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The Workshops > ... > Gateau Breton > Gateau Breton Buckwheat

Breton Buckwheat/Almond Cake

adapted from recipe by David Lebovitz.

We are currently working to perfect this recipe.

  • Reminds me of pound cake in weight and texture.
  • Retains a definite buckwheat flavor - mild, nutty, whole grain type flavor, but not overpowering like the recipe below with 100% buckwheat flour.
  • Cake texture is great, nice height and does not seem at all too heavy.

Cake batter was thick but flowed enough to pour into mold. I was able to draw lines in the cake with a fork. As cake cooked, batter fluidity almost erased lines on top. Although texture/flavor was excellent, this cake batter is usually a bit stiffer, probably, the 2 T lemon/orange juice is enough to make the difference.

  • Reduce buckwheat/increase almond flour
  • Reduce buckwheat/add coconut flour
  • Experiment with egg/egg yolk ratio

We noted weight of buckwheat flour did not match usual 120g/cup that is used in most published data sources, including the nutritional label on our Cuisine Soleil bag. The weight matched exactly the weight given in the original recipe. I will be tracking more closely actual weights/published weights of gluten free flours. Sifting the buckwheat flour did not change weight/cup, but it did remove some of the bran which I think is a good thing for a cake.


Ratio: Between cookie dough (3:2:1:1) and Cake (1:1:1:1)

flour fat sugar total liquid egg
2 1.8 1.5 1.2 1
260g 240g 200g 160g 130g

  • total Liquid (eggs + liquid ingredients) = 150g
    • * 4 yolks + 1 whole egg
  • ratio starch to heavier flours: 30g starch/ 276g protein flours
  • Flours, Buckwheat, almond, sorghum, tapioca
  • Leavening: baking powder, xanthan gum

One 9" flat cake: 14 to 16 servings

 7/8 cup (140g) buckwheat flour
 1/2 cup  ( 60g ) almond flour 
 1/4 cup ( 30g ) sorghum flour 
 1/4 cup ( 30g ) tapioca flour 
 1 tsp baking powder 
 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
 1/2 teaspoon   sea salt
 1/2 pound (240g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
 1 cup (200g) sugar
 4 large egg yolks (Total egg+egg white = 130g)  
 1 large egg  
 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
 2  tablespoons (30 g) Lemon or Orange Juice
  zest from one lemon or orange.

For the glaze

 1 large egg yolk
 1 teaspoon milk

  1. Butter a 9-inch/23 cm springform cake pan). Preheat the oven to 350F degrees (180C).
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flours, buckwheat, almond, sorghum, tapioca with 1/2 teaspoon salt, baking powder and xanthan gum.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer or by hand, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and continue to beat until smooth.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the 4 egg yolks and whole egg with the vanilla and lemon or orange juice with a fork, then gradually dribble the egg mixture into the batter while beating. Beat so the butter gets really airy - Kitchenaid mixer speed setting 6 using flat beater with flex edge.
  5. Mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top as flat as possible with an offset metal or plastic spatula.
  6. Make a glaze by stirring the single yolk and milk together with a fork, then brush it generously all over the top. (You may not use it all, but use most of it.) Take a fork and rake it across the top in three parallel lines, evenly space; then repeat starting from a slightly different angle to make a criss-cross pattern.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes at 350F, then reduce heat to 325F for remaining 38 minutes. Used electronic meat thermometer to determine when done: as it just hit 210F.
  8. Let cool completely before unmolding.

Storage: Well wrapped in plastic, gateau Breton will keep for up to four days at room temperature. It can also be frozen, wrapped in plastic with a layer of foil around it, for up to two months.

Traditional Gateau Breton (Buckwheat Butter Cake)

European Cuisines

Gateau Breton, May 29, 2012

This is the traditional butter cake from the Breton region of France. Almost like a shortbread in texture. Buckwheat, called blé noir in French, or sometimes farine de sarrisan). Similar to the Breton crépe, the galette.

Many modern recipes are made with wheat flour instead of buckwheat. This recipe is gluten-free.

  • Flavor is good, cake is too dry. I increased # of egg yolks to 4 into the cake, but have not tried it. Original recipe had 3 yolks to go into cake, one egg yolk to glaze the top of the cake.


Ratio: Between cookie dough (3:2:1:1) and Cake (1:1:1:1), bread doughs go up to 5 parts flour/3 parts liquid.

flour fat sugar total liquid egg
3.75 1.6   1.9 1 1
300g 125g 150g 80g 80g


    300 g buckwheat flour
    150 g granulated sugar
    4 egg yolks (possibly a bit more if batter is too dry)
    125 grams lightly salted butter
    1 tsp baking powder
    Optional: zest of an orange (preferably a bitter or Seville orange)
    1 yolk + mixed with 1-2 Tablespoons of milk to make glaze on top
  1. Butter a springform baking pan, cut a circle of parchment for bottom of pan.
  2. Sift the sugar, buckwheat flour and baking powder together: mix well.
  3. Separate the eggs.
  4. Make a well in the flour/sugar mixture.
  5. Add the egg yolks. I did this in food processor, can do in a bowl with a spoon. Dough should be crumbly at this point.
  6. Cut butter into small chunks, pulse food processor until butter is evenly distributed. Can us a pastry blender.
  7. Dough should be like a cookie/pie dough able to form a ball. My first try, dough was too dry, and final product barely held together.
  8. Brush the top of the cake with the remaining egg yolk mixed with a bit of milk: then, with a fork, score the top of the cake crosswise several times in each direction to create a diamond / lozenge pattern.
  9. Bake in a moderate oven (180 degrees C, 360 degrees F) for about forty-five minutes.
  10. Allow the cake to stand and cool in the tin for ten minutes or so before turning out.

Torta di Grano Saraceno

Have not tested yet: (Adapted from The Traveler's Lunchbox)

"When I bit into a slice at work, I had to hi-five myself. It turned out exactly the way I wanted it to - dark, grainy and lightly zested with orange with a texture akin to fine powdery sablé. I added a good measure of chopped walnuts for an added crunch. The best part? Me Mums loved it. And that totally made my day. :)" Rustic Cook

 1 heaping cup (175g) almond meal
 1 1/2 cups (200g) buckwheat flour
 1/2 teaspoon salt
 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
 finely grated zest of 1 large orange and juice from half the orange (or whole,si tu veux)
 2 teaspoons baking powder
 3/4 cup (175g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
 250g sugar, divided
 3/4 cup (180ml) milk
 4 eggs, at room temperature, separated
 1 cup of walnuts, chopped

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F/175C.
  2. Grease a 9-inch/23cm springform pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, stir together the ground almonds, buckwheat flour, salt, cinnamon, lemon zest and baking powder.
  3. In another bowl, beat the butter and 1 cup (200g) of the sugar until fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the dry mixture alternately with the milk until everything is well combined.
  4. In a clean mixing bowl and using spotlessly clean beaters, whip the egg whites with the remaining 1/4 cup (50g) sugar until they form stiff, glossy peaks.
  5. Stir one-quarter of the whites into the cake batter to lighten it, then gently fold in the rest.
  6. As a final step, fold in the chopped walnuts. Scrape the batter into the greased pan, smoothing the top.
  7. Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, covering the top loosely with foil if it begins to darken too much.
  8. Cool the cake for ten minutes on a rack, then carefully remote the outer ring and cool completely.
  9. Store, covered, at room temperature for up to 3-4 days.

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Last edited June 9, 2012 (history)

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