Apple Gâteau Breton (Traditional Breton Butter Cake)

I recently fell in love with Breton cuisine although I never travelled there. But Berlin is spotted with French shops, cafés, bistros and restaurants these days offering you all types of regional foods from Germany’s neighbor to the West. Cyrus and me particularly like to visit a food stall in one of Berlin’s markets which specializes in Breton food, where we enjoy a crémant or a bolée of cider with a delicious galette bretonne every now and then.

So maybe naturally, we wanted to make our own galettes bretonnes one day and through researching recipes, I became aware of the richness and uniqueness of Breton food, especially Breton patisserie. Consequently, this blog is now sporting several recipes originating from France’s northwestern corner. This gâteau however has certainly very quickly become one of my absolute favorites. Its most basic version would be without any filling – just use the recipe for the dough below to make it -, but it is brilliant with apples or pears, walnuts or a very famous variety is with a caramel filling (sounds a bit too sweet for me, but that is all down to personal taste!).

The proportions below are for a large (i.e. a Ø 28 cm) cake pan though when I took the pictures, I made only a half portion which suffices for a Ø 16 cm cake pan.



For the filling:

  • 2 large apples (e.g. Belle de Boskoop or another type of reinette, or Jonagold)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

For the crust: 

  • 300 grams of semi-salted butter (room temperature)
  • 300 grams of icing sugar
  • 6 egg yolks (room temperature)
  • 300 grams of flour
  • 2 tablespoons of orange flower water (alternatively dark rum)

For decoration:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon of icing sugar


Preparing the filling:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Core and peel the apples.
  3. Slice into thin to medium slices. Brush with the lemon juice to prevent them from browning.
  4. Spread in a slightly butters tart pan.
  5. Dust with the sugar and the cinnamon.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and leave the oven running at 180 degrees Celsius for baking the cake.

Preparing the dough:

  1. Beat the butter to a pommade (see for instructions: Bourdaloue Tart with Frangipane (Tarte Bourdaloue à la Frangipane)).
  2. In 2 batches, beat in the sugar. Beat vigorously with a baking spatula until the mix is very creamy.
  3. One by one, beat in the egg yolks.
  4. Finally, fold in the flour and the orange flower water (or rum, which I prefer with the apple filling) in 2 to 3 batches until you have a smooth dough.
  5. Divide into 2 equal halves.
  6. Butter a round Ø 28 cm cake pan. Cover the bottom with one half of the dough. Form sides and smooth down the middle with the back side of a spoon.
  7. Cover the bottom with the apple slices.
  8. Roll out the other half of the dough to completely cover the apples and the bottom part of the dough. Slightly press down the sides with the back side of a spoon.


  1. Whisk one egg yolk with the sugar.
  2. Brush onto the top of the cake.
  3. Use the tip of the handle of a teaspoon to draw a cross pattern.


  1. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for approximately 45 minutes. Check every now and then if the color turns to dark, in that case turn down the temperature slightly.
  2. Let cool down completely or enjoy lukewarm!

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