Gateau Basque Cake

This has got to be one of the best cakes in the whole entire world!  It is made with a shortbread like crust filled with pastry cream heaven!!!


I lived on Maui in my early twenty’s and worked at a little French Basque restaurant named “La Vie en Rose” where I first discovered this amazing cake.  I am a sucker for a good pastry cream and I love shortbread so the first time I tried this cake it was heaven on earth.  I made it one time when I had my restaurant and haven’t made it again until now.


  A few years ago I asked my friend Beto if he had tried Basque cake before because he had spent time in San Sebastian Spain, and of coarse he had. I bought the perfect pan for it and had intended on making it then, but I never did.  It was Beto’s birthday and I asked him what he wanted me to make and he said ” there is always the Basque cake” I though omg this is going to be a challenge due to the fact that I have to make it my own and not just copy a recipe, so I researched the s%#& out of it and I pulled it off. Everyone loved it even Robby who isn’t a fan of any thing creamy.


 I used ground almonds in this one, which makes it a bit denser with such a great texture.  There are many versions and one is with a black cherry preserve, but I prefer the cream.

Try it with milk, tea or coffee for non-alcoholic drinks.  For a wine a nice Muscat Blanc or a sparkly wine such as a Cava, Txakoli or Prosecco.


Recipe: 6 – 8 Servings


  • 1 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Almond Flour
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Zest
  • 1 Teaspoon Rum
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt

Pastry Cream

  • 2 Cups Milk
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 3 tablespoons Flour
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 Vanilla Bean
  • Pinch Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Rum


The Pastry

Put butter in freezer 1/2 hour before.

  In a big bowl mix the flour, sugar and almonds.

  Take butter out of the freezer and cut it in small cubes on top of the flour mix.

 With your hands mix ingredients well, leaving little balls of butter.

In a bowl beat the eggs, lemon zezt and rum, then mix them with the flour mix and mix thoroughly still leaving the little balls of butter.

Put mixture on plastic wrap and shape in a rectangle then put it in the fridge.

Refrigerate for at least an hour or put in the freezer for a 1/2 hour.

While that’s getting cold start the pastry cream.

Instructions: The Cream

First butter a 2-inch high, 8-inch round cake pan. and put in the freezer.

Measure and pour the milk in to a saucepan. Slice the vanilla bean on one side, open it and scrape out the seeds with a small knife in to the milk, then bring to a boil.

 Beat the sugar and eggs then stir in the rum and stir in the flour.

Add the hot milk very slowly to the flour/egg mix and mix together.

Pour back in to the sauce pan and cook over very low heat while stirring and remove from the heat when the cream begins to boil .(it will thicken)

Stir in the butter and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375′F

Cut the dough into a 1/3 and a 2/3 chunk and place the 1/3 chunk back into the freezer.

Sprinkle the dough with a little flour and roll out the 2/3 chunk into a circle of about 10-inches. (you can roll in between to pieces of parchment paper if you like)

Line the bottom and sides of the cake pan with the dough, pressing it on the sides and make it as even as you can. (about 1 inch up the sides)

Fill with the cooled pastry cream and spread evenly.

Roll out the 1/3 chunk of dough  a bit bigger than 8 inches and carefully drape it over the filling, then pinch the edges together to seal in the filling.

Make a crisscross pattern on top with a small knife and brush on a egg yolk diluted with a tiny bit of milk or water.

Bake it for about 30 minutes or until golden.

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