The signature dessert of the region, gâteau basque is made by sandwiching a layer of jam or sweet pastry cream between two shortbread-like rounds. Cherry preserves are a classic filling—choosing a good-quality jam makes all the difference—and the dough itself resembles a cookie dough, with additional eggs lending a cakier texture. It can also be baked in a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom; just be sure to grease the sides with butter before assembling.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1⁄4 tsp. baking powder
- 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
- 10 tbsp. (5 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
- 1⁄2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 2 large eggs, divided
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1⁄2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. cherry preserves
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir briefly to mix.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and sugar; beat on medium-high speed until light and airy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and add 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk; beat on medium-low speed to combine. Add the flour mixture in two batches, beating on low speed until just incorporated each time.
- Remove the bowl and form the dough into two equal balls using your hands (do not overhandle). Place one ball between two large sheets of parchment paper, and roll out the round to about 11 inches in diameter; place on a baking sheet (do not remove the paper). Repeat the process with the other ball of dough, rolling it out to about 9 inches in diameter. Stack the dough disks on the baking sheet and refrigerate until firm but still flexible, 30 minutes to an hour.
- Set a rack in the top third of the oven and preheat to 375°. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with butter. Add a parchment round to cover just the bottom of the cake pan.
- Retrieve the dough rounds and let rest at room temperature for about 5 minutes. Carefully peel away the paper around the larger round of dough. Place the dough in the prepared pan and press it gently into the corners; trim so that the dough reaches halfway up the sides. Add the cherry preserves to the center of the dough, and spread with the back of the spoon to coat evenly, leaving a 3⁄4-inch border around the edges. Remove the paper around the smaller round of dough, then place it atop the cake pan. Trim the edges so that the dough just fits inside but still touches the sides of the pan. Using fingers, press down around the edges, tucking the dough ends in and fusing the two doughs together.
- In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg with a few drops water. Brush the top of the dough generously with the egg wash. Then, using a small, sharp knife, create a pattern of crisscrossed lines.
- Bake until the top is golden, 30-35 minutes. Remove to a rack and let cool 5 minutes. Use a paring knife to dislodge the cake’s edges from the pan. Gently invert onto a flat plate, then invert again onto another plate or stand. Let cool completely. Slice into wedges and serve.