May 12, 2010

Last Cake, Next Cake

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!


Lois B said...

Félicitations, Raymond!

Great summary, Marie. Can't wait to see the free choice from your kitchen.

I'm glad to be using some of the lemnon curd in my freezer this week.

Jill @ Jillicious Discoveries said...

Thanks for picking yet another wonderful cake from this book! I'm so glad I made it, even at the last minute and reading your review and many others was what did me in! :)

evil cake lady said...

Congrats Raymond!

Thanks for all the nice compliments, Marie! You are very sweet. I loved seeing everyone's Gateaux; we are all so creative! High five, us!

I am disappearing for a couple of weeks, but plan to reemerge triumphant with a birthday St. Honore Trifle for free cake week! Speaking of, I cannot WAIT to see your birthday cake! I am very excited to see Jim at work.

Patricia @ ButterYum said...

Hi Marie - Rose does give alternate directions for the lemon cheesecakes. She says you can use an aluminum pan lined with foil cupcake liners.


Katya said...

I got impatient and made the Palet D'or last week--for a cover cake, it's actually pretty simple--the hard part is waiting for layers of frosting to properly cool.

The lemon cheesecakes seem like something I'd make at the bakery, but the proprietor already does her own version of same, in 4 inch mini springforms.

Monica said...

Congratulations to Raymond! I love his post about being all about french stuff - I can honestly relate, except I have to change the french stuff to italian stuff and well.. yeah, we may be even...maybe?

I actually did this cake and I been so busy (looking for a new job, family stuff in the way) that I totally FORGOT TO POST the thing! I have the pictures, I have the post 1/2 written, I just did not have the time.

Guess I'm late in the game, because sometimes today it will go up, for it to be late.

This weekend we have a black tie event, my best friend is coming up to spend time with us and a family function on Sunday, so I have no clue how I'm going to fit the baby lemon Cheesecakes in there... but, when Tom saw the choice he light up like a xmas tree - he loves (LOVES!) cheesecake.

And I'm a sucker for making him happy.

Vicki said...

Congrat's Raymond! I loved reading your post.

Thanks for the heads up Marie. Baking with scalding water always instills terror in me but the prospect of mini lemon cheesecakes is so worth it.

Mendy said...


Congrats Raymon.

Still trying to make the cheesecakes...

Nicola said...

Hooray Raymond.

Thanks for the tip about the silicon muffin pans... I think I will be adding some to my collection.

Can't wait to see Jim's birthday creation (and to see if he leverages Woody's close proximity).

Looking forward to those wee lemon cheesecakes.

Mendy said...


I have the little guys in the freezer. Does anyone know if I have to let them defrost before putting on the lemon curd (or does it not matter?)