Monday, December 10, 2012
50 States of MoFo: Nevada: Basque Cake
When considering Nevada, I though of doing an ironic vegan version of the casino hotel buffet, or something old-timey from pioneer mining days. However, I was drawn aside by the many recipes from Nevada's large Basque community. Basque cuisine (in its original form, and in its Americanized Nevada permutation) appears to be well worth exploring. With the winter holidays bearing down upon us, I thought a baked dessert would make a good start.
Basque Cake was rightly described by one blogger as a sophisticated pop tart for grown ups. It comes with many fillings, but most common are pastry cream and cherry jam. Bryanna Clark Grogan has an excellent recipe for vegan pastry cream, which would be lovely here. However, as the other half of the house often describes himself as a fruit bat, I decided to go with the jam. I looked at a bunch of recipes online, tinkered a bit, and simplified directions. Here you have it:
In a small bowl, whisk together:
1 T ground flax
4 T nondairy milk
In a medium bowl, whisk together:
2 c all purpose flour
3/4 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
In a large bowl, beat together until fluffy:
5 oz vegan margarine
1/4 c unrefined sugar
1/4 c vegan brown sugar
Add the flax mix to the sugar-margarine mixture, and continue to beat. Add:
1/2 t vanilla
1/4 t almond extract
Gradually pour in the dry ingredients, mixing until just barely combined. Divide the dough in half.
Roll out each half to roughly the size of your cake pan (8 to 9 inches), between sheets of wax paper. Flip one piece of dough into the bottom of the cake pan. You can push, pull, and press to adjust it. Cover with 3/4 - 1 c. cherry jam (or pastry cream or whatever filling). Cover with the other piece of dough, and press around the edges to seal. This does not need to be exact.
Brush the cake with a little nondairy milk, and sprinkle it with about 1/3 c sliced almonds. Bake at 350 F for 40-45 minutes. (In my oven, a 9 inch cake was done in 40 minutes.) Let the baked cake rest in the pan for about 5 minutes before turning out onto a rack to finish cooling. This was easy and yielded a very nice result. You could make the dough ahead, store in the fridge and bake the cake in the morning to impress your in-laws with your vegan breakfast magic!
I originally hoped to wrap up this 50 States project by Christmas, but I don't think that will happen. I still have 6 states, 3 territories, and DC yet to go. Fear not, blog reader! However long it takes, we will continue until they have all had a turn!
Edited to add: In response to a question, I did not grease the cake pan. The dough has plenty of fat in it, and mine popped right out. However, if you are nervous of cake-breakage, you can certainly grease and flour.
Posted by JohnP at 4:22 PM