That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Gâteau Basque

Gâteau Basque

This buttery French Gâteau Basque hails from the Basque region of France and is filled with either pastry cream or preserved cherries.

Gâteau Basque on a white cake stand topped with raspberries

Gâteau Basque

Four years ago this fall, I reconnected with some sorority sisters for a getaway weekend in Chicago. Our time together was both exhilarating and exhausting as we stayed up till 3 AM looking at old photos, laughing and gabbing. It was as if time had not passed.

One of the highlights was going to The Bristol, owned by the brother-in-law of my friend, Julie. We dined at a community table and got the red carpet treatment as we sampled dish after exquisite dish.

The recipe I wanted to recreate the most was their Basque cake, or Gâteau Basque, a cream filled pastry type cake. Each bite of the chef’s buttery creation melted in my mouth, and I combed the web to find the best recipe. It was no surprise I used Dorie Greenspan’s recipe as my inspiration.

Gâteau Basque on a white ceramic cake stand

Tips for Making a Gâteau Basque

  • A Gâteau Basque is easily identified by the pattern on the top crust. Marked with crosshatching means it’s filled with pastry cream; a Basque cross signals black cherry jam filling. Those of you who might remember some of the hubby’s idiosyncrasies will recall the only cherries he will touch are in his KoolAid. You can probably guess what I used with both attempts.
  • The Bristol’s version was topped with diced caramelized apples, but I chose to garnish my summer gâteau with berries. No surprise there either, right Cher? And like my first go ’round, this one was Bill approved. “Really good” was his response. I’d say he’s about 50/50 with Dorie’s recipes so far. I should have kept a better tally!
  • This recipe and Dorie’s insights were published on the NPR site; Dorie’s visit to the Gâteau Basque Museum posted on her website; and the recipe alone shared on LAWeekly. Since this recipe has been circulating on the Internet, it is one I will publish in its entirety here.

Gâteau Basque slice on a white plate garnished with raspberries

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Gâteau Basque

Gâteau Basque

A French butter cake filled with pastry cream.

  • Author: Liz Berg
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Dessert, Cake
  • Method: Mixing, Baking
  • Cuisine: French

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons (5 ounces) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 to 1 cup thick cherry jam or an equal amount of vanilla pastry cream (use your favorite recipe)
  • 1 egg beaten with a splash of water, for the glaze

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and set aside.
  2. Using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and both sugars together on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until smooth. Add the egg and beat another 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. The mixture may appear curdled. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in two or three additions, mixing just till they’re incorporated into the dough.
  3. Place a large sheet of plastic wrap on your work surface and put half of the very soft and sticky dough in the center of the sheet. Cover with another piece of plastic, then roll the dough into a circle slightly larger than 8 inches in diameter. As you’re rolling, turn the dough over and lift the plastic frequently, so that you don’t roll it into the dough and form creases. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
  4. Put the dough on a cutting board or baking sheet and refrigerate it for about 3 hours or for up to 3 days.
  5. When you’re ready to assemble and bake the gateau, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350º. Generously butter a 2-inch high 8-inch round cake pan or springform pan.
  6. Remove the layers from the refrigerator and let them rest on the counter for a couple of minutes before peeling away the plastic or paper. Fit one layer into the pan, pressing together any cracks or breaks with your fingers. Trim off any excess dough. Spoon some of the jam (3/4+cup) or pastry cream (3/4 cup) onto the dough, starting in the center of the cake and leaving one inch of dough bare around the outer edge.
  7. Moisten the bare ring of dough with a little water and then top with the second piece of dough, pressing down around the edges to seal it.
  8. Brush the top of the dough with the egg glaze and use the tips of a fork to create a cross-hatch pattern across the top.
  9. Bake the cake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it rest for 5 minutes before running a knife around the edges of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Carefully flip cake over onto a cooling rack and then quickly invert it onto another rack so that it can cool fully right side up. If you’re using a springform pan, remove the sides and carefully move to a cooking rack using a large spatula.

