Tasty Basque cake! It is basically a tart with custard inside together with a heavenly taste of almond essence. Yummy! We first had this when we travelled to Spain to do the Camino De Santiago de Compostela with our kids. Our very first night was a communal pilgrims meal and this was the dessert. It tasted so good after a very long day of pushing bicycles and encouraging our 7, 10 and 11 year old to keep going up, up, up! I’ve never had anything quite like it before and I knew it would be the first recipe I made when I got back.
Just some notes on the cake batter. It is thick. It took everything in me not to add some extra milk or oil to the batter! Just make sure that when you mix the sugar and butter together, do so until it is super duper creamy. In summer you will have to beat for a shorter time but in winter, the butter is more difficult to soften.
Also, when you select a piping bag nozzle, make sure to choose a medium sized one. I chose one which was too small for the thickness of the dough and I kind of wanted to pull my hair out in the process because nothing was coming out of the nozzle. The plastic bag popped and then I just landed up pushing the dough onto the base of the tin with my fingers. Which actually worked well and I was surprised everything came out so nicely considering the initial frustration. So actually, use a piping bag or don’t use one, it really is up to you.Print
Traditional Basque Cake which is really more of a tart with custard centre and almond essence. Simply Delicious.
- 3/4 cup butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons almond essence
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste or 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1 teaspoon almond essence
- 4 egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons caster sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
Start with the Pastry Cream
- In a small pot, add the milk and vanilla paste and heat gently on the lowest setting – we simply want to infuse the milk with the vanilla pod / paste but we absolutely do not want to let this boil.
- In a separate, medium-sized pot, whisk the sugar and eggs until well combined. Now add the cornstarch (sieve to avoid lumps) and whisk through until well combined.
- Slowly pour the warm milk over the egg-sugar-cornstarch mixture whilst continually whisking. Do this until well combined. We do this slowly so that the eggs don’t cook or curdle from the warm milk.
- Turn the stove on to low heat and continue to whisk the mixture until it starts to thicken – this may take 20-30 minutes so be patient. It will start to thicken and then boil. As soon as it starts to boil, whisk for another 30 seconds and then remove from heat. (this time of 30 seconds would double if you doubled this recipe as it is based on the amount of milk – 30 seconds per 500ml milk)
- If you wanted an extra thick custard for whatever reason, I would simply allow it to boil for another 30 seconds.
- Remove the pot from the heat.
- Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes and then transfer to a wide casserole dish or similar and cover with cling/plastic wrap such that the cling wrap is pressed to the surface of the custard – this prevents a skin from forming on the custard. Oh YEAH!!!! Techniques baby, techniques!!
- Now you can place the custard in the fridge until it cools down completely.
Now onto the Cake Batter
- Beat the butter and the sugar until smooth and ultra creamy
- Add the eggs and mix well to combine
- Add the flour, baking powder and almond essence and mix until all ingredients have been well incorporated.
- Transfer this cake batter mix to a piping bag – make sure the nozzle is a medium size as it will be difficult to pipe if too small.
- Grease a small round cake tin – 18cm (7 inch) or smaller.
- With the piping bag, pipe a spiral of cake mix to completely cover the base of the tin and then pipe one ring of cake mix on the outer most edge of the tin so that it is at least 2cm high (1 inch)
- Now add the pastry cream into the middle, smoothing down nicely.
- Pipe the remaining cake mix over the top making sure that it is sealed – you may need to use your fingers to close any gaps that you see.
- Brush the top of the cake with milk (you could also use a whisked egg yolk)
- Using a skewer stick or knife, score (gently) a criss-cross diamond shape on the top of the cake.
- Bake at 180°C for 40-45 minutes
- Remove from the oven, allow to cool and then enjoy with a big cup of tea!