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Gâteau Basque with Cream

by practicewithdanielle
Gâteau Basque with Cream sitting on a white cake stand on a wood table and a slice taken out of it with a white plate next to it

I asked my friend Maya, whose family is from the Basque region of Spain what I should make for Spanish month.

When looking up Basque recipes, I noticed that many sites and books were actually French, not Spanish.

Turns out this region spans over France and Spain. And that the two countries have evolved differently –  France is much more accepting of Basque culture than it’s Spanish neighbors.

Many Basque people don’t consider themselves Spanish at all and are active in the separatist movement in Spain. Suppose it makes sense why it would be easier to find French versions of Basque recipes.

*The things you learn when you ask questions* 

Along with Salt Cod and Piperade, Maya told me to make Gâteau Basque.

Gâteau Basque with Cream sitting on a white cake stand on a wood table

It claims to be a cake but I think this is more of a mix of pastry and shortbread rather than cake.

I’ll also say, I think I undercooked mine, and the recipe below reflects what I think I should have baked it for. I pulled it out of the oven too quickly when I saw the pretty brown color. Next time, I’ll just cover it with foil and keep it in the oven for the appropriate amount of time.

Paul would definitely call out my soggy bottom.

Gâteau Basque with Cream sitting on a white cake stand on a wood table and a slice taken out of ti

I’d be more upset about this if my Gâteau Basque didn’t turn out well. But it got raving reviews, despite soggy bottoms. 

And who am I to deny you of Gâteau Basque with Cream because I messed up? It would be cruel. 

Because this cake is actually quite simple to make. Pastry and cream. 

A slice of Gâteau Basque with Cream sitting on a white plate

You need a whole bunch of eggs, so just prepare yourself for that. But it’s worth it because the cream is so delicious and luscious.

You could use a vanilla bean, but it’s not worth it if you can’t find them at a decent price.

$10 for a vanilla bean at the grocery store? Hard pass.

I used vanilla extract and didn’t for one second regret it.

If you’ve got a couple of hours on the weekend or want to make ahead for weekend plans, this Gâteau Basque with Cream is an impressive option.

I adapted from two different recipes from Bake from Scratch and Pardon Your French.

Gâteau Basque with Cream sitting on a white cake stand on a wood table and a slice taken out of it with a white plate next to it

Gâteau Basque with Cream

(start making 2 1/2 hours before you want Gâteau Basque with Cream)

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
1 3/4 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
3 eggs
3 3/4 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
pinch of salt


Cream filling:
2 1/4 cups milk (not skim)
6 egg yolks
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
3 Tbsp flour
3 tsp vanilla extract (or one vanilla bean)


Make the pastry crust first. Cream together butter and sugar in a hand mixer. Add the 3 egg yolks and 3 eggs and blend until incorporated.

Mix flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl. Slowly incorporate this mixture into the butter mixture. You don’t want to overwork this but you also don’t want to see any flour.

Separate the dough into two pieces, shape into discs and wrap each with plastic. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a low simmer. If you’re using a vanilla bean, scrape it out and add the seeds and pod to the milk. If not, just add the vanilla extract.

In a heat-proof bowl, whisk together the 6 egg yolks and 2 eggs with the sugar. Slowly whisk in the flour and cornstarch until fully incorporated and a little foamy.  (remove the vanilla bean from the milk if you’re using it).

Pour in half the milk to the egg/sugar mixture. Whisk continuously. Then pour that mixture back into the saucepan. Keep over low medium heat and whisk until the mixture gets thick and custard-like. Remove from heat.

Let the cream cool at room temp with plastic wrap covering it and touching the cream (so a film doesn’t build).

Take a 9-inch springform or tart pan and grease it with butter and dust with flour.

Roll one of the discs of pastry out on a lightly floured surface. Press into the bottom of the tart pan and up the sides about 1 inch. Chill in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Pour cooled custard over the top layer. Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Roll out the second disc of pastry and cover the cream layer. This is where it got tricky for me. You just want this sealed, no need to get precious about how it looks.

Chill for 20 minutes. Then whisk and egg with a fork and brush the top of the cake with egg wash.

Bake for 20 minutes at 400. Then reduce the heat to 350 and bake for another 25 minutes.

Let cool completely before you cut into the cake. I preferred serving this chilled.


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