I didn't really plan it this way, because I didn't know what either the trifle or the gâteau breton would taste like, but it ended up being a perfect, and instructive, pairing. The trifle was fussy, demanding, time-consuming--and delicious. The gâteau was simple, basic, quick--and delicious. Both quintessentially French in very different ways. Like the trifle, this Gâteau Breton was very photogenic. Everyone turned out a beautiful product, and even when almost the only variable was the fork pattern on top, people still managed to make the dessert uniquely their own.
Jill made hers in long, rectangular tart pans, which somehow made them look even more French. ButterYum did a crosshatch on the diagonal, which made for an avant-garde take on a traditional form. Mendy wrote in "secret code"--take a look! And Lois went in a completely different direction, ignoring the whole crosshatch theme and baking hers in individual Mini-bundt pans--a lovely result.
Rozanne's pattern became almost a plaid, which she baked for her mother on Mother's Day. Very nice--some people had to bake their own Mother's Day Cake. Not that these people would be complaining.
More than one person remarked that because this cake looked unfamiliar, other people didn't necessarily recognize it as exceptional, but at Kristina's workplace, people stood in line for it.
Katya described it as "deceptively simple," and thought it would be good any time, day or night. Not content with simplicity, Vicki tarted hers up a bit with orange curd and bittersweet chocolate. Not that that's a bad thing.
Svetlana's research led her to the discovery that the traditional gateau breton is made with buckwheat flour--but she decided to try that variant next time, and not to mess with Rose's recipe the first time out. Nancy B. said this was "just down her taste buds' alley."
And special greetings go to Jennifer, for whom this was the last cake baked in her tiny kitchen that has turned out so many lovely cakes, as she moves on to a different, unknown kitchen that will surely turn out even more baked beauties. Special greetings as well to Nicola, who has just moved into a new kitchen with an oven that actually bakes at the correct temperature--a first for her and something she may have to get used to.
The FEATURED BAKER this week just has to be Raymond; because of his intense appreciation of everything French, including this cake. Raymond admits to being a Francophile, and says that this Gateau Breton is one of his favorite cakes of all the cakes he's sampled in his trips to France over the last 20 years. From Raymond I learned that "French butters have a cru just like French wines," and that Brittany is famous for its butters. Because from an early age, Raymond "fell hook, line, and sinker, for all things French," this cake is for him. Bon appetit!
Next week we're moving on to individual lemon cheesecakes. Kristina noticed that the recipe did not give the oven temperature at which to bake the baby cheesecakes. I called Woody, and his notes show that it was baked at 350 degrees. Kristina baked hers at 350, and thought that it might have been too hot because hers finished baking in about 15 minutes, but Woody says 350, and says his took longer than 15 minutes to bake. This is actually a good thing, because it means that they're not too particular. The recipe specifies silicone muffin pans, but I'll bet you don't have to use silicone.
The following week is the cover recipe--the beautiful Bernachon Palet d'or Gateau. If you want to gild the lily, you can decorate this with red currants and edible gold leaf. I will look for currants but there's something about the idea of edible gold leaf that offends my Puritan soul. I will probably not look very hard for that.
The following week is another Free Choice. In my house, that means that Jim is going to bake my birthday cake. I can't wait!