Ube Basque Cakes

These tender and flaky mini cakes created by the dynamic duo of Timothy Flores and Genie Kwon at Kasama, a modern Filipino bakery and restaurant in Chicago, highlight the cultural phenomenon of ube, a purple tuber native to the Philippines. To make the cakes, Kwon uses a technique for shaping the batter into rounds rather than piping the batter into a baking vessel as sometimes done for traditional Gâteau Basque, making it easier to make lots of the mini Basque cakes. "[Making] flat discs is more efficient and ergonomic," she notes. "It might not make much of a difference when you are making a dozen, but when you're making hundreds, it is a game changer." The buttery cakes are filled with a creamy and mildly sweet ube pastry cream and tart huckleberries, and are finished with a sprinkling of powdered sugar. (At Kasama, the shape of the powdered sugar is in the shape of the sun design from the flag of the Philippines). If you can't source fresh ube, store-bought ube jam (ube halaya) can be used instead.

Ube Basque Cake
Photo: Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Kay E. Clarke
Active Time:
1 hrs 20 mins
Freeze Time:
2 hrs
Total Time:
5 hrs 15 mins
12 cakes


Basque Cake Batter

  • 2 cups bleached cake flour (such as Swans Down) (about 7 1/2 ounces)

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour (about 2 1/8 ounces)

  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (8 ounces), softened

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Ube Jam

  • 1 small (about 7-ounce) fresh ube, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 1/3 cups)

  • ¾ cup heavy cream

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar

Pastry Cream

  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk

  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon bleached cake flour (such as Swans Down)

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract

  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Additional Ingredients

  • Cooking spray

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen huckleberries or wild blueberries (about 6 ounces)

  • Powdered sugar


Make the Basque cake batter:

  1. Whisk together cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Beat granulated sugar and butter with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add eggs; beat on medium speed until mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla until incorporated, about 10 seconds. Add flour mixture all at once. Pulse mixer 3 to 4 times to begin incorporating flour mixture. Beat on medium-low speed until evenly combined, about 45 seconds.

  2. Using a 1 1/2-inch scoop, drop 6 balls of batter (about 1 1/4 ounces or 2 1/2 tablespoons each) on a large piece of parchment paper, spacing balls at least 3 inches apart and away from outer edge of paper. Place a second piece of parchment paper on top of balls. Using bottom of an 8-cup liquid measuring cup, press to flatten each ball into a 4-inch round (about 1/8 inch thick). Repeat process with remaining batter and 6 additional sheets of parchment paper to form 24 dough rounds total. Stack the parchment-sandwiched rounds on a baking sheet. Freeze until very firm and parchment can be peeled off cleanly from batter, at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.

Make the ube jam:

  1. Stir together ube, cream, and granulated sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until ube is very soft, 25 to 30 minutes. Using an immersion blender, process mixture in pan until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Let ube jam cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

While ube jam cools, make the pastry cream:

  1. Whisk together egg and egg yolk, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cake flour in a medium-size heatproof bowl; set aside. Bring cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium. Reduce heat to medium-low. Whisking egg mixture constantly, gradually ladle about 2/3 cup of the hot cream into egg mixture. Pour egg mixture into remaining hot cream in pan. Cook over medium-low, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens to a pudding-like consistency, 2 to 3 minutes. Press pastry cream through a fine wire-mesh strainer set over a large bowl; discard solids. Stir in vanilla and salt. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface. Let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

  2. Whisk together cooled pastry cream and ube jam in a medium bowl. Ube pastry cream can be stored in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 3 days.

  3. Preheat oven to 350°F with racks in upper third and lower third positions. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Lightly coat 12 (4- x 1-inch) ring molds with cooking spray; arrange 6 molds evenly spaced on each prepared baking sheet. Remove 1 sheet of batter rounds from freezer. Working quickly to avoid batter softening, peel off parchment paper, and carefully press 1 batter round into bottom of 1 mold. Repeat process with 5 additional batter rounds and ring molds. If batter round cracks, press the pieces back together in the mold. Repeat procedure with second sheet of batter rounds and remaining 6 ring molds.

  4. Transfer ube pastry cream to a pastry bag with a 1-inch hole cut in the tip. Starting in the center and working outward, pipe about 2 tablespoons ube pastry cream in a spiral on each batter round, leaving a 3/4-inch border. Top ube pastry cream spirals evenly with huckleberries (a scant 1 tablespoon each). Remove 1 sheet of batter rounds from freezer. Working quickly, peel off parchment paper. Top each mold with a second batter round, pressing just until it touches the huckleberries. (The layers will fuse together in the oven.) Repeat process with remaining sheet of batter rounds and remaining molds.

  5. Bake cakes in preheated oven until deep golden brown on top, 38 to 46 minutes, rotating baking sheets between top and bottom racks halfway through bake time. Transfer baking sheets to a wire rack; let cakes cool completely, about 30 minutes. Run an offset spatula around the edge of each mold, and remove cakes.

  6. Garnish top of each cake with powdered sugar, using a 3-inch stencil of the Filipino sun, if desired.

Make Ahead

Basque batter rounds can be prepared up to 3 days in advance and stored in the freezer between parchment paper. Ube pastry cream can be chilled in an airtight container up to 3 days.


A 3-inch Filipino sun stencil is available on amazon.com, or you can cut out your own design using the lid of a plastic container as a stencil.

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