Make Ahead

Breton ButterĀ Cake

February 10, 2013
4 Ratings
Photo by Tom Hirschfeld/foodquarterly
  • Makes 12 pieces
Author Notes

No matter how you choose to make this cake, gluten-free or not, it is delicious. It's buttery and even though it looks dense it retains a lightness. The egg and milk wash topping give the final cake a custard note that is really nice. I give you weights for the ingredients. Here is why. In the original recipe it calls for 4 cups of all-purpose flour at 475 grams. Not all flours weigh alike. Weighing out 4 cups of King Arthur Gluten Free Flour, it weighed in at 600 grams. When baking I like to use a scale. While it is backwards and I should have used less gluten free flour I didn't. I went with 600 grams of gluten free flour just to see what would happen and, again, I really liked the result. You can use either flour, it is your choice. You will also notice it calls for salted butter. That is not the norm in baking. It is not a mistake. Without the salt this cake won't be the same so purchase salted butter. —thirschfeld

What You'll Need
  • 600 grams King Arthur all-purpose gluten-free flour (4 cups) or 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 30 grams corn starch (1/4 cup)
  • 395 grams sugar (2 cups)
  • 448 grams salted butter, yes salted, soft (4 sticks)
  • 140 grams egg yolk (7 yolks)
  • 22 grams rum (2 tablespoons)
  • 1 egg yolk mixed with one tablespoon of milk
  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Sift the flour and cornstarch into the bowl of a mixer. Add the sugar and butter. Use a rubber spatula and scrape every bit of butter off the butter wrappers and put it into the bowl too. Then, using the paddle attachment, mix until combined. Add the yolks and rum. Mix till smooth.
  3. Using one of the butter wrappers grease the inside of a 9 inch ring mold that is 2 inches deep or spring form pan. If you use a spring form pan, dust it with flour after greasing and tilt and shift the pan so you get the sides dusted too. Shake out the excess.
  4. Using a spatula, scoop the batter into the mold then spread the batter out evenly. You may need to moisten the spatula with a little water to keep the dough from sticking to it.
  5. Using the tines of a fork make a cross hatch pattern on the surface of the cake. Using a pastry brush gently paint the top of the cake with the yolk and milk wash.
  6. Bake the cake for 45 minutes. Keep an eye on it and if it starts to brown to quickly reduce the heat. The top should brown and it should be firm to the touch. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool completely before removing the ring.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Nozlee Samadzadeh
    Nozlee Samadzadeh
  • olive
  • loubaby
  • EmilyNunn
  • Hina Khokhar
    Hina Khokhar

21 Reviews

Nozlee S. January 12, 2015
I got myself several pounds of Plugra for my birthday and knew I wanted a birthday cake that would feature it, so I made this! (Actually I made a half recipe by weight to fit my cake pan, using regular AP flour; it worked perfectly.) It was delicious and everyone gobbled it up, but the best part has been having the leftover squares (and they're small squares -- this stuff is RICH) with coffee in the mornings.
plainhomecook November 30, 2014
My first attempt at gluten-free baking, and I served it at Thanksgiving for GF friends, figuring that Tom would never let me down. Indeed he didn't. It was universally admired and was really good with a citrus cranberry sauce.
thirschfeld December 1, 2014
So glad it was a success!
olive July 28, 2014
Hi there---how long and at what temp would you bake this in a convection oven?
Thank you---looks delicious !!!!
loubaby March 15, 2014
I have not had good luck with this...and I am an experienced oven was on 400 mark; I cooked it 45 was very dark brown like in picture; tested dry with a skewer; cooled it in pan...and yet it was like cookie dough inside...I have a picture of it to send...the cake was certainly not done...I used the weighed flour 570 gm of all purpose--HOWEVER AFTER READING THE COMMENTS HERE I DIDN'T WEIGH THE EGG YOLKS...I ADDED LARGE 7 AS STATED.....I had to throw the whole cake out as it was completely cool upon cutting and couldn't be rebaked...I have not researched other Breton Butter Cake to compare...but won't be making this one again.
EmilyNunn January 22, 2014
I forgot about this and now I have to save it and make it!
Hina K. January 4, 2014
I am always leery to try recipes which call for such an excess of butter, sugar, and in this case, even the flour. What should I expect with this cake? An overly buttery taste? Too dense, floury? Or does it all just balance out perfectly and taste wonderful?
geugca September 21, 2013
Is a stand up mixer (paddle attachment) absolutely necessary?
LukePF September 21, 2013
It's a pretty stiff batter, as I recall. It certainly makes it EASIER, but probably not absolutely necessary as long as you're willing to invest some elbow grease. (Presumably nice rustic Breton ladies made do without the Kitchenaid too, so there's that as well...)
Marianne L. June 19, 2013
@lukePF: what are rummy figs?
LukePF June 21, 2013
Nice dried figs, chopped, rehydrated in strong Earl Grey tea, and flamed with black rum. It's a lovely luxe little thing that goes great with austere cakes like this.
Virginia C. March 18, 2013
can I omit the cornstarch and rum
LukePF February 17, 2013
This is such a lovely cake, thanks so much! I did it for a gf friend with rummy figs and it was quite the hit. I totally appreciate the weights, too, as I needed 10 large egg yolks to make the required amount. Not sure if it was the change in flour (I used Keller's C4C rather than King Arthur's gf blend), but I'd definitely bake longer at a lower temperature next time. My crust was quite browned and I ended up with a little wodge of not-quite-doneness at the center bottom. Cheers!
mainesoul February 15, 2013
What type sugar do you recommend?
thirschfeld February 16, 2013
I am not particular. I used a granulated white sugar
ATG117 February 12, 2013
Do you think this would come out well if I convert to cups. I don't have a scale. Though perhaps I should, I've never had a problem baking without it. And I bake quite often
thirschfeld February 13, 2013
Measuring cups and spoons would work.
EllnMllr February 12, 2013
When do you add the corn starch mentioned in the ingredients?
thirschfeld February 12, 2013
Sift it in the flour in step two.
Ghost H. February 12, 2013
In the writing, you mentioned of using rice flour yet in the recipe, it calls for King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour. Is what the King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour is essentially? Can I just use the same amount of straight rice flour instead?
thirschfeld February 12, 2013
I haven't made it with just rice flour so I can't say. The King Arthur flour contains potato and tapioca starch which I am sure helps to bind as does the 1/4 cup of corn starch.