My classic Gateau Basque recipe is made with a crisp, buttery crust and a silky, creamy pastry cream filling. You’ll find two variations of this delicious cake recipe, one made with a rich layer of pastry cream and the original version made with black cherry jam. I love pastry cream, so that’s the version I usually make.
This traditional cake comes from the French Basque country, but the first time I tasted this Basque recipe was on a trip through the Basque region of northern Spain. And I have to admit, it was love at first bite.
Over the years, I’ve made this delicious Gateau Basque cake recipe for dinner parties, game day celebrations, and just to treat my friends and family. My Basque cake is the perfect dessert for any occasion!
My Basque cake is made with a sweet cookie-like pie crust stuffed with a creamy layer of vanilla pastry cream filling. It truly is a delicious, unique dessert that your whole family will love.
Ingredients to make Gateau Basque
Let’s start by gathering the ingredients we need to make my Gateau Basque recipe. In Chef Speak, this is called the “Mise en Place,” which translates to “Everything in its Place.”
Not only does setting up your ingredients ahead of time speed up the cooking process, it also helps ensure you have everything you need to make the dish.
How to make Gateau Basque
- Add the whole milk and vanilla bean seeds (or vanilla extract) to a medium saucepan over medium heat and heat until very hot, but do not let it scald or boil.
- Add the granulated sugar, cornstarch, all-purpose flour, egg yolks, and eggs to a medium bowl.
- Whisk to combine.
- Slowly add the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture, whisking continuously until it has been fully incorporated.
- Return the pastry cream mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until bubbly and very thick (3-5 minutes).
- Remove the pan from the heat, and transfer the pastry cream to a large heat-proof bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the top of the pastry cream.
Let the pastry cream cool to room temperature before using (about 1 hour).
- Add the all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt to a large bowl.
- Whisk to combine the dry ingredients. Set aside until needed.
- Add the unsalted butter and granulated sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
- Beat at medium speed until fluffy (3 to 4 minutes), stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Add the large egg yolks and two whole eggs, one at a time, to the creamed butter, beating well after each addition.
*Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl between each addition.
Grease a 9-inch springform pan and dust it with flour. Set aside until needed.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low speed and gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients.
- Beat just enough to combine and form the dough.
- Turn the Basque dough out on a lightly floured work surface and shape it into two disks. Wrap each disk in plastic film wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll one dough disk (using a rolling pin) into a 12-inch circle.
- Transfer the dough to the prepared springform pan, pressing into the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400° Fahrenheit.
- Pour the pastry cream filling into the chilled prepared crust and refrigerate for 30 – 60 minutes.
- Roll the remaining dough disk into a 12-inch circle and place the top crust over the filling. Crimp the edges of the dough to seal the cake, then trim off any excess dough. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before baking.
- In a small bowl, whisk together one tablespoon of water and one egg to make an egg wash.
- Brush the top of the dough with the egg wash.
- Place the springform pan on the center rack of the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Then, reduce the oven temperature to 350° F and continue to bake for an additional 25 minutes.
*The cake should be golden brown, but If the cake starts to get too brown, cover it with aluminum foil.
- Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool on a wire rack in the pan for 10 minutes. Then, carefully remove the ring from the pan and allow it to cool on the wire rack.
Transfer the cake to a serving dish and dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.
You don’t have to be a pastry chef to make my Gateau Basque. Although the recipe has quite a few steps, it really isn’t difficult to make. And the results are definitely worth the effort.
Save any leftover cake refrigerated, covered with plastic wrap, or in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
A Basque Burnt Cheesecake comes from the Basque region of Spain and is more of a cream cheesecake, whereas the Gâteau Basque comes from the Basque region of France and has a custard-like filling between two layers of a pie crust.
Yes, it does. My version filled with pastry cream should be covered and kept refrigerated for 4-5 days.
The name translates to Basque cake. In the Basque language, the cake is called “Etxeko biskotxa” which translates to “cake of the house.”