Basque Cake from Jaleo (

I am not so much a dessert person. I mean yes, I love my Vosges. And I love my ice cream sandwiches. But I am someone who would much rather stuff my face with cheese and waste my calories on that. When some friends of mine and I went out to eat at Jaleo, José Andrés’ restaurant in Bethesda,  we were so full after chicken croquettes, pan con tomate, and paella, I could barely stuff another bite in. Until I saw the basque cake with semolina ice cream. I had to give it a try.

I got your basque cake right here, baby...

José Andrés has been to the Basque country a million times in his PBS show Made in Spain, telling the world about food and traditions from the Basque Region. He mentioned this basque cake. I had a particularly good basque cake with dates at Olea in Brooklyn. (Along with a really great guitarist singing Spanish songs. Super cute date spot…) This all said, I wanted to give Jaleo’s a try.

Image from Whisk Blog

Basque cake is a specialty of northern Spain, close to France. In France, it’s called Gâteaux Basque. It’s a kind of cake-pie. The outside is a shortbread-type thing, and the inside is a cream. Often times basque cake is filled with cherries or some sort of compote. Jaleo’s Basque cake was an individual shortbread cake with a fluffy, custard-y, slightly almond-y center. Sweet but not too sweet, and with an amazing almond flavor.
I haven’t ventured to make it yet, but here’s a step by step from Whisk Blog. (Original Recipe from Le Cordon Bleu at Home.)
~ Dana