Gâteau Basque Recipe (2024)

By Dorie Greenspan

Gâteau Basque Recipe (1)

Total Time
About 1½ hours, plus chilling
Read community notes

Bixente Marichular, founder of the Musée du Gâteau Basque in Sare, France, says the pastry is part of Basque patrimony: Every family has a recipe, and every family thinks theirs is the best. This version, made with ingredients from an American supermarket, follows the tradition of sandwiching two rounds of rolled-out dough with jam. In the Pays Basque, where the filling is sometimes pastry cream, the jam is usually local black cherry. Once baked, the texture of the “cake” — never mind that it’s about as much cake as Boston cream pie is pie — is a mix of crumbly, tender and chewy. Since gâteau Basque is a casual treat, eating it with your fingers is allowed.

Featured in: The Jam-Filled Pastry of My Dreams

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Yield:8 servings

  • 2cups/256 grams all-purpose flour
  • ¾teaspoon baking powder
  • ½teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½cup plus 2 tablespoons/142 grams unsalted butter (1¼ sticks), at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
  • ¼cup/55 grams light brown sugar
  • ¼cup/50 grams granulated sugar
  • 1large egg, at room temperature
  • ½teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ to 1cup/180 to 240 grams thick cherry jam
  • 1egg, beaten with a splash of cold water, for glazing

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (8 servings)

384 calories; 16 grams fat; 9 grams saturated fat; 1 gram trans fat; 4 grams monounsaturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 56 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram dietary fiber; 26 grams sugars; 5 grams protein; 209 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Gâteau Basque Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

  2. Step


    Working with a mixer (use a paddle attachment if you have one), beat together the butter and both sugars on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the egg, and beat for another 2 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla; the mixture should be smooth. Add the flour mixture all at once, then pulse the mixer to begin incorporating it. Mix on low until blended.

  3. Step


    Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather into a ball, then divide in half.

  4. Shape each piece into a disk — the dough will be sticky — and put each between sheets of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, roll each piece into a round just a smidge wider than 8 inches. Keeping the dough sandwiched between the parchment, refrigerate for at least 3 hours (or for up to 3 days).

  5. Step


    When you’re ready to bake, center a rack in the oven, and heat to 350 degrees. Generously butter an 8-inch-by-2-inch round cake pan. Remove the dough from the fridge, and leave on the counter until pliable, about 10 minutes. Peel away the paper.

  6. Step


    Fit one round into the pan; if it breaks, just press the pieces together. Either fold the extra dough over and onto the base or trim it; don’t fuss about precision here. Spread about ¾ cup of the jam over the base, leaving a 1-inch border bare and adding more jam, if needed.

  7. Step


    Top with the second piece of dough, lightly pressing down around the edges and, if you can, tucking the dough under a bit. Again, it doesn’t have to be perfect; the dough is soft, and as if by magic, the layers fuse in the oven.

  8. Step


    Brush the top with the egg wash, and use the tines of a fork to etch a crosshatch pattern.

  9. Step


    Bake the cake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Transfer to a rack, and let rest for 5 minutes, then carefully run a table knife around the edge of the cake. Unmold onto the rack, and then quickly and carefully turn the cake over onto another rack, crosshatch side up, so that it can cool to room temperature. Wrapped well, the cake will keep for 2 days at room temperature.



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Cooking Notes

David G

For 9” pan Flour 320 g; Baking powder Scant Tbl (.937); Salt Scant tsp; Butter 178 g; Lt. Brown sugar 69 g ; Granulated sugar 63 g; 1 large Egg; 1/2 tsp (.625 tsp); Jam 225 to 300 g


Years ago I spent the summer in the Southwest of France and became addicted to these cakes. Plum jam is also a good filling but my introduction to the pastries, and the reason I gained five pounds in one summer, were the cakes with a filling of rich pastry cream, flavored with a bit of rum.


So that the top layer will seal without the jam leaking out.

R Kline

Why do you leave a one inch border around the base?


If I wanted to make this with the pastry cream filling instead of the jam, is the procedure the same? That is, can you bake the pastry cream inside the cake or do you have to bake the layers first and then add the pastry cream after baking somehow?


I am tempted to swap almond flour for some of the wheat flour…Anyone try this?


I’ve prepped this several times using Dory’s recipe in one of her cookbooks. I use a good quality raspberry jam as the filling (although I have tried a thick cherry jam occasionally). This is a delicious dessert that always brings compliments and smiles. Try it!


My mother-in-law once made me this cake for my birthday. I remember that the recipe called for using the pastry cream exactly as you would use a fruit jam.

Basque Gateau

Delicious-- made w homemade mandarin marmalade and a special thin layer of Pistachio spread underneath. The dough did not peel off the parchment paper after chilling. I would recommend using wax paper perhaps? Or greasing the parchment though I'm not sure that would work. Cooked this in my nine inch skillet and it looked very handsome coming out!I remember a recipe like this one w rum in the dough and something to do with almonds. I'm wondering what it could be.

Carl S

Made this with pastry cream - just use it as you would jam. Sped up the cooling using the freezer to good result. Froze for 30 minutes, rested on the countertop for five to 10 minutes.


