Basque Bundt Cake

Basque bundt sliced on white plate

The gâteau Basque, a classic French cake filled with luxurious pastry cream, is one of my favorites. When I saw a loaf cake take on the menu at one of my favorite restaurants, Highlands Bar & Grill in Birmingham, Alabama, I was thrilled. When I tasted the cake, I found that rather than having a pastry cream filling, it had the cream mixed right into the batter, and I was inspired to take the innovation one step further with a beautiful Basque Bundt cake. We made a Basque Custard that we then stirred into a plain pound cake base, creating a cake that tastes of pastry cream but has the texture of a tender pound cake.

Basque Bundt Cake
Makes 1 (10-cup) Bundt cake
  • 1½ cups (340 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs (250 grams), room temperature
  • 3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon (1 gram) cream of tartar
  • 1⅔ cups (360 grams) Basque Custard (recipe follows)
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and granulated sugar at low speed just until combined; increase mixer speed to medium, and beat until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at time, beating well after each addition.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and cream of tartar. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with Basque Custard, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition and stopping to scrape sides of bowl.
  4. Spray a 10-cup Bundt pan with baking spray with flour. Spoon and spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Tap pan on a kitchen towel-lined counter a few times to settle batter and release any air bubbles.
  5. Bake until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes, loosely covering with foil to prevent excess browning, if necessary. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Invert cake onto a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.
PRO TIP-If your oven runs hot and browns your cakes easily, try baking your cake at 325°F (170°C) for the same bake time (1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes). It’ll yield the same results but with a lighter crust.

Basque Custard
  • 2 cups (480 grams) whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
  • ⅓ cup (67 grams) granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup (40 grams) cornstarch
  • 4 large egg yolks (74 grams)
  • 1 large egg (50 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons (16 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
  1. Place a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat milk and reserved vanilla bean seeds over medium heat until steaming. (Do not boil.)
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, egg yolks, egg, flour, and salt. Gradually whisk hot milk mixture into sugar mixture. Return mixture to saucepan, and cook, whisking constantly, until bubbly and very thick, 2 to 6 minutes. Strain through prepared sieve. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap, pressing wrap directly onto surface of custard to prevent a skin from forming. Use warm.


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  1. Cake seemed too dense. Just out of curiosity, was this supposed to have a little baking soda to react with the cream of tartar?

    • Hi Pam!

      Thanks for reaching out. Unlike pound cakes, which can lean towards the drier side, this Basque Bundt is a very dense, custard-like cake.

    • Hello Susan,

      Thanks for reaching out! You most definitely could make 2 cakes with your 5 cup Bundt pan. If you see our Mimosa Bundt Cake recipe, we use a 6 cup and the cook time is approximately 35-40 minutes. I would say that this would be a good start for your 5 cup pan as well, but you will want to check the cake and bake until a cake tester like a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean. This cake is particularly dense, so you may find it needs extra time. Hope this helps and happy baking!

      • Thanks Sandi. I’ll give it a try and fingers crossed it will work out with 2 cakes. When you say dense I hope it’s decadent as well!

  2. I was wondering how long the cake holds, I would like to make it for Christmas ? I know it says use the custard warm could it be made the day before and bought up to room temperature

    • Hi Cherie,

      Thanks for reaching out! You’ll want to make the custard when you make the cake for best results. The cake can be made up to 3 days in advance before serving. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container or tightly wrapped. Have a wonderful holiday!


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