Bake Off 2018 reveals bizarre spinach cake technical challenge – but what exactly is le gâteau vert-vert de Claude Monet?

Discover the history of the recipe that became a favourite of painter Claude Monet: le gâteau vert

Bake Off (C4, EH)

“Cake” and “spinach” are two words that should not be seen in the same sentence, let alone the same recipe. However in The Great British Bake Off’s latest technical challenge, the contestants are tasked with quite literally mixing the two.


Introducing le gâteau vert (or green cake, in English), also known as le gâteau vert-vert de Claude Monet, as it was one of the French painter’s favourite desserts.

All the bakers were baffled by the recipe – and some by who on earth Monet was – so it was a particularly tricky technical given that the contestants were also asked to decorate the cake in the style of Monet’s water lilies painting.

But the most bewildering aspect of the entire challenge was undoubtedly the presence of spinach.

Spinach is used to colour the cake’s pistachio cream as well as its fondant frosting. To make the spinach colouring, the bakers had to blanch the spinach in boiling water, before straining the liquid and passing the spinach through a sieve to get a green purée. Delicious.

All hail The Great British Bake Off, for introducing the world to a cake we can finally pass off as healthy… sort of.

If you’re interested, a recipe can be uncovered in Claude Monet’s culinary journals. To find slightly more ‘normal’ vegetable cake recipes, head to the BBC Good Food website.


Bake Off continues on Tuesdays at 8pm on Channel 4