Basque Cake

This cake is two layers of pâte sablée (shortcrust pastry dough) sandwiching either a pastry cream with lemon/rum flavoring or cherry jam.


Pastry Cream

  • 114 cup milk
  • 13 cup heavy cream
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 14+ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 4-6 tsp dark rum

Cake Layers

  • 280g all-purpose or cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 250g (16 tbsp) unsalted butter (room temp)
  • 160g brown sugar
  • 125g almond flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs (room temp)


Make the pastry cream (day before)

  • In a medium saucepan, bring 114 cup milk and 13 cup heavy cream just to a simmer
  • Meanwhile in a medium mixing bowl
    • Whisk together the egg and 2 egg yolks, 14 cup brown sugar, and 2 tbsp corn starch
    • When ready, slowly whisk in the hot cream
  • Transfer back to the sauce pan
  • Return the pan to heat and keep whisking until thickened
  • Remove from heat and whisk in 4-6 tsp rum, 1 tsp vanilla, lemon zest
  • Let cool to room temp
  • Cover in contact with plastic and refrigerate if making ahead

Make the cake batter

  • Bring 3 eggs and 2 sticks butter to room temperature
  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together 280g flour and 1 tsp baking powder
  • In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment
    • Cream together 2 sticks butter, 160g brown sugar, 125g almond flour, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp vanilla
    • Beat in the 3 eggs 1 at a time
    • Continue until very fluffy
    • Scrape down the sides and add in the flour
    • Mix on low until just combined

Build the cake

  • Butter a 9″ round cake pan and line with parchment (and butter the top of that as well)
  • Transfer the cake batter into a piping bag with a 1/2″ circle tip
  • Transfer the pastry cream into a piping bag with as big as big of a tip as you have
  • Pipe a disk of batter on the bottom of the cake pan
  • Pipe a ring of batter on top of that disk, around the inside perimeter of the pan to hold the filling
  • Pipe the pastry cream into the middle of the cake
  • Pipe another disk of batter on top
  • Cover with plastic wrap and smooth the top with your hand
  • Refrigerate until firm
  • Brush cake top (twice?) with egg wash and score it in a pattern

Bake and finish

  • Bake at 350°F for 45–50 minutes
  • Let cool for 20 minutes before unmolding
  • Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely
  • Serve at room temperature
  • Store in the refrigerator