13 February 2020

French Almond-Rum Cake - Gateau Nantais

French Almond-Rum Cake - Gateau Nantais / www.delightfulrepast.com

Gateau Nantais (pronounced GAT-toe nahn-tay, sort of) is a traditional cake of Nantes, a city on the delta of the Loire in western France. The city is famous for its fleur de sel and its salted butter, so its inhabitants might be outraged that I have made the famous cake with unsalted butter, but organic unsalted butter is the only kind of butter I ever use.

If you make this recipe with salted butter, reduce the salt from 1/2 teaspoon to 1/4 teaspoon. Most versions of the recipe call for a good deal more rum than I've used, though I think I've used a drop more of it than did Phil, from whose blog, As Strong As Soup, I first heard of the cake some years ago. So I'll leave the amount of rum up to you.

French Almond-Rum Cake - Gateau Nantais / www.delightfulrepast.com

With mostly almond flour and just a tiny amount of wheat flour, the cake is so close to gluten-free I thought I'd just use a gluten-free flour blend and make it a cake I can serve to my GF friends. But you can just use regular all-purpose flour as well. It's lovely and delicious with toasted sliced almonds on top, but I went traditional with this one.

Of course, you can eat it right away, but this cake is even better the next day. So do make it the day before you plan to serve it. And, if you like, please Pin it and share it. This was a lovely cake to celebrate my 10th blogiversary!

French Almond-Rum Cake - Gateau Nantais / www.delightfulrepast.com

French Almond-Rum Cake - Gateau Nantais

(Makes one 7-inch round cake)

The Cake

1/3 dip-and-sweep cup (1.67 ounces/47 grams) gluten-free 1 to 1 Baking Flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon non-GMO baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs (medium in UK)
1 stick (4 ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup (5.25 ounces/149 grams) sugar (I use 1/2 cup)
1 1/4 cups (4.5 ounces/128 grams) almond flour*
1 to 2 tablespoons (0.5 to 1 fluid ounce/15 to 30 ml) dark rum

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

* I use Bob's Red Mill Super-Fine Almond Flour From Blanched Whole Almonds

The Syrup

1 1/2 tablespoons (0.64 ounce/18 grams) sugar
3 tablespoons (1.5 fluid ounces/ml) water
1 tablespoon dark rum

The Glaze

3/4 packed cup (3 ounces/85 grams) powdered sugar
1/16 teaspoon (a pinch) salt
2 teaspoons dark rum

2 teaspoons water, a bit more if needed

The Optional Garnish

1/4 cup (1.125 ounces/32 grams) sliced almonds, toasted

1 Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Generously butter a 7-inch/18 cm round cake tin or removable-bottom pan. Put a round of baking parchment paper in the bottom and butter it as well. 

2 In a small bowl, vigorously whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a 2-cup glass measure or small bowl, lightly beat the eggs.

3 In a stand mixer, or using an electric hand mixer and large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape the bowl, then add the almond flour, beating on medium speed just until incorporated, about 1 minute.

4 Add the eggs, about a third at a time, beating for about 20 seconds after each addition. On medium-high speed, beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. On low speed, gradually mix in the flour just until incorporated. With silicone spatula, stir in the rum and almond extract and scrape the bowl. 

5 Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until golden brown. 

6 During the last 20 minutes of baking, make the syrup. In 1-quart saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, then boil for 3 minutes. Off heat, stir in the rum. Then simmer for 2 minutes.

7 When the cake is done, cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes then turn it out onto a wire rack, bottom side up. Immediately peel away the baking parchment paper and brush the top and sides of the cake with the rum syrup. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Transfer to serving platter.

8 Make the glaze in a 1.5-quart mixing bowl. Vigorously whisk the powdered sugar and salt and smoosh out the big lumps, then whisk in the dark rum. Gradually whisk in enough water to make a rather thick (not too runny), smooth glaze. Pour the glaze onto the center of the cake, then spread it out toward the edges, letting a bit drip down the sides. An offset spatula (OXO Good Grips calls theirs a bent icing knife) is handy for the task. 

9 Optional: Sprinkle top with toasted sliced almonds. Let stand at room temperature for at least an hour. Cover with a cake dome and store at room temperature. Will keep for a few days, I suppose; but I don't know because I put half the cake in the freezer.

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