Marie-Antoinette was supposed to have said "Let them eat brioche!" when her courtiers explained that the French people had no bread to eat.
Brioche is a bread to the extent that is made with yeast, not egg white nor baking powder. But it is a bread that is made with egg and butter - ingredients that we normally associate with cake. It is a light and fragrant bread chockful of eggs and butter. Traditionally, it can be eaten with jam or foie gras. In times past, there was the poor man's brioche (less butter - 100g of butter for 500g of flour) and the rich man's brioche ( a lot of butter - 350g of butter for 500g of flour).
On a continuum of luxury foods, you would have cake first, then rich brioche, then poor brioche and then the plain baguette. The brioche is not sweet because in the olden days, well to do French people ate it with food (like the Chinese eat rice).
I suppose that something must have gotten lost in the translation when people tried to translate brioche. Is it a cake or a bread? I guess people were unkind to Marie-Antoinette... and to make her look really bad, they translated "brioche" as "cake" instead of top class luxury bread.
I love brioche... since forever I have loved brioche. Bakeries here don't really do brioche. It is a difficult and tedious bread to make because it requires extensive kneading. I've never dared to make it. However, a heavy duty kitchen mixer is a wonderful invention.
The proof of a good brioche is in the gluten strands.
Thanks to The Bosch Mum 86 and this recipe HERE.