History of Tarte Tatin Cake

Tarte Tatin is a famous French pastry that originated in the 1880s. It’s a classic French dessert that is made with caramelized apples and a buttery, flaky crust. The history of Tarte Tatin cake is both interesting and delicious. In this article, we will explore the origin, ingredients, recipe, and the evolution of this amazing pastry.

1. Origins of Tarte Tatin

The origin of Tarte Tatin cake can be traced back to the 19th century, in the Sologne region of France. It is believed that the dessert was created accidentally by two sisters, Stéphanie and Caroline Tatin, who ran a hotel called Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron. The hotel was well known for its delicious food, especially its apple pie.

2. The Tatin Sisters and the Creation of Tarte Tatin

According to the legend, Stéphanie Tatin was making an apple pie one day when she accidentally left the apples and butter cooking for too long. In an attempt to save the dessert, she put the pastry on top of the apples and baked it in the oven. When she took it out of the oven and flipped it over, she realized that the apples had caramelized and formed a delicious layer on top of the pastry. The Tatin sisters soon began serving the dessert as their signature dish, and it became known as Tarte Tatin.

3. The Evolution of Tarte Tatin Recipe

Over the years, the Tarte Tatin recipe has evolved, with variations using different fruits and fillings. Some people add cinnamon or vanilla to the filling, while others add cream or ice cream on top. However, the basic recipe has remained the same: caramelized fruit, baked with a buttery pastry crust.

4. Ingredients for Tarte Tatin Cake

The ingredients for Tarte Tatin cake are simple and can be found in most kitchens. You will need:

  • 6-8 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry

5. Recipe for Tarte Tatin Cake

Here is a simple recipe for making Tarte Tatin cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. In a 10-inch oven-proof skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.
  3. Add the sugar and cook until the mixture is a dark amber color, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove from heat and add the apple slices, arranging them in a circular pattern.
  5. Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and cut it to fit the skillet.
  6. Place the pastry over the apples and tuck in the edges.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.
  1. Let the tart cool for 5 minutes, then carefully invert it onto a serving platter.
  2. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

6. Tips for Making Tarte Tatin Cake

  • Use a good-quality, heavy-bottomed skillet to ensure even cooking.
  • Use a mix of sweet and tart apples for the best flavor.
  • Make sure the caramel is dark amber in color to ensure a rich, deep flavor.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut the apples evenly.
  • Allow the tart to cool for a few minutes before inverting it onto the serving platter.

7. Serving Tarte Tatin Cake

Tarte Tatin cake is best served warm with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. The warm, gooey apples and flaky crust make for a delicious dessert that is sure to impress your guests.

8. Variations of Tarte Tatin Cake

While the classic Tarte Tatin cake is made with apples, there are many variations of this delicious dessert. Some popular variations include:

  • Pear Tarte Tatin
  • Peach Tarte Tatin
  • Tomato Tarte Tatin
  • Onion Tarte Tatin

9. Tarte Tatin Cake in Modern Times

Tarte Tatin cake remains a popular dessert in France and around the world. It is often served in fine dining restaurants and is a favorite of home bakers as well. Tarte Tatin competitions are held annually in France, where bakers compete to create the best Tarte Tatin cake.

10. Health Benefits of Tarte Tatin Cake

While Tarte Tatin cake is not exactly a health food, it does have some nutritional benefits. Apples are a good source of fiber and vitamin C, and the buttery pastry provides energy and a sense of satisfaction. Just remember to enjoy Tarte Tatin cake in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

11. Tarte Tatin Cake in Popular Culture

Tarte Tatin cake has been featured in many movies and TV shows over the years. It was prominently featured in the movie “Chocolat” and has been mentioned in many other movies and TV shows.

12. Tarte Tatin Cake Around the World

Tarte Tatin cake has become a popular dessert around the world, with variations and adaptations in many different countries. In the United States, it is often served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, while in Japan it is sometimes made with Asian pears.

13. Common Mistakes to Avoid When Making Tarte Tatin Cake

  • Overcooking the caramel, which can lead to a burnt flavor.
  • Using the wrong type of apples, which can result in a mushy texture.
  • Not letting the tart cool before flipping it over, which can cause it to fall apart.


Can I use frozen puff pastry for Tarte Tatin cake?

Yes, frozen puff pastry can be used, just make sure to thaw it before using.

Can I make Tarte Tatin cake ahead of time?

Yes, Tarte Tatin cake can be made ahead of time and reheated before serving.

Can I use brown sugar instead of white sugar for the caramel?

Yes, brown sugar can be used, but it will result in a slightly different flavor.

Can I use a different type of fruit for Tarte Tatin cake?

Yes, other fruits such as pears or peaches can be used.

Is Tarte Tatin cake difficult to make?

Tarte Tatin cake is not difficult to make, but it does require some care and attention to ensure the caramel doesn’t burn and the pastry is cooked evenly.


Tarte Tatin cake is a classic French dessert that has been enjoyed for over a century. Its origins may be shrouded in mystery, but its delicious flavor and beautiful presentation have made it a favorite of home bakers and fine dining restaurants around the world. With a few simple ingredients and some careful attention, anyone can make a perfect Tarte Tatin cake.

I'm Jennifer Tirrell, a self-taught baker, and founder of CakeRe. As an experienced baker and recipe publisher, I have spent over a decade working in the kitchen and have tried and tested countless baking tools and products. From classic cakes to creative twists, I've got you covered. So grab your apron and let's get baking!

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