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Gateau Basque
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Gateau Basque

Kind of a giant cookie sandwich filed with pastry cream
Prep Time4 hrs 45 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time5 hrs 30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Servings: 8 slices or so


  • Stand mixer
  • 8" cake pan or springform pan


The Cake

  • 10 ounces 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 ounces 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 2 ounces 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1.75 ounces 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • about1 cup black cherry preserves or pastry cream
  • 1 egg beaten with 2 teaspoons water for the glaze

Pastry Cream

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
  • 1 pint whole milk
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 8 ounces sugar 1 cup plus one tablespoon
  • 12 egg yolks
  • 1.75 ounces scant 1/2 cup cornstarch


The Cake

  • In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a mixer fitted with the paddle beat the butter and sugars on medium for about 3 minutes, until fluffy. Add the egg and beat about 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and mix for about another minute. Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients in two or three additions, mixing only until they just disappear. The dough will be quite sticky.
  • Lay a sheet of wax paper or plastic on the counter and put half the dough in the center of the sheet. Cover it with another piece of plastic or wax paper, then roll the dough into a circle a little more than than 8 inches in diameter. Repeat with the other half of the dough, then refrigerate both pieces for at least three hours.
  • When ready to assemble, preheat your oven to 350 and grease an 8-inch round cake or springform pan. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and let it warm up a few minutes. Peel off the wax paper and lay one layer in the pan. Press it into the corners. Spread the jam or pastry cream on dough, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Moisten the uncovered edge and lay on the second piece of dough, passing the edges to seal.
  • Paint on some egg wash and make the crisscrossing pattern on top or the Basque cross if you like depending on the filling! Bake for 40-45 minutes until well browned. Cool the can in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen it. Invert the cake onto another wire rack, then back again (or, if you’re using a springform pan, just release the clasp and slide the cake onto a rack. Cool completely and serve the same day.

Pastry Cream

  • Start by combining the vanilla with the milk in a medium saucepan and bring it to the boil. 
    Give it a good whisk every so often. 
  • Meanwhile, combine the yolks and sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whip. 
  • Whip on high for about three minutes until a thick ribbon drips off the whip. 
  • With the mixer running on medium-low, add the cornstarch in a steady stream. Scrape the bowl to make sure it’s all incorporated. 
  • Now add the hot milk in a steady stream. 
  • When it’s completely incorporated, pour the whole works back into the saucepan and whisking steadily, bring the mixture up to boiling. Let it bubble — not violently — for about 45 seconds to a minute. There’ll be a little foam on the top, gently stir that in. 
  • Pour it into a bowl or onto a sheet pan and allow it to cool for about ten minutes. 
  • Lay on some plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Cool the pastry cream (if you’re using a bowl, placing it in an ice bath works the best) for about fifteen minutes, then put it in the refrigerator. A half recipe will cool down enough in half an hour to be placed in the fridge on its own.