The Basque cake, also known as “Gateau Basque” or “Pastel Vasco” in French and Spanish respectively, is a traditional dessert that originates from the Basque Country, a region in the southwestern part of France and the northern part of Spain. This cake has a rich history that is deeply intertwined with the culture and culinary traditions of the Basque people.

The exact origins of the Basque cake are somewhat uncertain, but it has been a staple in Basque cuisine for centuries. It is believed to have been influenced by both French and Spanish culinary traditions due to the Basque Country’s unique geographical location, which straddles the border of these two countries.

The Basque cake typically consists of two layers of a dense, buttery pastry filled with either a cherry or almond-flavored pastry cream. The top layer of the cake is often adorned with a characteristic crosshatch pattern, which is not only decorative but also serves to differentiate between the cherry and almond-filled varieties.

One of the most famous variations of Basque cake is the “Gateau Basque à la Cerise” or “Basque Cherry Cake,” which is filled with cherry preserves or compote. Another popular version is the “Gateau Basque à la Crème” or “Basque Cream Cake,” filled with a rich almond-flavored pastry cream. Both versions are equally beloved in the region.

The Basque cake has become an iconic dessert in the Basque Country and is often enjoyed on special occasions, such as weddings, festivals, and family gatherings. It has also gained popularity outside the region and can be found in bakeries and restaurants across France and Spain.

Recipe Note

Basque Cake

Basque Cake, a beloved dessert originating from the Basque Country in France and Spain, is a culinary treasure with a rich history. This delectable treat features a dual-layered, buttery pastry filled with either luscious almond cream or cherry preserves, boasting a characteristic crosshatch pattern on top. Adored for generations, Basque Cake is a symbol of tradition and celebration in the region, embodying the unique fusion of French and Spanish culinary influences that define the Basque culture.
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Basque
Servings 4 people
Calories 357 kcal


  • 1 Bowl
  • 1 Cake pan
  • 1 Fork
  • Oven


For the Pastry Dough

  • 220 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tbsp salt
  • 225 grams butter unsalted
  • 200 grams sugar
  • 2 egg yolks large
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Almond Cream Filling

  • 100 grams ground almonds
  • 100 grams sugar
  • 60 grams butter unsalted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp rum or brandy (optional)


Prepare the Pastry Dough:

  • In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • In another bowl, cream together the softened butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract to the butter-sugar mixture and mix until well combined.
  • Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until the dough comes together. Do not overmix.

Form the Dough:

  • Divide the dough into two equal portions. Wrap each portion in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to firm it up.

Make the Almond Cream Filling:

  • In a separate bowl, mix together the ground almonds, granulated sugar, softened butter, egg, almond extract, and rum (if using). The filling should have a creamy consistency.

Preheat the Oven:

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).

Assemble the Cake:

  • Take one portion of the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out to fit an 8-inch (20 cm) tart pan or cake pan. The dough should cover both the bottom and sides of the pan.
  • Spread the almond cream filling evenly over the dough in the pan.

Top with Second Layer of Dough:

  • Roll out the second portion of dough to form a top layer for the cake. You can create a lattice pattern or use a fork to make a decorative pattern on top.


  • Place the assembled cake in the preheated oven and bake for approximately 35-45 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and the filling is set.

Cool and Serve:

  • Allow the Basque Cake to cool in the pan for a while, then transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Once cooled, slice and serve. It's delicious served at room temperature.


  • BUDGET: medium
  • DIFFICULTY: medium
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