A round cake with cherry jam in the center, sat on a green plate.
Photo by Kate Blankiron

Traditional Basque Cake with Black Cherry Jam

This traditional cake, a regional specialty from the northern Basque region in France, has a reputation for being both simple and delicious. It's a type of sweet pie with a filling of pastry cream or cherry jam sandwiched between two layers of a melt-in-your-mouth-cookie-like crust. I like the fast and fuss-free version that uses just black cherry jam filling, but you can replace this with Pastry Cream or include both. This versatile recipe is still made in homes all around the Basque country, enjoyed warm or cold, at any time of the day.
If you like this recipe check out The French Cooking Academy's cookbook which makes mastering French cooking easy for the home cook.
Cook Time 45 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 6


  • 9.7 oz 275 g all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 7 oz 200 g superfine sugar
  • 1 tbsp 15 g vanilla sugar
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 2 rounded tsp 10 g baking powder
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 6.2 oz 175 g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 12 oz 350 g black cherry jam (preserve)
  • Egg wash 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tsp water


Mise en Place

  • For the bakeware, I used a greased 9½-inch (24-cm)–diameter low-sided pie dish, but you can also use a cake or tart pan. 


  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugars, salt, baking powder and lemon zest and mix well. Add the butter and work the ingredients together with your fingers until the mixture becomes crumbly, and then use a spatula to mix in the egg and egg yolks until a dough begins to form. Knead the dough a little with your hands, and dust with some flour if it’s too sticky. Place the dough on a flour-dusted clean kitchen counter and roll it into a ball.
  • Divide the dough into two pieces, one larger than the other (about 60/40 of the total weight). Use your hands to flatten both pieces slightly into a rough circle and wrap separately in plastic wrap. Rest the dough in the fridge for 2 hours. (Make sure you remove the dough from the fridge 30 minutes before you start to work with it so that it’s soft and malleable.)
  • Lightly dust the base and sides of the greased pie dish with flour, turning over the pan and tapping it to remove any excess.
  • Use a rolling pin to roll out the larger piece of dough into a circle that’s 10 inches (25 cm) in diameter, and line the pie dish with the edges of the dough loose around the sides of the dish. Place the jam in the center and smooth evenly all the way to the edges, and then fold the sides of the dough 1¼ inches (3 cm) inward over the jam.
  • Roll the second piece of dough to create a smaller circle, 9 inches (23 cm) in diameter, and place it neatly on top. Use your finger or the back of a fork to neatly tuck the edges of the dough toward the inside of the dish, applying pressure all around the outer perimeter to seal the pieces of dough together.
  • Leave the cake to chill in the fridge while you preheat the oven to 340°F (170°C). When chilled, remove from the fridge and brush the surface of the cake with the egg wash, then use a fork to score a faint crisscross pattern. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool completely before unmolding. The cake will keep for up to 3 days at room temperature or in the fridge.


Serve this along with Creamy Chicken with Apple Cider and Calvados and Potatoes Boulangére for an elegant menu during the holidays or anytime of the year. 
Read more about The French Cooking Academy and purchase their cookbook, published by Page Street Publishing Co. 


French Cooking Academy

The French Cooking Academy was founded by Stephen Nguyen and Kate Blenkiron. Stephane is dedicated to making French cuisine accessible to home cooks everywhere. He stumbled upon the idea of French Cooking Academy almost by accident several years ago. As a Frenchman living in Oz, he yearned for the delicious flavors of his motherland and set out to master the art of French cooking in his own kitchen. What began as a bit of fun documenting his journey on an iphone has now grown into an acclaimed online cooking school with thousands of students from all over the world. Kate is the producer and creative director behind the scenes working hard to bring our content to life, from content planning to recipe writing and everything in between. Oh, and she’s the photographer behind all the mouth-watering photos you see on this website.

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