Basque Cake (Pastel Vasco)

homemade gateau basque on cake cooler

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Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Refrigerate Crust: 60 mins
Total: 2 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 16 servings
Yield: 1 cake
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
302 Calories
14g Fat
40g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 302
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 17%
Saturated Fat 8g 39%
Cholesterol 133mg 44%
Sodium 115mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 40g 15%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 24g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 57mg 4%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 123mg 3%
*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 large egg yolks

  • 1 cup (200 grams) sugar

  • 7 ounces (14 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened

  • Grated peel of 1 lemon

  • 1 tablespoon rum, or Sacha ran, optional

  • 10 ounces (300 grams) all-purpose flour

For the Pastry Cream Filling:

  • 16 ounces (500 milliliters) milk

  • 4 large egg yolks

  • 4 1/2 ounces (120 grams) sugar

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons rum, or Sacha ran, optional

  • 2 ounces (75 grams) 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, 1 egg, and 2 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 1 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 5 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 2 equal parts. Flour the board and the rolling pin. The dough will be very soft and will easily tear. Roll out dough into 2 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 2 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.