tarte au sucre

Tarte au Sucre

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I know some of you are making New Years resolutions to avoid all carbs and/or sugar, but consider this recipe for one of your cheat days. This tarte au sucre is a wonderfully simple and classic afternoon treat many French children grow up eating after a day of school.

Tarte au sucre

Like a tarte tropezienne, which is a brioche cake filled with custard, this tarte au sucre derives much of its sweetness from one particular component in the dish.

In a tarte tropezienne, that sweetness comes from the custard filling. In a tarte au sucre, the sweet factor happens to be the caramelized sugar topping.

Unlike an American cake, this tart’s “cake” layer is really just a yeast dough with minimal sweetness. That’s why this tarte is enjoyed as a sweet snack after school (or mid-workday) rather than a decadent dessert after a meal. 

tarte au sucre

The great thing about the dough for this tart is that you really don’t need to knead it very long. Instead, it’s more about stirring the ingredients together, which includes a dash of [easyazon_link identifier=”B000WR8THC” locale=”US” tag=”monpetitfour-20″]orange extract[/easyazon_link] and a pinch of orange zest, until a wet, sticky dough forms rather than any real folding technique.

The orange flavors are subtle but add a touch of brightness to the tart and round out the buttery flavor. The dough rests until it’s expanded in size, and then it’s simply flipped out into a prepared pan and stretched to reach the edges of the pan.

The glorious sugar topping is sweet and crisp, and is created with a mere sprinkling of [easyazon_link identifier=”B006GHVOX8″ locale=”US” tag=”monpetitfour-20″]brown sugar[/easyazon_link] and cubes of butter, evenly dispersed along the top.

tarte au sucre tarte au sucre

Once baked, the dough transforms into this buttery, quick bread-like layer but with all the flavor and carb-goodness you get from the [easyazon_link identifier=”B0014CTFU4″ locale=”US” tag=”monpetitfour-20″]yeast[/easyazon_link].

The sugar and butter on top bubble and brown until they’re transformed into a brûlée-reminiscent topping. It’s just the kind of treat that you can enjoy during the middle of the day without feeling like you’ve gone too far on a sugar rampage.

I think these French people are totally onto something… 

tarte au sucre

Tarte au Sucre

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

A fragrant and sweet cake made with yeast dough and a caramelized, crisp topping. 


  • 6.5 tbsp unsalted butter, ~ 90 g, softened and diced
  • 1.75 tsp active dry yeast, 5 g
  • 3.5 tbsp warm milk, 5 cl, 105°F - 110°F
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, 250 g, plus more as needed to shape
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar, 30 g
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp orange extract, optional
  • 1 tsp orange zest

for the topping

  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, diced
  • cup brown sugar, about 1/3 or ~ 40 g, to sprinkle on top


  1. Pour the warm milk over the yeast in a small bowl. Don’t stir; let the yeast rest in the milk for about 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the all-purpose flour, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the dry ingredients; add the egg yolks, yeast-milk mixture, orange extract, and orange zest to this well. Stir together until the wet and dry ingredients are combined.
  3. Stir the softened butter into the dough and knead for approximately 5 minutes until a sticky dough forms. Add all-purpose flour to the dough, if needed, to try and form a compact ball shape. (note: dough should remain wet and sticky, though)
  4. Grease a large bowl before placing the dough ball into it. Cover the bowl with a sheet of plastic wrap, then store the dough in a warm place for 1 to 1/2 hours. The dough should expand in size (almost double the original size).
  5. Preheat the oven to 360°F. Grease a 9 or 10 inch cake-pan. Turn the dough out into your prepared pan. Use your fingers to gently press the dough out in the pan so that it’s evenly spread out all the way to the edges of the pan.
  6. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly all over the top of the dough. Disperse the diced butter all over the top. Bake the cake for about 25 to 30 minutes, until the top has gotten golden brown and caramelized. Best served warm.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 8 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 323
tarte au sucre

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  1. I am one of those people who are supposed to be on a no sugar/low carb diet but I keep cheating and I will continue to cheat by making this cake! hahaha! Seriously, I love orange flavors in a cake so I will make this and eat it for breakfast, then eat some more as an afternoon snack, then eat even more for dessert. 🙂

  2. Gorgeous Beeta! Love that brown sugar crumble! I have never had tarte au sucre before, I love visiting your blog because I always learn about so many amazing French-inspired treats and eats!

    1. Aww, thank you so much, Jessica! I love that I’m able to share my favorite French treats here with you all <3

    1. Lol, right?? I never got treats like this after school! French kids are so lucky <3 Thanks love!

  3. OMG, I want to eat this tarte ALL day on my cheat day! This is not only gorgeous, Beeta is looks seriously delicious! LOVE the touch of orange going on here! Worth every single calorie, and then some, I am sure! Drooling! Cheers, my dear! xo

    1. Thank you so much, Angela! It’s such a easy dish to prepare, and the sugar topping is divine! 🙂

  4. Je suis prête à laisser les nouvelles résolutions de côté et essayer cette délicieuse tarte au sucre! Elle pareil si gourmande et appétissante ! Mes enfants aussi aimeraient la goûter ! xo

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