With the arrival of spring, the appetite for seasonal fruits returns. They are the perfect ingredient to savor the freshness of sunny days and enhance sweet treats’ taste. The intense flavors that accompany the fruit are a real treat for the taste buds. They are also versatile and can be used to make a wide variety of desserts. Whether it’s homemade berry ice cream, mousses, sorbets, jams, pies, or more, their bittersweet aroma brings an absolutely irresistible extra touch to every plate. After we have already introduced you to the strawberry bread and raspberry crumble, now is the time to explain the Basque cherry cake recipe.
Classic Basque Cherry Cake Recipe
The Basque Country region’s emblematic dessert is prepared by placing a layer of black cherry jam, pastry cream, or almond cream between two crispy cookies. The first filling is a classic – choosing a good quality jam makes all the difference. The dough itself looks like cookie dough, with extra eggs giving it a softer texture.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1⁄4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 2 large eggs, divided
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of cherry jam
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; stir briefly to combine.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add 1 egg and 1 egg yolk; beat on medium to low speed to combine. Pour in the flour mixture in two batches, beating at low speed until just incorporated each time.
Scrape the bowl and shape the dough into two equal balls with your hands (do not handle it too much). Place one of the balls between two large sheets of parchment paper and lower it until it is about 28 cm in diameter. Then place it on a baking sheet (do not remove the paper). Repeat with the other ball of dough, lowering it to about 23 cm in diameter. Stack the dough disks on the baking sheet and refrigerate them until firm but still soft, 30 minutes to an hour.
Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat it to 190 ° C. Grease a 23 cm round cake pan with butter. Add a round of parchment paper to cover the bottom.
Collect the dough rings and let them rest at room temperature for about 5 minutes. Carefully remove the paper around the larger circle. Place the dough in the prepared mold and gently press it into the corners; cut so that it reaches half of the sides. Add the cherry jam in the center and spread it with the back of a spoon to distribute evenly, leaving a 2cm border around the edges. Remove the paper around the smaller round of dough, then place it on the pan. Cut the edges so that the dough fits just inside but still touches the sides of the pan. Using your fingers, press the edges, tucking in the ends of the dough and merging the two parts.
In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg with a few drops of water. Liberally brush the top of the dough with the mixture. Then, using a small sharp knife, create a pattern of intersecting lines.
Cook until the top is golden, 30-35 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Using a paring knife, loosen the edges of the cake from the pan. Gently invert it onto a flat plate, then back onto another plate or rack. Let the Basque cherry cake cool completely. Cut and serve.
Basque cake with cherries and pastry cream
For the pastry cream:
- 2 ¼ cups whole milk
- ½ cup of sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tablespoon of lemon zest
- 6 egg yolks
- ⅓ cup of cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
For the dough:
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup of sugar
- 120 g plus 6 tablespoons softened unsalted butter, plus a small amount for greasing
- 2 teaspoons of lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of almond extract
- ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon of baking powder
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup of water
- ¼ cup of cognac
- 1 cup of dried cherries
- 1 beaten egg
Prepare the pastry cream:
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, ¼ cup of sugar, the cinnamon stick, and the lemon zest. Heat gently over medium-low heat until the milk barely simmers. Remove from heat and cover with plastic wrap. Let it steep until the milk has cooled to room temperature. Filter, discarding the solids, and return to the saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks with the remaining ¼ cup of sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Stir ½ cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture to temper it, then add to the pot along with the remaining hot milk. Cook, constantly whisking until thickened and creamy, 5 to 7 minutes. Filter into a bowl, then cover with plastic wrap. Let cool completely.
Prepare the dough:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the eggs and sugar on medium speed until pale, light, and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the butter, lemon zest, salt, almond and vanilla extracts, baking powder, and mix until combined. Using a rubber spatula, add the flour in 3 equal additions, scraping the sides of the bowl each time. Distribute the dough evenly between 2 pastry bags fitted with a plain 1 cm nozzle.
Assemble the cake:
1. In a small saucepan, bring the water and brandy to a boil. Pour over the dried cherries and let cool. Drain the plump cherries, discarding the liquid. Preheat the oven to 180 ° C and grease a 23 cm springform pan with butter. Using a spatula, place a thin layer of dough on the pan, starting from the center and working outward to form a spiral in the shape of a snail, 0.5 cm thick. Using a small spatula, smooth the dough onto the bottom of the pan, making sure the thickness is even.
2. Pour the pastry cream in the center and spread it to evenly cover all the dough, except the outer 2 cm border. Distribute the cherries on top of the pastry cream. Repeat the smoothing operation with the other bag of dough, sealing the pastry cream and cherries. Put in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Brush the top with the beaten egg and, using a paring knife, make a series of angular notches in a decorative pattern.
3. Bake for 40 minutes until the cake is golden brown. Let cool completely, then cut into slices and serve your Basque cherry cream cake.