This sublime Basque Burnt Cheesecake is the stuff of dreams! Creamy, savory, just sweet, and just salty, all at the same time. Serve with a lightly sweetened latte to elevate the experience.
Out of all the so-called food trends I’ve seen lately, perhaps my favorite is that of the Basque Burnt Cheesecake. I’m a fan of this mega indulgent treat. I can’t really decide if it’s my favorite kind of cheesecake, but I definitely like it more than Japanese cheesecake. Between American cheesecake and Basque Burnt Cheesecake though, it’s a bit more complicated for me to pick a favorite. There are some American cheesecake recipes that are sublime, in the same way that some Basque Burnt Cheesecake recipes aren’t as good.
But I will say one thing that the Basque Burnt Cheesecake has over the American cheesecake: It’s super easy and more fuss-free to make. No water baths needed, no worrying about cracks on the cheesecake. Heck, you’re supposed to actually burn the Basque version! If you’ve never had this creamy dreamy delicious cheesecake before, the top part is deliberately “burnt” or caramelized to the point of being burnt. It gives the cheesecake an additional flavor dimension– a really deep caramelized flavor. Eating that top part with a bit of the cheesecake is my favorite part. It’s my mom’s favorite part too.
Basque Burnt Cheesecake had a little moment right before the local lockdown, and it continued to be a popular dessert to order during. Because of the ingredients involved, the cheesecake can be pretty expensive. The online shops I’ve encountered so far have an average selling price of Php 1,500 for a 6-incher, and prices can go up to Php 2,000+ for a 9 inch cheesecake. Whew! Because I bake a lot at home, I have a ridiculously hard time making up my mind to order something if I feel like I can make it myself, so that is exactly what I did.
I made a Basque Burnt Cheesecake and I regret nothing.
I didn’t look far and wide nor did I complicate matters when it came to my recipe selection process for this Basque Burnt Cheesecake. I stuck to the internet favorite from Bon Appetit and was convinced even further that it would make a very legit cheesecake after reading through the comments. Well let me just say: It’s a very good recipe that yields a cheesecake with a balance of sweet and savory/salty. The texture is amazing, the taste is DELICIOUS, and I honestly have to stop myself every time I start eating, because from a diet standpoint, this cake is an absolute calorie bomb lol.
4 bars of cream cheese. 6 eggs. 2 cups of heavy cream. 1-1/2 cups of sugar. This thing is playing no games! With all those indulgent ingredients, no wonder Basque Burnt Cheesecake is so good!
I feel that this recipe is perfect as it is. I don’t really want to adjust anything, but it’s super annoying that the cake needs to fully cool before one can dig in. Some people really like their Basque Burnt Cheesecake at room temp because it is at its creamiest that way, but I find that I really love this cold. The cheesecake becomes compact and you can slice into it real nice and smooth.
Either way, the texture is a melt-in-the-mouth, creamy, indulgent one. It’s just sweet enough and just salty enough, having that lovely little push and pull of balance in flavors. It is a bit heavy to eat if you’re just one person with a big slice, but omg it’s so good.
Despite how “gourmet” it looks, Basque Burnt Cheesecake is deceptively easy to make. It mostly involves a lot of beating and mixing, which can be done by hand but will be easiest with a hand or stand mixer. The most important thing to take note of really is the baking time, because you want to get the top of the cheesecake burnt but maintain a jiggly center.
The first step for this cheesecake is a buttered and well-lined springform pan. You want to use two long sheets of parchment, overlapping them against each other in whatever haphazard way is necessary. Make sure you have at least two inches of excess parchment coming above the rim of the pan on all sides. The purpose of this is to have the parchment hold the cheesecake in place as it rises while baking.
This Basque Burnt Cheesecake is possibly the only cheesecake recipe that kind of bends the rules and allows you to not be precise and neat, so pleat and fold in whatever way necessary to get that parchment to stay in the pan.
Next step is to place a ton of cream cheese and sugar together in a bowl. You can use either a stand mixer or hand mixed here, but if you decide to do this by hand, do know that it will take some time and energy to beat 4 bars of cream cheese to a very smooth mixture.
You want to beat the cream cheese and sugar together until the sugar is completely dissolved into the cream cheese and there is absolutely no grittiness to the mixture at all. You can test this by rubbing a bit of the mixture between your thumb and index finger. It takes about 2 minutes with a machine, probably at least double that by hand. Remember to scrape down the sides of your bowl either way to make sure you get an even mix.
Next, speed up the mixer a notch and start adding in your eggs one by one. You want to beat each egg for 15 seconds before adding the next, but don’t go crazy beating for longer than is necessary. Scrape down the sides of the bowl constantly.
