The unmistakable unique looking Basque Burnt Cheesecake with its deeply caramelised top that challenges the concept of the perfect baked cheesecake has been on my mind for some time ever since I first laid eyes on it. And I’m glad that I finally made the time to work on this recipe. ☺️
Given it’s overly dark and cracked top crust, it could be easily mistaken as a baking situation gone wrong. Lacking a biscuit base with a soft gooey creamy centre, it pretty much seems like the total anti-cheesecake.
But despite it all, there is something to like about this cheesecake. Although it’s packed with everything that would probably have any dietitian standing at arms length from this sweet delicious treat, it is light on the palette and so easy to love. Whether that is a good or bad thing will depend on where your priorities lie.
Sure, there is nothing that can take the place of a good slice of baked New York cheesecake in my heart, but it doesn’t mean I can’t make room for one more cheesecake, especially one that doesn’t require a water bath and is so simple to make.
Before I continue to ramble on about the recipe itself, I have to preface this recipe with the fact that I have never tried the original before so all I have to go off is my research and the countless versions of this recipes online, visual indicators and explanations of the flavours from those who have tried the authentic slice. And after tweaking this recipe I finally landed on this very one that I am sharing with you.
Baked in a 6″ tin, it gives it just enough rise to provide that contrast in texture and deep caramelised top with its soft middles.
As usual, there are a few things to note with the recipe
The cream cheese should be at room temperature to ensure you get a smooth mixture. But in a pinch you can microwave fridge cold cream cheese in 10 seconds blasts (on a plate) to slowly warm it up until it’s softened or heat it in a bowl over a pot of hot water.
To test if the cream cheese is soft enough, you want it to have a creamy texture when you “smoosh” it with a spatula against your bowl. It shouldn’t feel lumpy.
I use Philadelphia cream cheese, and this is my preference.
The Look and Texture:
I use cake flour for a more tender cake but you can replace it with all purpose flour.
Having your ingredients at room temperature is key. It ensures a smooth mixture. Which will in turn ensure your cheesecake doesn’t turn out lumpy.
If you do not have a stand mixer, you can simply use a whisk to whisk in all the ingredients. Don’t forget to use a spatula to scrape the bowl to ensure it’s well incorporated. The ultimate aim when making the cake batter is to ensure that you have a really smooth batter.
Perheating your oven ensures your cake bakes evenly and at the right temperature.
To prevent cracks will be harder with this cake as we do not have a water bath but I suggest keeping your eye on it and rotating the pan if one side is cooking faster than another.
If you notice bubbles on the top of your cake, it is because the bubbles from within the cake is rising to the surface. What you can do is to tap your cake tin filled with the batter on the countertop before baking to bring the air bubbles to the top and take a toothpick or fork to pop any of the bubbles that you see.
If the cake is looking like it is going to get too dark before it is baked, simply cover it with some foil.
On the flip side, should you find that your cake is almost close to baking but hasn’t taken on the colour you’d like, I recommend prioritising consistency before colour. What you can do is to turn on the broiler/grill mode in your oven in the last 5 mins to blast the top with heat.
30mins at 240C gets me smooth soft insides that is creamy straight from the fridge but molten at room temperature. However every oven is different so please keep that in mind.
Rule of thumb, baking for longer will yield a firmer cake. Baking for a shorter time will yield a softer cake.
However, over baking your cake will cause it to curdle and turn into a quiche/scrambled egg consistency and the egg flavour will come through very prominently.
Under baking it by too much will lead to a uncooked/”raw” filling. 😉
As tempting as it may seem to dig into the cheesecake fresh out of the oven, please let it rest and set as it sinks into itself and continues to slowly bake away with the residual heat. If you don’t, you’ll end up with a molten mess. You could definitely eat it straight within the tin like a gooey fondue but it would be a cake.
The wobble of the cake is a good indication of when the cheesecake is at the right temperature and baked to the right consistency. So give your cake a jiggle to test if it’s ready.
Serve it at room temperature for a softer middle or leave it in the fridge overnight and serve it cold for a more stable middle. The cake does firm up as it cools. If you want a cold but soft cake then bake it for a lesser amount of time.
Lining your tin is important, if you don’t, the cheesecake won’t release. I double line it to ensure that there isn’t any unlined parts that will stick to the tin.
I trim the baking paper to ensure it doesn’t accidentally burn when it’s in the oven because it’s touch the top of the heat element.
To those who do not wish to trim your baking paper, you can simply fold it back so it doesn’t burn. You are looking to ensure it doesn’t get too close to the top heating element of your oven.
I use a light color tin, but if you want to use a dark colour one, reduce your bake time slightly (by around 5mins)
Traditionally there isn’t any vanilla nor lemon in the cake (or so I’ve heard) but I do like the flavour it imparts so I add them to the cake. You could leave it out but I would suggest keeping it in. Should you wish for a more lemon forward flavour, simply add a little more lemon juice.
If you don’t have a 6″ tin, you can bake it in a 8″ tin but it will be a lot shallower and you lose that texture contrast. If you want to bake it in an 8″ tin, I recommend increasing the recipe by 50% and baking it for a slightly longer time just until it is set to the right consistency. Around 40-45mins should do the trick. If it get too dark on the top, just reduce your temp towards the end to 180C just to set it to a wobbly consistency.
Oven mode used: middle shelf, fan + top & bottom heat.
Cake tin used is a light coloured round 6″ inch tin, 2.5″ tall
Basque Burnt Cheesecake
Recipe not for commercial use. I hope you would respect my wishes and drop me a message should you wish to use it
1 x 6″ cake
What you’ll need
430g cream cheese, room temperature
120g caster sugar
3 large eggs, room temp (approx 150g of eggs without shell)
270g heavy cream/thickened cream (35% min fat content)
20g cake flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice
Line 6” circle cake tin with 2 layers of baking paper and trimmed to have an overhanging amount of 1.5″-2″.
Beat sugar and cream cheese together on medium until smooth and you can’t feel the sugar granules any longer. Scrape the bowl.
Add eggs one at a time and beat on medium until smooth. Scrape the bowl again to ensure that nothing sticks to the sides for even mixing.
Add the vanilla and lemon juice and beat until just mixed.
In a seperate bowl, mix flour and 1/4 of the cream and mix until smooth. Add another 1/4 more cream, mix, and then add the rest and mix until smooth. (Adding the flour a small amount at the time allows you to mix out any lumps that may form by creating a paste at the start.)
Slowly pour the cream/flour mixture into the cheese mixture whilst the mixer is beating on low until mixed through. Increase speed to medium and mix for 15 seconds just to ensure it’s all combined.
Preheat your oven on convection mode at 240C for at least 30mins and bake at 240C for 30-35mins until top is dark amber and almost charred at parts but the middles still has a wobble to them when you give the pan a jiggle.
Let cool in the tin fully on a wire rack at room temperature to allow the cheesecake to set. Mine takes at least 3-4hrs to fully cool.
Remove from the baking tin and enjoy at room temperature.
For a less “gooey” center, place into the fridge after cooled to allow it to chill and set and serve cold.