Monday, June 6, 2011

Gâteau Breton

I remember... more than 15 years back, I've tasted this famous Brittany butter cake, Gâteau Breton. This cake has a wonderful hybrid texture of shortbread and a butter cake. At that time, my husband and I were still dating and he bought me this cake all way from Brittany for me and my family.

Since then, I have not been thinking of making this cake until 2 of my baking friends, Lena from Frozen Wings and Joyce from Kitchen Flavours suggested baking this cake for our bake-along.

From my memory of this cake, I prefer this cake to have a moist crumby texture rather than a biscuit-y one and so I've added more water accordingly to Rose's minor instructions and the cake is indeed very lovely.



Here's the recipe from Rose’s Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum
(with my minor modifications in blue)

serves 10 – 12
42g (1/2 cup) blanched sliced almonds (I use almond meal)
150g (3/4 cup) superfine sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
255g (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter *see my notes
74g (from about 4 large eggs) egg yolks, at room temperature
15g (1 tablespoon) kirsch, dark rum, or water
1 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
250g plain flour
1 whole egg, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Bake almonds for 7 minutes or until pale gold. Cool completely then place in a food processor and process the almonds with 1/4 cup of the sugar until fairly fine but not powder fine.
(By using almond meal, I skipped this step of processing almond and replaced this amount of sugar with icing sugar. I mixed the toasted almond meal and icing sugar thoroughly when the toasted almond meal was completely cooled.)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with flat beater, mix the remaining sugar, salt and the butter on medium speed for about 1 minute until smooth and creamy.

Beat in the yolks, 1 at a time, beating for about 20 seconds between each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add the almond mixture, water, and vanilla and mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened.

Raise the speed to medium and beat for about 20 seconds until evenly incorporated. Add the flour in four parts, beating on the lowest speed for about 15 seconds and turning off the mixer between additions.

Use a spatula to finish mixing in any flour that remains unincorporated. (Instead of using the mixer, I prefer to fold the flour using the spatula to avoid over-mixing.)

Scrape the batter into a greased and lightly floured fluted tart pan with removable bottom (size: 9 1/2 inch by 1 3/8 inch).

With the beaten egg, brush the top of the cake well, using a little less than 1 tablespoon.
Use the tines of a fork to make a crosshatch pattern on top. The fork lines help prevent the batter from puffing up unevenly.

Bake the cake for 35 – 45 minutes, or until a deep golden brown and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center.

Let the cake cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving plate. Cool completely

* My notes: 

The butter that I used (Lurpak) has a 82% fat content.

Accordingly to book, butter that is 80% fat contains 2 tbsp more water than 86% fat butter which result in slightly moister crumb. For this reason, I've added 6 tsp water for the 82% fat butter used in order to achieve a moist version of this cake.

Instead 9 1/2 inch suggested by Rose, I've used 19 cm by 2 cm tart pan and made the tart with 60% of the ingredients in this recipe.

Happy Baking
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  1. What a lovely texture... Cake looks moist and yet crumbly... Would love to have some now...

  2. zoe, i've not been able to leave comment on your blog . . hopefully this time i can. anyways, the cake look really FANTASTIC! the texture is simply awesome!

  3. That looks like buttery heaven. It must be so deliciously rich.

  4. Wow!!! Just drooling.... The 3rd pic is so tempting that I feel I'll just grab it off... First time here and loved ur blog... Following u...

  5. Looks that texture....

  6. Highly addictive and extremely irresistible gateau it.

  7. This looks amazing, I have not had butter cake yet. I saw Lena's cake and I had to stop by here and see yours too. I love the texture here, it looks so inviting.

  8. Hi, this cake sure have some special memories for you! :)
    I like it too much, that I was tempted to bake it again! Looking forward to our next bake-along!

  9. I was just at Lena's blog and I thought this cake look more like a pie because of the topping. Very nice concept of baking along.

  10. I love the texture of this cake- it's so different to all the cakes I'm used to! And it looks delicious too! If you hadn't cut the cake, I would have thought this was an apple pie or some sort of tart! haha...

  11. looks delicate and fine-crumbed...I have this recipe bookmarked, but have procrastinated making it. another fellow baker also strongly recommend this recipe. what was I thinking man? hahaha

  12. hmm, those were the sweet memories and now you can proudly tell your hubby that you're making this cake for him!If one day i get to try this cake from france, i think i will think of you and joyce!

  13. Would love to taste this, a cross between butter cake and shortbread. Let's see whether ths comment goes through. I have trouble commenting on your blog.

  14. Looks like a dense heavy kind of cake. Should be quite satisfying.

  15. Sweetylicious and Cheah: Thanks for letting me know the "commenting" problem. I hope it will be fixed. Being able to read your comments now, it's seem ok now.

  16. love the fluffiness of this deliciously looking cake looks wonderful

  17. I saw this lovely cake on Joyce's blog too, and yours looks just as delicious. It would be the perfect treat to have with a cup of tea. :)

  18. You are always presenting me with foods I've never heard of. This sounds so delicious! Butter and cake, mmm.

  19. Hi, this looks delicious. I will definitly try it.

    All the best,

  20. Such great photos! I can really see the fabulous texture! I'm sure they're delicious!

  21. so sweet of your husband to have brought back the cake from france!

    ive heard of this cake before but i think this is the first time ive seen it - looks good would some coffee esp with the tiny crumbs!

  22. It does looks very scrumptious! Lovely texture:)

  23. Thats a lovely gateau breton with a nice golden hue.

    I have tried this recipe and it works wonder. Love the aroma of butter + rum + almonds. Very fragrant!

  24. I've already bookmarked this. Will try it one of these day. thanks!