Friday, August 21, 2015
Ever since I discovered the basque cake at a cafe--Floriole to be specific--in my hometown, I've been kind of obsessed with finding a recipe that rivals it--or at least comes close to it. I suppose I could just politely ask for the recipe from said establishment, but I have my doubts that they'd give it to me.
Nevertheless, I think this particular concoction that I came across comes pretty damn close--maybe a few tweaks and it would be even closer. But even on it's own--without comparing--it's a heartstopping cake. And it literally might stop your heart. I have never made a single cake that has a POUND OF BUTTER and a POUND OF SUGAR in it--plus a full tablespoon of kosher salt.
This has to be the richest cake known to humankind. It's not a cake for those who are trying to "cut back." It's not a cake for those who are looking to eat better. This cake is very very bad for you. But....at the same time it's soooo darn good for you too. If this were the last cake I was to eat before I died, I would probably die happy.
That said--admittedly I experienced certain bouts of angst during the process of making this cake. Specifically when I had to weigh out the pound of butter and sugar. I kept asking myself, 'Should I really do this? Is this right? Should I find another recipe? Am I gonna die after eating this thing?' All of those answers became quite clear after the first bite--yes, yes, no way, who cares--this is so f'ing good. This is the kind of the dessert that's really just good for your soul.
Recipe adapted from Amanda Rockman's Basque Cake recipe via Lottie + Doof
16 oz unsalted butter at room temp.
16 oz granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
3 large eggs at room temp.
10.5 oz cake flour
2.5 oz almond flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 T kosher salt
6-8 oz of cherry preserves
First, butter and flour an 8, 9 or 10 inch spring form pan (the original recipe I found called for an 8 inch pan but I only had a 10 inch one so I used it and it worked fine). Next, preheat the oven to 325 F. Then in a medium bowl, combine the flours, salt and baking powder and whisk to combine--set it aside. Now, place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, and then using the mixer and the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for about 3-5 minutes until it's light and fluffy. Add the vanilla bean paste and mix just until it's fully incorporated. Then stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Next begin adding each egg one at a time beating well so that each egg is fully incorporated into the mixture before the next egg is added--scrape down the bowl as necessary. Finally, the add flour mixture and mix on low speed just until it has been completely incorporated into the mixture.
Now for assembly--you can choose to do this a couple of ways. The first way is by spooning half of the batter into the baking pan and spreading it out and creating a bit of a well in the middle where the cherry preserves will sit. Or, place the batter into a piping bag and then pipe half of the batter into the pan and create a well that way. Either way you go about it will work as far as I'm concerned. Nevertheless, once you have half the batter spread in the bottom of the pan with a well in the center of the batter, spoon the cherry preserves into that well. Then pour/pipe the rest of the batter on top of the preserves and cake batter and smooth out the top evenly. Finally, place the cake in the oven to bake for at least an hour--mine took about 75 minutes (like the original recipe stated). The cake is done when it's set and as the original recipe stated--err on the side of baking longer because the cake has so much fat in it, it would be quite difficult to dry it out. Once the cake is done, remove it from the oven and let cool completely before removing it from the pan. Eat in small portions--if you can resist...