In addition to being careful not to have the jam within 1 inch of the edge, I'd advise not trimming the extra dough on the base layer so it's easier to join the two layers together so the jam doesn't leak out. My jam did leak and it made transferring out of the pan, unmolding, and turning it cross hatch up somewhat of a mess. But, it tasted good.

David G

9” Correction - After the Egg the entry should be “1/2 tsp (.625 tsp) VANILLA extract”


Any adjustments for 9 x 3 round cake pan, with removable smooth bottom (no cross hatch)?

Madame Defarge Kept a List

The crosshatching comes from running a fork across the top after the egg wash is brushed on.I think the instructions mean to unmold the cake onto a rack (then the top will become the bottom) and then flip it over onto another rack so the top again becomes the top and the crosshatching faces up. Hope this helps.


Great cake! Lots of filling ideas on line. Wife wants a chocolate cream next time. Followed the recipe except, used a raspberry jam (it's what I had), 8" parchment paper on the bottom and, as always, non-stick spray instead of buttering the pan. For additional commentary, Ms. Greenspan did an NPR interview about this cake in 2009. Fun to read.


I made this the other day with a cranberry compote as the filling … thanksgiving version! It is delicious and versatile and easy.


Made exactly as described. Chilled dough for 3 hours, then took out 10 minutes to soften. Dough completely stuck to the paper and I had to essentially piece it together using all the crazy pieces of dough. I don't think it needed those 10 minutes, but maybe it would have stuck anyway. Baked up fine, and because I mistakenly used a spring form pan, I didn't have to worry about flipping it from rack to rack and losing the crust in the process. The taste is divine, but we need some tweaks here.


This disappointed me. It’s more like a biscuit with cherry jam or a cherry shortbread than a “stuffed blondie baked in a tart shell” —how my traveling companion and I described the gâteaux while in Basque Country recently. If I were a doctor, I would prescribe more butter, more brown sugar, more salt! If anyone wants a rec, our hands-down favorite was the apricot-walnut gâteau at Maison Adam in Biarritz.


So easy and so good, I added pflaumenmus on one side and mixed berry cherry on the other half.


Those of you who have made this, or had the good fortunate of eating it in le pays basque, would fig jam be good rather than cherry?


I‘ve made this from time to time since it was published in NYT cooking. Followed the recipe as written with no complications (and no leaking). Delicious and not overly sweet, a bit like a pop-tart for grownups. It’s great with afternoon tea or coffee. Don‘t sweat the fillings, just use your favorite jam.


I made this with all purpose gluten free flour...came out a bit dry and very, very crumbly, still tasty. Next time I will use finely ground almond flour as that seems to bind itself together more. The 1 egg for the egg wash proved to be far too much...ended up scrambling the excess.


Shockingly delicious warm out of the oven! A tender, flaky crust and then that hit of cherry jam. I used Bonne Maman.


I made these into mini pies using a tart pan. I also added a bit of almond extract to the jam. They were awesome and perfect for casual parties so each guest can just grab and go. I was able to get 12 tartlets out of this recipe with some scraps left over for a few cookies.


A friend of mine fell in love with this cake the first time I made it (so much easier to make than it sounds!). Now she has requested I make one with a layer of almond along with the cherry jam. I don't know whether to use almond creme, almond paste, marzipan... ? Can someone advise? I am not generally a pastry maker, so I have no "instinct" for what would be best.


Go with Almond Cream (Frangipane). This version works well in pastries. (I recommend using weight rather than cups). 150 gr (2/3 cup) Unsalted Butter, softened150 gr (2/3 cup) Superfine Sugar3 SMALL Eggs - or 150 gr of Eggs w/o the shell (Weigh the eggs), room temp.150 gr (1 1/2 cup) Almond Meal1/2 tsp. Vanilla Paste or Extract, or Almond Extract (optional)Cream Butter & Sugar until fluffy, beat in eggs one at a time (add extract here, if using), mix in Meal.Use right away (fresher).


I had just placed the second disk of pastry over the strawberry-fig jam and sealed the edges when I realized I had forgotten to butter the cake pan. Took one of the parchment pieces, upended the pan over that and managed to get the cake out of the cake pan without breaking the dough. Put the cake back in the pan with the parchment paper under it. Worked beautifully, very easy to get out of the pan. And delicious!

Steve S

We are overrun with green figs from our single, bountiful tree. So, I made this recipe with Martha Rose Shulman’s fig jam. It turned out beautifully, with a rich, crumbly cake and fresh fig taste. What Sir Isaac Newton wanted for his eponymous fig treat.


This recipe was straight forward and simple to accomplish.. I did use an 8” springform pan which made it easy to slide off the bottom disk once cooled. I made this for a friend who lives part time in the basque region and it was a hit! I will make it again.


I’ve made it with cherry, strawberry and blueberry—all delicious. And made it gluten and dairy free (sensitive family members) with stick margarine and gf 1 for 1 flour with a little extra xanthan gum. Was slightly different texture on the dough but still crumbly and held together perfectly. This is a new family favorite.


