Basque Cake (Pastel Vasco)

homemade gateau basque on cake cooler

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  • Total: 80 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 60 mins
  • Refrigerate Crust: 60 mins
  • Servings: 16 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
348 Calories
18g Fat
40g Carbs
8g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 348
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18g 22%
Saturated Fat 9g 43%
Cholesterol 164mg 55%
Sodium 404mg 18%
Total Carbohydrate 40g 14%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Protein 8g
Calcium 102mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The Basque cake, pastel Vasco in Spanish or gâteau basque in French, is a traditional cake or pie that has a rich cookie-like crust and a creamy pastry cream filling.

Often the filling is flavored with rum-soaked berries or raisins. Although originally the filling was figs or cherries, that changed to pastry cream sometime in the 19th century. This version of the recipe is filled with pastry cream and raisins and is lightly flavored with rum. It goes well with hot coffee for a Merida (Spanish afternoon snack) or a lovely finish to a Spanish dinner.


  • For the Crust:
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 7 oz./200 g granulated sugar
  • 7 oz./200 g butter (softened)
  • Grated peel of one lemon
  • Optional: 1/2 oz./15 mL rum or Sacha ran
  • 10 oz./300 g white flour
  • For the Pastry Cream Filling:
  • 16 oz./1/2 L milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4.5 oz./120 g granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp. white flour
  • Optional: 1 oz. (30 ml) rum or Sacha ran
  • 2 oz./75 g raisins

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. To prepare the crust, in a medium mixing bowl, mix the butter, sugar, lemon peel, one egg, and two egg yolks until well-blended.

  3. Pour in the rum (optional).

  4. Add the flour a bit at a time, mixing until it forms a homogenous dough. Form the dough into an oblong shape and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.

  5. Refrigerate for one hour.

  6. While the dough is chilling, prepare the cream filling. Pour the milk into a saucepan and heat on medium. Place egg yolks, sugar, flour, and rum, or Sacha ran into a mixing bowl and mix well. Stir hot milk into the bowl a little at a time. Stir in the raisins.

  7. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and bring to a boil while stirring. Stir while mixture boils and thickens, for about five minutes. Remove from heat and spoon into a clean bowl and allow to cool on the counter for a few minutes. Chill in the refrigerator.

  8. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

  9. Remove chilled dough from refrigerator and divide it into two equal parts. Flour the board and the rolling pin. The dough will be very soft and will easily tear. Roll out dough into two large circles. One should be a bit larger than the other. If the dough sticks to the board, use a spatula to carefully lift the dough off. It will be very soft and will easily tear.

  10. Using a metal 9-inch pie pan or a glass pie pan, lay the larger of the two circles of dough into the pan and press into the sides, allowing it to extend over the edges.

  11. Spread the cream filling out evenly over the bottom of the pan. Place the other dough circle over the top and seal the edges by pinching them together.

  12. Beat the remaining egg. Brush the beaten egg over the top crust. To make a traditional decoration on top, drag the tines of a fork across the top crust.

  13. Bake in the oven for 35 to 45 minutes, until the crust, is golden.

  14. Serve and enjoy!