Gâteau Basque Loaf

We took the classic French one-layer cake (our editor-in-chief’s favorite!) from round to rectangle. A tender, golden crust encases a surprise center of thick, velvety Custard Filling, a defining factor of the original gâteau Basque, with a thin layer of fresh blueberries to bring brightness to every slice.

5.0 from 5 reviews
Gâteau Basque Loaf
 
Makes 1 (9x5-inch) cake
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1⅔ cups (333 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs (150 grams), divided
  • 2 large egg yolks (37 grams)
  • 3¼ cups (406 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2¼ teaspoons (11 grams) baking powder
  • 1¼ teaspoons (3.75 grams) kosher salt
  • Custard Filling (recipe follows)
  • ¾ cup (128 grams) fresh blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water
  • Garnish: confectioners’ sugar
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and granulated sugar at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add 2 eggs (100 grams) and egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating just until combined. Turn out dough, and shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours or up to overnight.
  3. Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides of pan.
  4. On a heavily floured surface, roll dough to ¼-inch thickness. Cut a 9-inch square from dough. Gently transfer to prepared pan, placing in bottom and up sides. Cut 2 (4½x3-inch) rectangles from dough, and place widthwise on either ends of prepared pan. Press dough together in corners to seal. (See Note.)
  5. Reroll remaining dough to ¼-inch thickness, and cut a 9x5-inch rectangle from dough. Transfer to a sheet of parchment paper, and refrigerate.
  6. In bottom of pan, place blueberries in a single layer. Spoon Custard Filling on top of blueberries, smoothing flat, and tap pan on counter 3 times to release air bubbles. Trim dough to ⅛ inch above Custard Filling.
  7. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water and remaining 1 egg (50 grams). Brush top of dough in pan with egg wash. Place 9x5-inch dough rectangle on top, pressing around edges to seal. Freeze until set, 30 to 45 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
  9. Brush dough with egg wash.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F (180°C), and bake until top is deep golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in top (but not in custard) comes out clean, about 40 minutes more, covering with foil after 20 minutes of baking to prevent excess browning. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Using excess parchment as handles, remove from pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack. Just before serving, garnish with confectioners’ sugar, if desired. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Notes
Note: This dough is very forgiving. Reroll when needed, and if it tears, just press it back together. If the dough gets too soft while working with it, refrigerate it for a few minutes. If you refrigerate the dough overnight, let it stand for 5 to 10 minutes before rolling it out.

5.0 from 5 reviews
Custard Filling
 
Makes about 3 cups
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups (600 grams) whole milk
  • ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
  • 6 large egg yolks (112 grams)
  • ⅓ cup (40 grams) cornstarch
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat milk, ¼ cup (50 grams) sugar, and reserved vanilla bean seeds over medium heat until steaming.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, cornstarch, and remaining ¼ cup (50 grams) sugar. Whisk hot milk mixture into egg yolk mixture. Return mixture to saucepan, and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture starts to boil. Cook, whisking constantly, until cornstarch flavor is cooked out, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium heatproof bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing wrap directly onto surface of custard to prevent a skin from forming. Let stand at room temperature until just warm, about 30 minutes. Use immediately.

 

 

20 COMMENTS

  1. I made a double batch ( 1 full-sized loaf and 4 mini loaves) and everyone who received one raved about how wonderful it was. Thank you for sharing this impressive recipe!

  2. So good! I made this recipe for my family and dropped it off at my moms as a gift during the pandemic. At first she thought it was overcooked – because it’s hard on the outside, then when she cut it open she thought it was raw! But she loved it so much she asked for the recipe so she could make it too.

  3. Delicious! I used strawberries instead of blueberries and it paired well with the rich and savory custard and amazing crust.

    • Hi Francisca,

      Thanks for reaching out! You most like can freeze this loaf, however, we have not tried this so we do not know how the custard reacts to freezing. Often, custards do not work as well frozen and they may separate during the thaw.

  4. Do you think this could be made in muffin tins? I’m trying to find a way to make individual gateau basques and am not sure how else one would do it.

    • Hi Megan,

      What a delicious idea! I’m sure that this recipe could transfer to muffin tins if you were able to line them with the dough properly. You would likely roll out the dough and use a round cookie/biscuit cutter to cut out a pieces of dough to line the bottom of each muffin tin. Then you could cut rectangles at the appropriate height that would fit the circumference of each well. Seal the gaps, fill, then top with another round of dough. You would need to play around with the recipe to determine the yield and the bake times. A general rule of thumb is that custards are done baking when an instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 150°F (66°C) to 155°F (68°C). I also have a feeling that you will need more dough, since the ratio of crust to filling will be increased as you decrease the size of the treat. You could also try rolling the dough thinner to create appropriate ratios. Let us know if you give it a try! Happy baking 🙂

  5. Mine is currently in the oven. I’m a little worried because my custard wasn’t a pouring consistency when it came time to put it into the pan. it was very much a thick pudding. D: Hopefully it comes out okay. Fingers crossed I don’t have my second baking fail of the week lol

  6. Do you have to use a metal loaf pan? I’m concerned about freezing the completed recipe and then putting the chilled pan in a hot oven. My loaf pans are either glass or stoneware.

    • Hi Denise,

      Thanks for reaching out! Glass and stoneware should often be tempered enough to resist mild heat shock, but it would be hard to give an absolute answer to this with the various materials out there. If you are concerned or have a special pan that you wouldn’t want to risk, a metal pan would be the safe bet!

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