Gateau Breton


It’s been a while! Sorry. It’s been busy here, I’ve worked a lot, have been away to see my family, and it’s left very little time for baking things.

So today I made one of my favourite things: Gateau Breton, or butter cake, or if you’re Dutch boterkoek. I haven’t had this in many years and a few weeks ago I was in a restaurant in Amsterdam and they had it on their dessert menu and I just knew I had to make it. It’s undoubtedly one of the most unhealthy things you ever put through your mouth, and you should only have small servings as it’s rich!

It’s basically butter, sugar, flour and egg yolk. Sound nice? This is the recipe (from Nigella Lawson’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess):

Gateau Breton

225g plain flour, preferably Italian 00
250g caster sugar
250g unsalted butter cut into cubes (get the best quality you can afford, it will make a difference)
6 large egg yolks

1 x 25cm springform tin, buttered well (and I would put some baking paper on the base; I didn’t and it’s now stuck to the tin, whoops)

1 teaspoon of yolk from your 6
1 tablespoon of water

1. Preheat oven to 190°C/gas mark 5. Mix the glaze and put aside while you get on with your gateaux.

2. Put the flour in a bowl (I never bother to sieve 00 flour because it’s so finely milled, but if you’;re using regular plain flour then do so), stir in the sugar and add butter and yolks.

3. With the dough hook attachment of the mixer, slowly whirr till you’ve got a smooth golden dough. If you’re making this by hand. make a mound of the flour on a worktop , then make a well in it and add the sugar, butter and eggs and knead to mix.

4. Scoop this dough into the tin, and smooth the top with a floured hand: expect it to be very sticky; indeed it should be.

5. Brush gateau with the glaze, and mark a lattice pattern design on top with the prongs of a fork. For a reason I am not technically proficient enough to explain, sometimes the tine marks leave a firm, striated imprint; at others, they barely show once the cake’s cooked (mine didn’t show, oh well).

6. Bake for 15 minutes then turn the oven down to 180 C/gas mark 4 for 15 min and give it another 25 minutes or so until it’s golden at the top and firm to the touch.

7. Let it cool completely in the tin before unmoulding it. It will keep well if you’ve got a reliably airtight tin. when you come to eat it, either cut it in traditional – though slightly narrower – cake-like wedges or, as I prefer if I’m eating it at the end of dinner, criss-cross making irregularly shaped diamonds.

Serves 8-10 (It will serve probably double as it’s so rich!)

Making it and eating a wedge, brought me right back to my childhood. The ultimate comfort food on a wet day like this. It was accompanied by a mug of hot chocolate in the new mug and wee plate MrFoxyBakes bought for me in Amsterdam. It’s by Blond, in case you like the funky drawings…


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