Basque Cake/Gâteau Basque

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Pottering around on the internet, as one is wont to do, I saw a recipe for something called Basque Cake or Gâteau Basque , of which I hadn’t heard before.  So I set about improving my, clearly lacking, knowledge.  In that endeavour I found the recipe which I have used, at Bruno’s Kitchen, where Bruno Albouze made one that looked so very delicious. The cake is something new for me, with a custard inside the cake.

There are a lot of steps in the making of the cake, but luckily I was able to watch the video, which was of great assistance.  I also researched other recipes, and watched a few other videos, but Bruno’s was the one I though would work best for me.

So I set about the making and found it all rather simple.  I had never made a creme patissiere, or custard, before so I was somewhat apprehensive, thinking I would end up with a curdled mess.  But happily I can report that all worked well.   Once the custard was made it was simply a case of allowing it to cool and then to set about making the cake batter.  I confess to having a little taste of the custard and it was very good indeed.

Once the batter was made I just had to put everything together, chill it, and then bake it.

The resultant cake looks good, at least to me, and having allowed it to cool and cut a small slice I can say that I am very pleased with the result.  I am so glad I decided upon this recipe, and will probably be making it again, very soon.

My big error was in the video, when I took the cake from the fridge, to bake it, I forgot to turn my microphone on, so if you watch the video you can see all the preparation, and then the baked result, but not the little bit of decoration.

Basque Cake/Gateau Basque

                               Basque Cake/Gateau Basque


For the Custard Filling:

  • 300ml whole milk
  • 20g soft brown sugar
  • 20g semolina
  • seeds from one vanilla pod + 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • zest from one lemon
  • 3 medium egg yolks
  • 40g soft brown sugar
  • 10g cornflour
  • 1 tbsp dark rum
  • 80ml double cream

For the Cake Batter:

  • 250g unsalted butter, very soft but not melted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 160g soft brown sugar
  • seeds from one vanilla pod + 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 125g ground almonds
  • 3 medium eggs(large in USA), at room temperature
  • 280g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg, beaten, as an egg wash


  1. Grease a 9inch/23cm springform cake tin, or pie tin, and line the base with greased parchment paper.
  2. Line a baking tray with clingfilm/plastic wrap.
  3. In a bowl whisk together the egg yolks, vanilla, 40g sugar and the cornflour.
  4. In a saucepan mix together the milk, 20g sugar, lemon zest and semolina.
  5. Cook the milk mixture over a medium heat until it just comes to a boil
  6. Take off the heat and, whisking the mixture all the while,  slowly add the milk to the eggs.
  7. Once all the milk is incorporated into the egg mixture place it back in the saucepan and onto the heat.
  8. Keep whisking all the time as the custard comes to the boil.
  9. In a separate pan, at the same time, bring the double cream to a boil and turn off the heat.
  10. When the custard has thickened nicely allow it to boil, still whisking, for one minute.
  11. Add the boiled cream and the dark rum and whisk to combine.
  12. Scrape the custard onto the baking tray and cover with another layer of clingfilm, spreading custard out, and allow to cool completely.
  13. When the custard has cooled to room temperature you can make the cake batter.
  14. In a stand mixer(can be done by hand too, of course) fitted with the paddle, cream the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla and ground almonds until nice and fluffy.  This should take about 3 minutes at high speed.
  15. Add the eggs, one at a time, and combine completely.
  16. Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture and beat until just combined.  Do not over-mix.
  17. Pipe the cake batter into the cake tin, from the centre outwards, in a spiral.
  18. Pipe one more circle of batter on top of the first layer, just around the perimeter of the cake tin.
  19. That give you a two layer edge and a single layer base.
  20. Pipe the custard, which you may have to stir first, onto the single layer of cake batter, inside the circle of batter which is around the perimeter.
  21. Pipe the remaining cake batter, in a spiral as before, over the top of the perimeter circle and the custard.
  22. Place clingfilm onto the cake batter and use a gentle hand motion to level and smooth it, so that the spiral shape has disappeared.
  23. Place the unbaked cake into the fridge to chill, until it has firmed up nicely. ( I left mine for a couple of hours as I had other things to do.
  24. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F
  25. Remove the chilling, unbaked cake, from the fridge and take off the clingfilm.
  26. Brush the egg wash over the top of the cake, applying two layers.
  27. Take a fork and lightly scrape a pattern into the top of the cake batter.
  28. Place in the oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until cooked and a nice golden brown colour on the top. Check it from 40 minutes onwards, until you think it is done.
  29. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before removing from the cake tin.
  30. Place the cake on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

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