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Writer’s Kitchen: NaNoWriMo, Voting, & Gâteau Breton

Who really thinks of baking a cake at 9:15 p.m. on the first day of NaNoWriMo? Me! I made it to 1,736 words the morning of November 1–which exceeded the necessary daily average word count by 69–so maybe it was no big deal. But considering some days will be too busy to write at all, perhaps it’s a good idea to stock up on words when I have time. But instead, I baked a cake. And then voted–and not even at the last moment! If my NaNoWriMo participation is anything like voting, that means I’ll won’t be cramming too hard to meet the 50,000 word count by November 30–just a little. Probably while baking a cake.

Buckwheat Gâteau Breton with Sea Salt
Adapted from The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz

I came across this cake while reading The Sweet Life in Paris, and I’m so glad I tried it. The buckwheat and sea salt add a fun complexity to an otherwise classic cake.

7/8 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or other medium-grain, light-tasting sea salt, plus 1/3 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 pound unsalted butter, brought to room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large egg yolks
1 large egg
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons dark rum

1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter a 9-inch springform cake pan. Combine both flours, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and the cinnamon in a bowl and whisk together until combined. Set aside. Beat the butter with a stand mixer until light and airy, then beat in the sugar until smooth.

Next, put four egg yolks, one whole egg, vanilla, and rum in a separate bowl and beat with a fork. Turn the mixer on high and slowly pour the eggs into the batter, allowing the batter to take on an airy consistency.

Add the flour mixture to the batter, stirring just until incorporated, then pour the batter into the pan. This batter is stickier and denser than many so it’s a little harder to work with, but do your best to smooth out the top.

Mix the egg yolk and milk for the glaze, then brush it over the top of the cake, using as much as necessary. Run the tines of a fork across the top in a few parallel lines, then rotate a little and repeat, to create an uneven crisscross effect. Sprinkle the remaining 1/3 teaspoon of sea salt evenly over the top. Bake for 45 minutes and let cool in the pan before removing.

Serves 14-16.

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