Gâteau Basque Cake

I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for almost two years, but never had a chance to make it. A cake without frosting just seemed like it wouldn’t fly at a party, so this cake kept getting put on hold. I’m really glad I finally made it, though, as it’s really lovely. It’s a very lightly orangey cake with a layer each of pastry cream and raspberry preserves in the middle, and the flavors go really nicely together. I never thought I’d say this, but this is a cake where frosting actually wouldn’t add.

Ingredients:

Pastry Cream:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Cake:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium orange
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup pastry cream
  • 1/4 cup raspberry preserves (I used jelly, as my mom won’t eat things with seeds)

Several hours, or a day or two, before you want to make the cake, prepare the pastry cream. In a small saucepan, combine 2 tablespoons of sugar and 3/4 cup milk over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves and milk begins to simmer.

Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar with the egg yolks in a medium bowl.

Add the remaining 1/4 cup of milk and the cornstarch and whisk thoroughly. When the milk on the stove has reached a simmer, pour it into the milk mixture in the bowl in a slow, thin stream, whisking the mixture in the bowl constantly while you do so. You only want to add the hot milk a bit at a time so it doesn’t cook the egg yolks in the bowl.

When all the hot milk has been added to the bowl and whisked in, pour the mixture back into the saucepan and bring to a low boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Continue cooking and whisking until the mixture thickens. You should be aiming for roughly the consistency of pudding. When thickened, whisk in the vanilla and then strain through a fine sieve into a clean bowl.

Oops, into the clean bowl but forgot to go through the sieve. Oh well…

Cover, pressing the saran wrap right down onto the surface of the cream so that it doesn’t develop a skin from contact with air. Place in the refrigerator and chill until completely cooled.

When the pastry cream has cooled, you can begin the cake. Grease and then line with parchment a 9″ cake pan with 3″ sides. If you don’t have a 3″ tall cake pan, you can get them for pretty cheap on Amazon, or use a springform pan, which should have tall sides. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and place the rack in the oven in the lower third of the oven.

Melt the butter, then set aside to cool. Zest and juice the orange (you’ll need 1/3 cup of juice), then set both aside. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a small bowl and set aside.

In a stand mixer bowl, using the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on high for several minutes until doubled in size. Add the orange juice and zest and beat in on low speed until combined.

Add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with halves of the melted butter, beating and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Mix until just combined.

Spread half of the batter into the prepared cake pan. Spoon the pastry cream in a circle over the batter, leaving a full inch between the pastry cream and the sides of the pan. Gently spread the preserves over the cream.

I didn’t actually measure the jelly, just used as much as it took to cover the pastry cream.

Spread the remaining batter evenly in the pan, working gently to avoid smearing the cream and preserves about.

Bake 50-65 minutes, until the center looks firm and doesn’t squish to the touch. I think I left mine in over 65, as the center still jiggled a bit at that point.

When the middle finally stopped wobbling all over the place when I shook the pan.

Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan, which probably takes another hour. Turn out onto a plate and serve.

Tiny bit of…subsidence. Cake probably could have used another few minutes in the oven, I guess.

As I said, really good, plus you feel like an adult for having dessert that’s not frosted or chocolate.

Gâteau Basque Cake

From Not So Humble Pie.

Pastry Cream:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Cake:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium orange
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup pastry cream
  • 1/4 cup raspberry preserves

Several hours before you want to make the cake, prepare the pastry cream. In a small saucepan, combine 2 tablespoons of sugar and 3/4 cup milk over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves and milk begins to simmer.

Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar with the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of milk and the cornstarch and whisk thoroughly.

When the milk on the stove has reached a simmer, pour it into the milk mixture in the bowl in a slow, thin stream, whisking the mixture in the bowl constantly while you do so. When all the hot milk has been added to the bowl and whisked in, pour the mixture back into the saucepan and bring to a low boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Continue cooking and whisking until the mixture thickens. Whisk in the vanilla and then strain through a fine sieve into a clean bowl. Cover, pressing the saran wrap right down onto the surface of the cream. Refrigerate until completely cooled.

When the pastry cream has cooled, you can begin the cake. Grease and then line with parchment a 9″ cake pan with 3″ sides. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and place the rack in the oven in the lower third of the oven.

Melt the butter, then set aside to cool. Zest and juice the orange (you’ll need 1/3 cup of juice), then set both aside. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a small bowl and set aside.

In a stand mixer bowl, using the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on high for several minutes until doubled in size. Add the orange juice and zest and beat in on low speed until combined. Add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with halves of the melted butter, beating and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Mix until just combined.

Spread half of the batter into the prepared cake pan. Spoon the pastry cream in a circle over the batter, leaving a full inch between the pastry cream and the sides of the pan. Gently spread the preserves over the cream. Spread the remaining batter evenly in the pan, covering the cream and preserves gently to avoid smearing them.

Bake 50-65 minutes, until the center looks firm and doesn’t squish to the touch. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan. Turn out onto a plate and serve.

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About sparecake

My name's Corinne, and I like cake, cookies, and chocolate! Also, non-c-things such as ponies, Star Trek, and biking. I write a food blog and a blog about life, wide open spaces, and museum work. Nice to meet you!
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One Response to Gâteau Basque Cake

  1. brenda b says:

    This was truly delicious

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