French Butter Cake with Apricot Filling (Gâteau Breton)

Christmas came and went and New Year’s Eve is upon us! I hope you are all relaxed and enjoying time with family and friends, stuffing your faces with goodness, drinking interesting Winter libations, telling silly stories and laughing until your belly shakes and you start snorting.. wait, that’s me 😉 I am having myself a low key New Year with Online Guy, a new recipe I want to try, a few glasses of bubbly (well, more like a few sips for me and then I’m done) and some melt in your mouth truffles. I just hope I stay awake…

So I saw Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and really liked it. One of those movies where time sneaks away from you and before you know it the two hours and 15 minutes are over and us nerdy, geeky ones are clapping. During the movie, the husband and I happened to have in our possession, a huge bag of popcorn. We are evil. At some point I leaned over and mentioned that he didn’t have to finish it all but it was kinda too late as he was picking at the kernels and whatnot…oh well. After that we walked a few steps and had ourselves a drink and some dessert, namely Tres Leches cake and Mexican bread pudding. After which it was way past my bedtime and because I am a lightweight, one drink is one drink too many for me…oh well.

Let’s talk butter and eggs, which is mainly what is in this beautiful French butter cake. I urge you to try this as it has a wonderful texture that resembles shortbread. I made it for my mama’s birthday a few weeks back and everyone loved it because, well, you would be crazy not to love butter.

Here is a sort of poem about butter, written by the butter loving author of the Kitchenfufighter blog…

“Butter, the sweetest, creamiest friend.

Butter, a means to an end.

Spread it and bake and cook with it,

For what is there that you cannot do with it.

It reigns over all people, young and old,

I implore you, bake this cake, serve it, and behold!”

Okay I think it’s time to stop dawdling and writing nonsense poems and go bake this cake. Shall we?

This is the stuff you need for the apricot puree. Forgive me but I failed to take a picture of the cake ingredients. It was one of those days 😉 So 1/2 cup of dried apricots, chopped, 1/3 cup (2 1/3 ounces) of sugar, 2/3 cup water and 1 tbsp lemon juice. Use Californian apricots and not Turkish as the former taste fruitier and have a brighter color. You will want to leave 16 tablespoons of unsalted butter out to soften. The way to tell if it is ready to use is that it will bend slightly or just poke your finger in it and it will leave a dent. The rest of the ingredients are few and simple:

3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp (6 1/8 ounces) of sugar

6 large egg yolks (one of which you will lightly beat with a tsp of water)

2 tbsp of dark rum

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups (10 ounces) of all purpose flour

1/2 tsp of salt.

Apricots in water
Place your apricots and water into something you can blend them in. Puree away!
Pureed apricots
Blend until smooth and no lumps.
Sugar added to puree
You can see how pretty and vibrant the color is. Transfer to a saucepan or skillet and add the sugar. Stir frequently over medium heat and cook until it has darkened a bit, about 12 minutes.
Apricot puree
Pour into a bowl and add the lemon juice. Refrigerate until it is time to use. Now, take one of the oven racks and place it in the lower-middle position. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grab a 9-inch round cake pan and grease it. Now, take that softened butter…
…and in your mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter for about 2 minutes on medium high speed until lighter in color.
Beaten butter
Next add the sugar and beat for about 3 minutes, until pale and fluffy. Now, grab those egg yolks.
Batter with egg yolks
You are going to add the 5 egg yolks one at a time and beat until combined.
Scrape the batter from the sides of the bowl and add your rum and vanilla. Mix until combined for about a minute. Now set the speed to low, add the flour and salt and beat for about 30 seconds until just incorporated. Sip some rum 🙂
Give the batter a quick stir by hand and sip some rum for a job well done 🙂
First layer
Spread half of the batter in the pan. Use one of those metal spatula thingies you spread icing with. Stick it into the freezer for 10 minutes. Let’s have some more rum…


Middle layer
Spread 1/2 cup of apricot puree *hiccup* evenly over the chilled batter and leave a 3/4 inch border around it. Save the remaining puree for another use or if you have some bread close by, grab it and start spreading. Repeat with the rum…
Final layer
Alright, time to cover it up. Spread the final layer on top. Freeze for 10 minutes. Sip of rum. Ah, see, you got the hang of it!
Butter cake
Take the egg wash (the egg yolk with the tsp of water you lightly beat earlier) and brush the top. Take a fork and, very lightly, score the surface of the cake. Try to give it a diamond design. I can’t follow a simple instruction and clearly failed. Make your way over to the oven, pop the pan in and bake for 45 to 50 minutes until the top is golden brown and you can see the sides of the cake starting to pull away from the pan. Now you wait (if you are like me, impatiently). Go on, have some rum.
Gateau Breton
A think of beauty I tell you! Try to let it cool for 30 minutes.


French butter cake
So pretty with the apricot filling. Wait until you taste it. You will keep going back for more!

Recipe taken from: Cook’s Illustrated (January & February 2017 issue).



Have a wonderful and safe New Year’s celebration!

Cook and bake, sing and dance with joy 🙂

2 Comments Add yours

  1. My grandfather was from Brittany. I have ALWAYS wanted to make this cake! Looks beautiful- pinned it- thank you!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marale says:

      You are so welcome 🙂 You should! It takes a bit if time but the end result is delicious!

      Liked by 1 person

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