So I had some guests over at my house the other day, and my mom wanted me to bake some wonderful to impress them. I thought that this was a great idea, partly because I was dying to try this gateau basque cake-- a soft, pillowy cake with pastry cream and blackberry preserves baked right in: what could be better? That's right, the filling is actually baked inside the cake. No outside filling or frosting is needed; the gateau basque is perfect just on the own.
This cake is a variant on typical gateau basque, which is more like a pastry. Though I may try the pastry one day, I love how the softness of the cake pairs with the creamy filling. The cake is actually pretty simple to make, it just requires some intense egg beating at one phase. If you have never made pastry cream before, it's really easy, and delicious. You can use it to fill cakes, eclairs, and Chinese custard buns (I made them before and they were delicious; I'll share the recipe.) It's done when you scrape a spoon though it and the mark stays for a couple of seconds. Also, I had a little trouble spreading the fruit preserves, but in this case you can microwave it for a couple of seconds to make it softer. For the cake you need a 9" round cake pan with 3" sides. I just used a springform pan and it worked great. To prepare the pan, I sprayed it with cooking spray, then lined the bottom and sides with parchment. The spray lets the parchment stay on easier, and I also took a little batter to hold the parchment pieces together.
I hope you try this recipe. It's definitely worth it.
Gateau Basque Cake
Original recipe from Not So Humble Pie
1 cup whole milk
5 tbs sugar
3 large egg yolks
2 tbs cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine 2 tbs of the sugar with 3/4 cup of the milk. Stir occasionally until the sugar is dissolved and the milk is simmering. Meanwhile, whisk remaining 3 tbs sugar with the egg yolks. Stir in the remaining 1/4c of milk and cornstarch. Whisk thoroughly. Add hot milk to the eggs in a stream, constantly whisking. This tempers the eggs. Pour mixture back into saucepan over medium heat and bring it to a boil while whisking constantly. Once it's thick, strain it into a bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap over it so a film doesn't form on the surface. Wait until it is cool to start the cake. (I put it in the refrigerator for a while)
Gateau Basque Cake
3/4 cups unsalted butter (1-1/2 sticks)
1 medium orange
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup pastry cream (recipe above)
1/4 cup fruit preserves, softened (I used blackberry)
Preheat oven to 325*F. Place a rack on the lower third. Line a 9" x 3" cake pan with parchment paper.
Melt butter and set aside to cool.
Zest and juice orange. You'll need 1/3 cup juice for the cake. Set aside.
Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar with a mixer on high speed until the mixture is about doubled in volume (be patient).
On low speed, add the orange juice and zest. Mix to combine.
On medium speed, beat in 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Add half the melted butter and mix to combine. Repeat, alternating the flour and butter until the ingredients are just combined. Pour half of the mixture into the prepared pan.
Then carefully add the pastry cream, keeping it one inch away form the sides. Spread the fruit preserves over the cream. Pour the rest of the batter around the cream and carefully spread it, using an offset spatula, to cover the filling.
Bake for 50-65 minutes, until the cake is brown and firm and the center doesn't jiggle.
Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan. Then flip it onto a serving platter and enjoy.