Basque burnt cheesecake from the home baker in Manhattan Beach

MANHATTAN BEACH, CA – In America, we are used to a certain type of cheesecake.

But have you heard of the Basque style? One of the local bakers is making a name for himself, serving up this unique burning dessert.

Mercy Fabella, owner of Bashi Bakes, is a multi-tasker, but she had to slow down and find the patience to bake the perfect Basque cheesecake. She even realized that the best type of cream cheese for dessert was Philadelphia cheese.

“I like to think of this as a meditation. I put some music on or get lost in my thoughts when I do this, because you need time. It’s a good time to meditate,” she said.

This style comes from the Basque Country in northern Spain which is known as one of the best fine dining destinations in the world. La ViƱa created the recipe in 1990, and now this crustless, fluffy, souffle-like cheesecake is being served all over the world with its prominent burnt edges.

This, combined with her Spanish roots, led Fabella to search for dessert.

“I love how rustic the cake looked,” she said. “It’s very interesting to have a burnt surface, but also has a souffle-like texture. My dad’s side is Spanish, so I was able to do a little research and see what I could get my hands on. This was the closest to the original recipe you could find for me.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, I started baking more and focused on this recipe. Fabella has been a marketing consultant for 10 years, but when her clients had to shut down temporarily, so did her business. During this downtime, her friends and family told her that the cake was unique and that she should sell it to the community.

Fabella decided to open Bashi Bakes from her home and leave the marketing behind, which was very scary because she is not a baker by trade. Fabella never thought this might be her new full-time career, but South Bay welcomed her with open arms.

“Because of Impostor Syndrome, I didn’t think it would be sustainable. It was actually seeing the cake sold out a lot and people were reaching out saying, ‘I really want this at my wedding, or the baby shower.'” Can you save it? That’s when I realized, ‘Oh my God. They really like cake,’ said Fabella.

Now, she fulfills orders from her home or commissary kitchen for local pickup or delivery, and she hopes one day to see her cakes in South Bay cafes, and perhaps a full bakery in the future.

Once this cake is baked and cooled, it becomes like magic. No crust, just parchment paper, it stands alone. It’s as smooth as butter and creamy as it is with those seared edges, which adds some crunch.

Everyone needs to try a slice of this delicate, sweet dessert from Bashi Bakes. You can order from their website for local pickup and delivery.

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