It's been crazy for the past few months since I've taken on some extra responsibilities that have proven to be much more time consuming than I had anticipated. Things will eventually settle down again, but for now the workload has kept me from being able to devote much time, if any, to my blog, which indirectly has kept me from being able to bake along with my fellow Heavenly Cake Bakers. I thank Marie for her patience, and for not kicking me out of the group!
Let's see, it's been about 2 months since my last HCBs entry. I've been watching with great interest, even hoping to find the time to pull off one or two of the recipes myself. Quite a few times I gathered all the ingredients, but my plans were always foiled in some way. Either my bananas would over ripen, or my butter would get too warm, or my eggs would sit out for too long, or I'd get tired of working around a huge pile of ingredients for days on end until I'd eventually give up in defeat and put everything away. Sigh.
I had been longing to make last week's St. Honore Trifle for a while, but there was absolutely no time in my week to even consider it. However, after reading all the delicious comments about chilboust cream, I thought I could at least make that part of the recipe, but nope... it didn't happen. Then I considered just making the pile of glorious caramel threads. I have quite a collection of whisks, each with its own specific purpose - I admit I have an abnormal fondness for each and every one of them, so the thought of destroying one was out of the question. No problem, I thought - I'll just get a cheap flimsy one at the grocery store, but the cheapest one was 9 bucks. Needless to say, the caramel threads didn't happen either.
But my dry spell came to an end when I read Marie's description of this week's Gateau Breton and how it was featured on the Quick and Easy list, I felt I finally had a chance to get in the kitchen and rejoin the baking group. The timing worked out very well - we had a school function to attend and each family was asked to bring a side dish and dessert. My Gateau Breton looked stunning nestled among the myriad of premade grocery store cakes and cool whip covered casserole dishes on the dessert table. Sadly, only half of the gateau was sampled - I guess people just don't know a good thing when they see it, but those who were brave enough to take a piece were in for a real treat! We were happy to have leftovers, which were even better the next day served with a dollop of whipped cream.
Rose describes this Gateau as a cross between pound cake and shortbread, but I think the egg wash lends a pastry-like quality as well. We absolutely loved the rich almond taste and texture of this pound cake-shortbread-pastry-like creation. I will most definitely be making it again - perhaps varying the nuts for a different twist - hello pistachio! For anyone interested, I found a pine nut version online.
Substitution - I didn't have any Kirsh or Rum on hand, so I substituted 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract which worked out very well.
Oh, I almost forgot... I was describing this Gateau Breton to a friend from the Netherlands and she thought it sounded just like Dutch Boterkoek. I googled it and sure enough, the similarities between the two are nearly identical. Go figure!
I hope all the moms had a wonderful Mother's Day!