And used 8 inch tart pan—no problems removing it from the pan and it fit perfectly.

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Gâteau Basque Recipe (2024)


Does Gâteau Basque need to be refrigerated? ›

Storage Instructions

If you filled your Basque cake with the cherry jam filling, you can store it in an airtight container at room temperature on the counter for 2-3 days or in the fridge for 4-5 days. If you opted to use pastry cream as your filling, you should keep the Gateau Basque refrigerated for up to 4 days.

Is Gâteau Basque good? ›

The gâteau basque: a true pleasure from the Pays Basque that's become hugely popular outside its borders. This golden cake, with it crusty and pleasantly sandy crust, is unequally regal, whether stuffed with pastry cream, black cherry, or almond cream. Find out all there is to know about this classic French dessert!

What is the translation of gateau basque? ›

My version filled with pastry cream should be covered and kept refrigerated for 4-5 days. What's the meaning of Gateau Basque? The name translates to Basque cake. In the Basque language, the cake is called “Etxeko biskotxa,” which translates to “cake of the house.”

What is a Basque cake made of? ›

With two layers of sweet pastry filled with a vanilla pastry cream, this cake is renowned for being simple and delicious. Learn how to make the Basque cake at home from scratch with this recipe.

Why is my Basque cheesecake wet? ›

Why is my Basque cheesecake wet? It's normal to have condensation or a 'wet' basque cheesecake as it sits in the pan and parchment paper to cool for quite some time. The only way to avoid this is to remove the pan and paper sooner, although it's not recommended.

How do you eat gâteau basque? ›

Gâteau Basque cake is delicious on its own, but it can also be enjoyed with fresh fruit, whipped cream, or ice cream. It is a perfect artisanal dessert for any occasion, and equally at home on a brunch buffet.

What is special about Basque? ›

Basque Has One of the Oldest Cultures in Europe

The Basque Country is one of Europe's oldest cultures. Some theories suggest Basques are a remnant of the Palaeolithic inhabitants of Western Europe, some 35,000 years ago. Caesar even made reference to their customs back in Roman times.

What makes Basque so unique? ›

Basque happens to be the #1 most interesting language to linguists because it's a "language isolate," meaning that it is related to no other language, now or ever. They call this a genetic relationship within language families just like we refer to humans in families.

What is the most famous Basque dish? ›

Marmitako deserves to be at the top of this list. It has all of the flavour of the Cantabrian Sea in just one stew. It is a dish that fishermen would prepare at sea, cooking some of their bonito catch (albacore tuna) with potatoes and vegetables in a metal stew pot.

What is the difference between a cake and a gâteau? ›

The actual difference is a cake normally consists of 2 layers with icing as a filling. A Gateaux is a sponge cake, which can be a little trickier to make, and is usually in thinner layers and filled with a mousse, or a pastry cream, maybe fruits or nuts.

Is Basque cheesecake from Basque? ›

Basque cheesecake is an iconic baked cheesecake hailing from San Sebastián in Spain's Basque Country (hence the name!). It's become increasingly popular over the past few years, thanks to food media and celebrity chefs singing its praises.

Where did Gâteau Basque originate? ›

Originally confined to the province of Labourd and Lower Navarre in France, the Gâteau Basque (or Basque Cake) was originally reserved for Sunday meals, special occasions and particularly weddings. The Gâteau Basque is a sweet family dessert, deeply attached to the 'etxe', or home in the Basque language.

What is Elvis Presley cake? ›

An Elvis Presley cake is a single-layer classic yellow cake that's topped with a pineapple glaze. Much like a poke cake, the syrup and juices of the pineapple will seep into the cake through fork holes, resulting in a decadent, ultra-moist cake.

What is the difference between New York cheesecake and Basque cheesecake? ›

Other than the obvious char, Basque cheesecake also differs in texture compared to a traditional or New York cheesecake, with a much lighter, airy, souffle-like mouthfeel.

What is the difference between Basque cheesecake and regular cheesecake? ›

Whats the difference between basque cheesecake and regular cheesecake. Firstly, there is zero crust, zero water bath. And it has its notably burnt exterior that is 100% planned and intentional. I like to think that its interior is more custard-like versus a fluffy cream cream cheese-type texture.

How long can basque burnt cheesecake last in room temperature? ›

The burnt basque cheesecake can be kept at room temperature, under a cake dome or a large bowl turned upside down, for 1 day. After that, place any leftover slices in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Does a galette need to be refrigerated? ›

Loosen tart from parchment and carefully slide onto wire rack using two spatulas; let cool until warm, about 30 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 day or in the fridge for up to 3 days.

How do you store a cake gâteau? ›

Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. This gateau is best made a day in advance. To make things faster you can bake the cakes the day before and store in an airtight container until ready to use.

How do you store chocolate gâteau? ›

To keep cakes fresh, it's best to store them in airtight containers in a cool, dry place. If you don't have an airtight container or cake tin, use can also use an overturned bowl (although it won't keep the cake as fresh). To keep cakes fresh for more than 1 week, try freezing them.

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