Lower the speed of the mixer and add in the cream, salt, and vanilla. Beat for about 30 seconds to combine. At this point, I like to turn off my mixer and switch to a spatula. I give my mixture a few go-throughs with the spatula, making sure there are no bits of cream cheese or whatnot stuck to the walls or the bottom of the bowl.
As a final step, we sift in a bit of flour then fold or mix it in briefly until we get a silky and homogenous mixture. (You can do this step with your mixer on the lowest setting, mixing for 15 seconds, but I didn’t want to deal with unnecessary flying flour.) This flour will help hold your cheesecake together. Don’t go crazy with the mixing or the mixture might start forming clumps.
Now just pour in that beautiful batter into your prepared pan. If you want to be particular about it, you can strain the mixture to ensure it is entirely smooth and silky. I don’t think it’s necessary. You do however want to make sure you put your springform pan inside a rimmed baking sheet before popping this into the oven.
Bake for an hour or so. I turned on my broiler during the last 5 minutes of baking to get an intense caramelized color, but you may not need to with your oven. Check in on your cheesecake at the 60 minute mark. The cheesecake should have risen and cracked around the edges, creating this sort of border. The center should be puffy but SUPER jiggly, and the top should be burnt or caramelized.
The hardest part is waiting for the cheesecake to cool completely. IT TAKES AGES. You want to slice into this once completely cooled or else the centers may be gooey or even lava-like. Some people actually like that, but most of the time this is served just set. The center would have deflated, leaving a puffy edge all around. It maintains a creamy texture at room temp, but I like my Basque Burnt Cheesecake cold most of the time. It’s still creamy but a bit more compact, and I feel like the flavors are more intense.
Traditionally, this cheesecake is served with sherry, but I am all about that coffee life so I made something akin to a lightly sweetened Spanish Latte and served them together. PERFECTION.
You can use either an espresso base or a cold brew base, then add condensed milk and whole milk. There is no strict recipe to follow. Adjust to your taste.
I sprinkled on some cinnamon for good measure. Seriously, how does this not help comfort you during these crazy times?
Basque Burnt Cheesecake with cold Cafe con Leche
Makes one 9.5- or 10-inch cheesecake
For the Basque Cheesecake
- Unsalted butter, for pan
- 4 bars, 900 grams cream cheese, room temperature
- 1½ cups 300 grams sugar
- 6 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 cups 480 mL heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup 43 grams all-purpose flour
For 1 serving of latte
- Ice cubes
- 2 shots or ¼ cup, 60 mL espresso
- 1½ Tablespoons 20 grams condensed milk, or more to taste
- ½ cup 120 mL milk of choice
- Pinch of cinnamon
Make the cheesecake
- Place rack in middle of the oven and preheat to 400°F (200°C). Butter a 10-inch springform pan, then line with 2 overlapping 12-inch sheets of parchment. Make sure parchment comes at least 2 inches above top of pan on all sides. Pleat and crease as necessary to fit parchment into the pan. Place springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together cream cheese and sugar with the paddle attachment on medium-low speed. Scrape down sides of bowl as necessary, beating until very smooth and no lumps remain, about 2 minutes. To check if sugar has fully dissolved, rub a bit of the mixture between thumb and index finger. There should be no grittiness at all.
- Increase speed to medium and add eggs one at a time, beating each egg 15 seconds before adding the next. Scrape down sides of bowl as necessary during this process, then reduce mixer speed to medium-low. Add cream, salt, and vanilla and beat until combined, about 30 seconds.
- Turn off mixer and sift flour evenly over cream cheese mixture. You can use a spatula to mix the flour in, or you can beat on low speed until incorporated, about 15 seconds. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl to ensure there are no solid, unmixed bits remaining; and then give the mixture a final few stirs until completely smooth, homogenous, and silky, about 10 seconds.
- Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake cheesecake until deeply golden brown on top but still VERY jiggly in the center, 60 to 65 minutes.*
- Take out from oven and place cheesecake on a cooling rack. Allow the cheesecake to cool completely inside the springform pan before unmolding. Once you unmold, carefully peel back parchment from sides of cheesecake. Slice into wedges and serve at room temperature or refrigerate for 1 hour to enjoy cold.
- Cheesecake can be made 1 day ahead and chilled in the fridge. Allow to come to nearly room temperature before serving, if desired, but it's also delicious cold.
Make the latte
- Add ice to your serving glass. Pour in the espresso, followed by the condense milk, and milk. Mix together. Taste and adjust the condensed milk to taste. Add a pinch of cinnamon on top before serving with the cheesecake.
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