Notes

The pastry filled version is best served on the day it is made.

Recipe from: Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan

If you’re curious what my early blog posts looked like (NOT good!), you can check out my first  Gateau Basque here.

A couple photos from my Chicago trip in 2010:

The Bristol Chicago with college friends

Dining at The Bristol, Chicago

The Drake Chicago with college friends

Alpha Phi reunion at The Drake, Chicago

French Fridays with Dorie

Skinny Tip

I’m offering a series of Skinny Tips. How I keep slim is one of my most frequent inquiries. I’ll feature tips on some of my upcoming blog posts.

Tip #32: Monitor your weight via your scale or the fit of your clothes. I rarely weigh myself, but if my jeans feel extra snug, I cut back on my after dinner cookies. Waiting too long to make diet or exercise adjustments means more weight to take off. It’s much easier to lose a couple pounds versus 10 or 20.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links; view my Disclosure Policy for details. I earn a small percentage from any purchase you make by clicking on these links at no extra cost to you.

53 comments on “Gâteau Basque”

  1. What a beautiful version of this Liz!

  2. I would love a slice or two of this cake with my evening tea 🙂 filling sounds especially nice

  3. Love the gâteau Basque and yours looks so good! Very nice photos from your Chicago’s trip 🙂

  4. Love the pretty top of the cake:@)

  5. Your raspberries are a constant -I am pretty sure that the Universe would turn upside down or the earth would stop spinning on its axis if I didn’t see them here at least once a week 🙂
    Your version is lovely, as always. The pastry cream sounds like a delicious surprise inside!

  6. This looks fantastic! I’ve never heard of this before, but pastry cream? I’m in!

  7. I adore this cake Liz. it looks so gorgeous and delicious. Interesting about the markings. I hope on day to make it to basque country. Chicago is awesome too!

  8. Una bella ricetta che proverò presto!

  9. The cake looks beautiful, both inside and outside. Perfect!

  10. Perfection in all aspects: ratio in portions of crust and filling and those uniform lines! Amazing job again! And love skinny tip #32.

  11. I cannot imagine a more picture-perfect version of gateau basque. Great work Liz!

  12. Wow Liz, this gateau looks perfect…really professionally made. Gorgeous!
    Have a great weekend 😀

  13. well, this version is stunning, with a perfect crosshatch! looks like it brought back fun memories, too.

  14. It can be scary to have a restaurant version in your head of something you are going to make at home, so glad it worked out well for you and Bill. Lovely ladies.

  15. What a stunning cake Liz, it looks like it came from a professional baker. Oh, what am I saying – it did!!

  16. This is gorgeous, Liz. I would love a piece or two now.

  17. You look the same. That’s a huge compliment. Your cake is beautiful, as usual. I’m not surprised you made the pastry cream. I went the simpler route first but am anxious to try the creamy version. The Bristol does not ring a bell with me. Glad you’re having some time with Nick, probably baking your heart out. BTW, I gained 3 pounds overnight. What’s up with that?

  18. Beautiful Gateau Liz! I adore custard so I would have loved this version, but I was feeling lazy so opted for jam. Love your Chicago pics too.

  19. This is a very pretty dessert and I love the look of filling. In January I caught up with two girls I studied nursing with and like you, it was just like no time at all had past xx

  20. Loved the trip down memory lane. My two boys liked this too. Thanks for the help with the preserved lemons. I will call Whole Foods and cross my fingers.

  21. Stunning cake, Liz! Almost as stunning as you are in these photos (and in person!)

    Thank you (again/still/always) for your skinny tip – LOVE THEM!

    xo

    Janet

  22. This is the first pastry cream gateau I’ve seen. The raspberry garnish is just the right signature to make it a “Liz dessert”. It looks delicious, and it’s so exciting that it’s Bill-approved. I made the cherry jam filled version, but Howard declined to try it.

