A seriously squidgy recipe for Basque cake with Easter spices, bursting with flavour and the perfect alternative to chocolate eggs for the bank holiday weekend

Basque cake with Easter spices is a great alternative to the mass-produced, cloying chocolate egg. Supremely squidgy and moreishly yielding, it is perfect for teatime or after the Pascal lamb. Try Rose Blackett-Ord’s recipe.

Nothing symbolises Easter as eggs do. Eggs florentine make a delicious breakfast as an indulgent treat.

BASQUE CAKE WITH EASTER SPICES

Somewhere between a cake and a tart this Basque cake with Easter spices is made from sweet shortcrust pastry dough filled with pastry cream before being baked like a cake. In its basic form it’s a classic, but I’ve given it an Easter recipe angle with some of the spices you might expect to find in a hot cross bun. Best served warm, this Basque cake with Easter spices can be eaten with cream as a dessert with a difference or with a shot of espresso as a teatime treat.

Fills 8in cake tin

For pastry

  • 200g (7oz) butter
  • 200g (7oz) sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  •  3 eggs
  • 300g (11oz) flour
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  •  50g (2oz) almond flour
  •  Salt
  • A little beaten egg to glaze

For the pastry cream

  • 400ml (14fl oz) milk
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • 1⁄4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 90g (31⁄2oz) sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 60g (21⁄2oz) flour
  • 150g (5oz) raisins, soaked in
  • 1 tsp rum

To make Basque cake with Easter spices, first cream the butter, sugar and lemon, then beat in the eggs.

Sieve in the flour and mixed spice, add the almond flour and salt and mix into a dough (flour your hands and work surface).Form it into a flat disc, cling film it and refrigerate for two hours.

In the meantime, gently heat the milk with all the spices until steaming, then leave in a warm place for five minutes to infuse. Heat it back up until it steams while whisking the sugar into the egg yolks until they are pale and creamy. Sieve the hot milk and whisk it into the yolks a little at a time.

Pour the mixture back into the milk pan, whisk in the flour and bring slowly to a boil, whisking until thick and smooth. Put cling film directly on the surface and allow to cool.

Beat the raisins into the cooled pastry cream. Roll out two circles of dough, one slightly larger than the other. Press the larger circle into the buttered cake tin (it should extend up the sides).

Fill the middle with pastry cream and top with the smaller circle, pressing the edges together until sealed. Brush a little beaten egg on the top and mark in a criss-cross pattern with a fork.

Bake in the centre of a pre-heated oven at 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 for 35-45 minutes. The top should be golden-brown and the pastry cooked through. Serve warm.