I feel like everyone should have a last minute, oh-we’ve-got-company-coming cake. The kind of cake that’s reassuringly undemanding, requires only one bowl, and comes together in under an hour, leaving you with your hands free to do a quick tidy or get yourself ready.
For me, that’s this Brittany Butter Cake, the first cake I ever made after deciding that, really, I should probably learn how to cook. Ever since, this has been my go-to coffee-and-tea-cake when we’ve got people over, or for the times I want a quick, fuss-free dessert (or, if you’re in the mood for something more chocolatey, these cocoa brownies are a great option).
These keep up to three (3) days in an airtight container, but if you’re also suffering through an incredible heatwave like we are, they’re keep fine in the fridge as well. This cake does firm up as time goes on, but that’s only the crackly outside layer — inside, it remain buttery soft and delectable.
One last note: I usually make this in a 20cm silicone cake tin (approximately 5.5cm deep), but it also works in wider, regular cake tins. In case of the latter, keep an eye on baking times, as the cake may be a bit flatter and it will be done sooner.
Breton Butter Cake
- 300 grams plain flour
- 200 grams caster sugar
- 1 pinch fine salt
- 175 grams butter
- 1 egg, beaten
- Preheat the oven to 180°C, and grease your cake tin with a little butter. If, like me, you’re using a silicone cake tin, you can skip the greasing, as the cake will unmould without a hitch.
- Put the flour into a bowl, and stir in the sugar and salt. You can use a freestanding mixer if preferred; I’ve always found this soothing to do by hand.
- Add the butter and mix until the dough resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add about 3/4 of the egg, and knead into a smooth, slightly sticky dough.
- Scoop this dough into the tin, and press firmly down until evenly distributed. Add the remainder of the egg, and smooth the top with the back of a spoon.
- Place in the oven to bake for 30-40 minutes, until the cake is golden brown on top. Mine is always ready precisely at 30 minutes, so be sure to start checking after 30 minutes.
- Transfer the tin to a wire rack and leave to cool for 10 minutes before carefully unmoulding, using your fingers to help carefully prise the cake away from the edges if it’s dragging its feet. I recommend cutting the cake into small squares; it will feel slightly brittle at this point, but it will firm up later.