The weather has cooled down a bit and baking seems like a good idea. I have been going through my magazines and marking the recipes I want to try, one of which is a French butter cake. This I found in January/February 2017 edition of Cook’s Illustrated: https://www.cooksillustrated.com/articles/368-french-butter-cake?incode=MCSCD00L0&ref=new_search_experience_1.
I forgot to find Californian dried apricots while shopping so had to decide what type of filling to make. I looked into my French Feasts cookbook and found some tasty sounding fillings for gateau roule. And then I just took out an open jar of lemon curd and decided to use that one. Now also in this book is a recipe for Breton Butter Cake. This one is not filled. I compared the recipes and decided I would try the French Feasts‘ recipe but use the magazine’s techniques. And this would allow me to use my 8-inch cake pan with the removable bottom. Yay!
- 2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup soft brown sugar
- 1/4 ounce yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 1 cup salted butter (I used unsalted butter with every intention of adding one teaspoon salt, but forgot to add the salt!)
- 4 egg yolks (3 for the batter and 1 for brushing on top)
- 2 tablespoons rum
Yeast in a cake! And no rising time! How will this turn out?
- Mix together the flour, sugars, and yeast. Grate the cold butter and add to the mixture along with three egg yolks and knead together. This will be crumbly. Well, I cut the butter into tablespoons and chopped it up a bit and put it in the mixer bowl. I then added all the other dry ingredients and mixed it up in the Kitchen Aid stand mixer. This got crumbly and I added the egg yolks and rum. It then came together into a stiff batter.
- Place a sheet of parchment paper in a tart pan than is about 8 inches in diameter and spread the dough over its base. Beat the remaining egg yolk and brush it on the dough. Ridge the dough surface with a fork. So I followed the magazine and spread half the dough onto the base of the pan. I then spread the 1/2 jar (about 6 ounces) of lemon curd on the base to about 1/2 inch from the edges. I placed this in the freezer for about ten minutes. Per Cook’s this will freeze up firm enough to put the second half of the batter on top. I forgot completely that lemon curd does not freeze firmly. Oops! I then attempted to spread the second part of this dough on top. I should have rolled it out into an 8-inch circle and put the whole thing on top all at once. Live and learn. I had to put pieces around the edge to stop the lemon curd from spreading to the edge. I did my best and then brushed the top with egg yolk and ridged it with a fork.
- Bake in preheated oven 400 degrees F for about 25 minutes; then lower the temperature to 350 F and continue cooking for 15 minutes. Allow the cake to cool in the oven with the door open. I baked it as directed but decided to let it cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes per Cook’s. The cake was ready to have the pan removed right out of the oven, no need to run a knife around the edge to loosen.
- When the cake is lukewarm, wrap it in foil. This cake is better when it is not so fresh–the day after, or the day after that. We cut this baby up after the 30 minutes! Actually we waited a bit longer and cut and ate a slice while we were watching a Poirot mystery set in the French Riviera. That seemed appropriate.
I first was concerned that it was not fully baked around the filling but this was hard to tell given the lemon curd was not distinct from the rest of the cake. It was firm on the outside, top, bottom, and sides. it was dense. It tasted delicious!
And how did it taste the next day? Still delicious. A little gummy but that gives it a fudge-brownie type texture. The lemon filling is marvelous in this cake. The outside of the cake gave it a shortbread type of feel. It is definitely not the American butter cakes I grew up baking and eating. But this I will make again.