Julia Child is Genius

Julia Child’s Potato Cake Recipe


  • 4 pounds boiling potatoes, thinly sliced (food processor works well)
  • 2 sticks butter, melted
  • Salt/pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Clarify the butter (melt and let the white pieces move to the top). Using a basting bulb, squeeze the end of it in the clear butter — use only this — otherwise the potatoes will stick.

In a 10-inch cast iron skillet or other very heavy pan, put in 1/4 cup clarified butter, arrange potato slices around the pan, covering the bottom in a design. Salt and pepper the potato layers, pouring on a bit more butter, then salt/pepper and arrange two other layers. Continue layering the potatoes, butter, salt/pepper, until the potatoes are all used. Take a smaller pan with a flat bottom and press down to compress the potatoes into a cake.

Put in the oven for 20 minutes. (As a safety precaution, put something under the potatoes to catch any butter that may spatter.) Remove from the oven and press down on the potatoes again. Return to the oven for 25 more minutes. Remove to compess the layers again. You can return for 5 more minutes or, if you need to bake something in the oven, finish the potatoes over the burner on low, until the main dish is cooked. Invert onto plate and cut into wedges.
(From Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume Two, Julia Child)

Jeff and I took on an entire menu from Mastering the Art of French Cooking (MAoFC) this past weekend. It was AMBITIOUS….as an understatement of the year. I’m posting what recipes I can find online, because I simply cannot type 12 pages of how to make French Bread….but trust me pick up copies of MAoFC..1 & 2….it’s a bible, and highly worth it!


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