Summer's Cake: Peach and Ricotta Gateau Breton

Peach and Ricotta Gateau Breton

The nights are slightly colder. I’ve adapted to the thick blanket of humidity at night. Milo at my feet and the air conditioner running. I keep a robe on a bedside chair, in case I ever get too cold. I wouldn’t dream of turning the air down, though. There’s no ceiling fan in this room, the ceilings barely hit six feet. So I stretch on the bed and shudder. I grab for the puppy in the middle of the night, check to see if he is still breathing, put his head on a pillow next to mine. I dream of Heathrow airport and look up how to how to say “damselfly” in Spanish. I stayed awake until one in the morning, reading cookbooks and scribbling notes. And at three in the morning, I woke up to a moth hitting my window in a manic apache dance, leaving small floury dust on the mesh window screen. A Catherine, disheveled from her cocoon.  It’s the pubescent hour of stretching and yawning, the transition between yesterday and today and I loathe it now, the beginning of summer ending. Too fast it’s already blurry and I find myself beating my shoulder against every window, begging to be left in. The only trace of me is dust, powder, particulate and leftover.

So I baked a cake to celebrate the season. An elegy, a eulogy. A begging for forgiveness for taking it for granted, being home and safe and wrapped up in bed, waiting for the heat to break.

Peach and Ricotta Gateau Breton

Peach and Ricotta Gateau Breton


  • 1 ½ cup AP flour
  • 2 TB cornstarch
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup ricotta
  • 6 egg yolks, plus 1 for egg wash
  • 1 TB pure vanilla extract
  • 1 TB orange juice
  • 1 TB orange zest
  • 1 large peach, slice


  1. Preheat oven to 375*F
  2. Prepare an 8-inch springform pan with butter and parchment paper, set aside
  3. In a bowl of a stand mixer, sift all dry ingredients together
  4. Add butter and ricotta and beat on medium-low with the paddle attachment
  5. With mixer running, add yolks, one at a time (do not add subsequent yolk until previous is completely incorporated)
  6. Add vanilla and orange juice and zest
  7. Turn mixer off, use a rubber spatula to hand fold a couple times to ensure all ingredients are fully incorporated
  8. Arrange peach slices on your parchment-lined pan
  9. Gently pour batter over peaches in pan
  10. Batter is very sticky, so sprinkle a little flour onto the top (or with floured hands) to help press dough into pan and along the edges
  11. Bake for 15 minutes at 375*F, then reduce oven to 350*F and bake for an additional 30 minutes or until golden brown on top
  12. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before removing from pan
  13. Turn out onto a plate so peach-side is facing up
  14. Serve cooled or warmed up a bit. Can keep for up to two days.

Peach and Ricotta Gateau Breton
Peach and Ricotta Gateau Breton
Peach and Ricotta Gateau Breton