  23. Lizzy you always impressed me! Look georgeous!
    xo

  24. I’m so envious of your cross hatch…maybe you can teach a class at IFBC??? Fun to see your earlier blog posts:)

  25. So beautiful, your crosshatch pattern is perfect!

  26. Hi Liz,
    your Gateau looks fantastic! Panos (he’s next to me) was drooling all over the keyboard when I told him this stuff is filled with cream or jam:) Definitely his kind of dessert (not that I wouldn’t devour this as well) 🙂
    It was beautiful to see the old post too, it reminds every blogger his first posts on the web:)
    How’s Lambeu doing? She looks amazingly cute! We love Labradors:)
    Have a beautiful weekend!!!

  27. You have me crave for a gateau basque! Yours looks perfect, Liz.

  28. Such a beautiful dessert! I can see why you wanted to recreate it. I wonder it could be filled with a combination of cherry jam and pastry cream.

  29. Oh that’s a pretty cake! The crosshatch makes it even more appealing 🙂

    Julie
    Gourmet Getaways

  30. Liz, it’s gorgeous!

  31. Hi Liz, looks like you all had a great time in Chicago. Love the combination of pastry cream and the cherry jam.

  32. Liz, this gateau basque is a thing of beauty!!! this is why I love you. . so beautiful. . and I love that a cross-hatch pattern across the top!!!

  33. I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your sites really nice, keep it up!
    I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back later.
    Cheers

  34. Oh the apples sound great, but I think raspberries are really your thing. I really do associate raspberries with That Skinny Chick! : )

    Your giant cookie-tar-cake looks amazing, especially with the pastry cream! : )

  35. That gateau looks great with the pastry cream. So many ways to make this one.

    Looks like y’all had fun in Chicago.

  36. Such a beautiful gateau, I shall definitely have to give it a go, I think this is something the other half will be into so at least I wont be tempted to eat it all myself 😀

  37. How beautiful! I think that the pastry cream version would be even better, though I knew mine was going to be enjoyed over several days, so I opted for home made strawberry jam. This was so much fun to make – yours looks absolutely delicious!!!

    Oh, and your earlier post, not to make you sad, but I miss the photos of Lambeau. Nice that you had this reminder of such a great trip with your friends!!

  38. I wish I had a slice of this right now! Looks totally amazing, Liz. There’s nothing like girl time, is there?

  39. This looks like a beautiful cake, very impressive. I love the cream filling. Beautiful presentation!

  40. This cake is so pretty! I’ve never had a gateau basque before but it looks and sounds delicious with the pastry cream filling! The cross-hatch pattern on top looks amazing!

  41. Liz, a very lovely looking gâteau basque – what a nice filling, vanilla pastry cream is always so delicious – it seems that we all enjoyed this recipe tremendously and it was so easy to put together too.
    Have a ncie Sunday!

  42. Nothing better than the company of good friends, a continuous flow of conversation, laughter and cake with cream! Ooo-la-la oh so gourmet. Your friend’s husband may soon be hiring you to make le gateau basque!

  43. This is stunning! I’ve never heard of a gateau basque before, but I think I need to try making one immediately!

  44. I read through the recipe and was trying to figure out where the filling is. I’m still a little confused, but sure I’m not getting something. I love the cake with the filling….it’s stunning. You are the Queen of Desserts!

  45. I have never had a Gateau Basque and now I’m all like…WHERE HAVE I BEEN??! This cake looks so sophisticated and creamy and buttery and delicate yet rich and just—MMMMMM!

  46. I could eat this entire cake at one sitting w/ red wine! GORGEOUS.

    How are you, Liz the Star? xx

  47. I love the Drake hotel. I’m glad this cake brought back such fun memories for you. Yours came out beautifully.

  48. Your Gateau Basque looks wonderful!

  49. That looks so delicious with the pastry cream! It was a lot of fun looking back at your older post – my early ones aren’t so great either.

  50. You ladies haven’t aged one bit. You lucky things!

    Your Gâteau Basque would be a real treat right this minute.

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