." I used to sing it to the people at a retirement home in Geneva.

My little tree only had 6 cherries this year, and I snatched them a little early, because last year the birds came and ate them all. They were a tad tart still, just turning to sweetness. I gave the children each one and I had one.

Perhaps in a few years my tree will be big enough, and by then I’ll get a net to cover it!

And then I’ll make lovely cherry deserts, if we have any cherries left after we’ve eaten from the tree!

forklifts hire October 18, 2010 um 4:12 am

My eldest made your Coconut Cherry Petits Gateaux (he called them coconut tea cakes)for a year 10 food technology assignment at school recently and got an A+.

P.S I've been dying to try and make your cherry, rose, coconut ice cream. My boss says if he catches me on this site again I'll have to cook the whole workshop something delicious for lunch tomorrow.

Forklift Courses Sydney January 14, 2011 um 2:40 am

One of my colleagues put me onto your blog and great recipes and love them!

I struggle to get cherries and other ingredients fresh enough to do some of them justice though.

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