Gateau Basque – Bake from Scratch


Photo courtesy of Stephen Devries

A flaky crust surrounds a pastry cream in this traditional dessert from the Basque region of France. The name simply means “Basque Cake.” In the Basque language, the cake is called “Etxeko biskotxa” or “cake of the house.”

  • 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons (374 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks (56 grams)
  • 3 large eggs (150 grams), divided
  • 3¾ cups (469 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons (4.5 grams) kosher salt
  • Custard Filling (recipe follows)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water
  • Garnish: confectioners’ sugar

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and granulated sugar at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add egg yolks and 2 eggs (100 grams), one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Reduce mixer speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating just until combined. Turn out dough, and shape into 2 disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with baking spray with flour.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll 1 disk of dough into a 12-inch circle. Transfer to prepared pan, pressing into bottom and up sides. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Pour Custard Filling into prepared crust, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Roll remaining dough into a 12-inch circle. Place over filling, crimp edges, and trim excess dough. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
  8. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water and remaining 1 egg (50 grams). Brush top of dough with egg wash.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F (180°C), and bake 25 minutes more, covering with foil to prevent excess browning, if necessary. Allow to cool completely before cutting. Just before serving, garnish with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

  • 2¼ cups (540 grams) whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
  • ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (64 grams) cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons (24 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 6 large egg yolks (112 grams)
  • 2 large eggs (100 grams

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat milk and vanilla bean seeds over medium heat.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, flour, egg yolks, and eggs. Slowly add hot milk mixture into sugar mixture while whisking. Return mixture to saucepan, and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until bubbly and very thick, about 2-5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat, and transfer to a large heat-proof bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing wrap directly onto surface of custard. Let cool to room temperature before using, about 1 hour.

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23 COMMENTS

Very tasty, but the custard didn’t set. What could have gone wrong?

Hey Robert!
Thanks for reaching out. We would love to help you figure out what went wrong with your custard in the Gâteau Basque. If you want to reach out to us to discuss further and in detail about your steps in making the custard, email [email protected]
Thanks!

This looks delicious, I look forward to making it! I do have one question, The pastry cream uses only the seeds from the vanilla pod? Is it ok to add the scraped pod to the milk as well, and strain the finished product?

hey beth,
Thank you for reaching out! That is perfectly fine to do- we love to see people adapt our recipes to more of their liking! Have fun with it and let us know how it turns out. Happy Baking!

This was delicious! We’ll definitely make it again.

Serve hot or cold?

Cold or room temperature would be best. The filling inside has a velvety texture that might be compromised by a reheat in the oven!

Would it be possible to sub vanilla extract for the vanilla bean? If so, how much extract should I use? I know the bean would have the best flavor but at $10/bean it’s a little steep. Thank you!

Thank you for reaching out! Yes, you can substitute the vanilla bean for the extract. We suggest using 3 teaspoons of vanilla extract in place of the 1 vanilla bean. Happy Baking!

Made this for a birthday and it was such a big hit!

Hi, I’m your instructions 8 and 9 look like unfinished sentences. Could you please fix that. thanks in advance

thank you for reaching out! We have fixed this problem. Thank you for your patience!

[…] adapted from two different recipes from Bake from Scratch and Pardon Your […]

At what temp do you cook custard. Mine got very very thick-not creamy and only after about 3 min on med heat. 1/2 cup corn starch seems like a lot.

Thank you for reaching out! 3 minutes should be sufficient over medium heat. We also have a video that you can reference on IGTV (the custard starts at minute 5:26). The cake is a loaf, but the custard is similar. Hope this helps, and happy baking!

I made this gateau basque yesterday last night for my in-laws who are basque and although the flavor and crust turned out delicious the custard wasn’t as firm as it should be— what could have gone wrong? We waited about 45 min after taking it out of the oven and it was still a bit warm so wonder if that could have been the issue. Also the bottom wasn’t fully cooked… it seemed like it needed a few more minutes — should I have blind naked the crust before?

But I can’t wait to try it again!

We are so glad you tried our Gâteau Basque! It’s one of our editor-in-chief’s favorites. It sounds like your oven may be running at a lower temperature if you did not get a good bake on the crust. Have you ever tried checking it with an oven thermometer? If not, they are pretty inexpensive and give you a wealth of information! You will want to let the cake cool completely before cutting to allow the custard to set up. We also have a video on IGTV that may help. It is for a loaf that has blueberries, but it is a similar concept. Happy baking!

ooo I have a leftover filbert caramel powder from a Paris-brest. could I use to add to the pastry cream?

That sounds divine! We haven’t tried this before, but please let us know if you have made it and how it turned out!

Great recipe. It was my first time attempting this type of cake, and everything went smoothly. I did leave the custard and the mixed dough in the fridge overnight as I didn’t want to stay up late, but letting it warm up before putting it together was just fine. I love how lightly sweet the custard is and how crispy and dense the cake was. I appreciate the method of rolling out the dough instead of piping out the dough. The cake look more even to me. Thank you so much for the great recipe and easy to follow steps.

I am confused with how many eggs to use in the pastry. Am I supposed to use 6 egg yolks, and two egg whites? Then have a whole separate egg for the egg wash?

Thank you for your question! For the pastry, you will use the 3 egg yolks, plus 2 whole eggs (5 egg yolks and 2 egg whites total). Then, for the egg wash, you will use the remaining 1 whole egg and whisk it with 1 tablespoon of water.

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