French gateau with paper crown on top
Breton Butter Cake Is The Classic French Dessert Similar To Shortbread
Brittany, France is home to gâteau Breton, known in many other countries by its other name, kouign-amann. This buttery, shortbread-like cake it's famous for its flaky layers.
Though kouign-amann translates to “butter cake,” the dessert has a texture more akin to a croissant, with a caramelized outer crust and crumbly, flaky inner layers.
The gâteau Breton cake debuted in 1863 at the Paris Universal Exhibition. The judges were so impressed that it won first prize and quickly became a Breton speciality.
While the cake is made of simple ingredients, it comes together through the work-intensive process of lamination, in which cold butter is rolled in between layers of dough.
The cake is always served without frosting, whether in a large, shareable size or small personal size. It's sometimes filled with fruit jam to add a sweeter flavor.
If you’d like to make a gâteau Breton, choose a high-quality butter, preferably a Breton butter, though any European butter with a high cream and fat content will work.
Gather the rest of your ingredients — sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, and egg — and mix it into a sturdy dough. Flatten the dough into a single layer and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
After resting, apply an egg wash, then bake in a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven for about 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Let it cool, then slice and serve.