MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. — In America, we are used to a specific type of cheesecake.
But have you heard of the Basque style? One local baker is making a name for herself, serving this unique, burnt dessert.
Bashi Bakes owner Mercy Fabila is a self-proclaimed multi-tasker, but had to slow down and find patience to bake the perfect Basque cheesecake. She even realized the best brand of cream cheese for the dessert is Philadelphia Cream Cheese.
“I like to think of this as a meditative process. I put on some music or get lost in my thoughts when I’m doing this, because you need time. It’s a good time to meditate,” she said.
This style comes from Basque Country in Northern Spain that’s known as one of the best fine dining destinations in the world. La Viña restaurant created the recipe in 1990 and now the crust-less, fluffy, souffle-like cheesecake is served throughout the world with its notable burnt edges.
This, along with her Spanish roots, drew Fabila to researching the dessert.
"I love how rustic the cake looked," she said. "It’s very intriguing to have a burnt surface, but also have a souffle like texture to it. My dad’s side is Spanish, so I was able to do a little research and see what I could get. This was the closest to the authentic recipe I could find."
During the COVID-19 pandemic, she started baking more and concentrated on this one recipe. Fabila was a marketing consultant for 10 years, but when her clients had to temporarily shut down, so did her business. During this downtime, her friends and family told her the cake was unique and that she should sell it to the community.
Fabila decided to open Bashi Bakes from her home and leave marketing behind, which was very scary since she’s not a baker by trade. Fabila never thought this could be her new full-time career, but the South Bay welcomed her with open arms.
“Because of that imposter syndrome, I didn’t think it would be sustainable. It was actually seeing the cake being sold so often and people reaching out saying, ‘I really want this at my wedding, or a baby shower. Can you cater it?’ That’s when I realized, ‘Oh my goodness. They really like the cake,’” said Fabila.
Now, she fulfills orders from her home or a commissary kitchen for pickup or local delivery, hoping one day to see her cakes in South Bay cafes, and maybe a full bakery in the future.
Once this cake is baked and cooled, it’s like magic. With no crust, just parchment paper, it stands on its own. It is smooth like butter and as creamy as with those burnt edges, adding some crunch.
Everyone needs to try a slice of this fluffy, sweet treat from Bashi Bakes. You can order from her website for pickup and local delivery.