This foolproof Basque burnt cheesecake is the only recipe you need. It has a super creamy texture, intense caramelized layer on top and beautiful cracklings on the side. Follow my easy-to-follow instructions & cooking tips for 100% satisfaction guaranteed.
Maybe you've known by now, or perhaps you haven't, but I am crazy about cheesecake. Another version of this Basque cheesecake is this creamy blueberry burnt cheesecake.
Back to this recipe. The first time I saw this unique, one-of-a-kind cheesecake in a store, I was like: what is it, and how does it taste? I bought a slice, and from that day, Basque burnt cheesecake forever took my heart.
I spent a lot of time testing this recipe, so that you might find this post a little long for a cheesecake. Because I want to add as much helpful information as possible, don't skip any part if you wish to such foolproof Basque burnt cheesecake.
What is Basque burnt cheesecake?
Basque burnt cheesecake originally was made by chef Santiago Rivera, who runs the famous bar-restaurant La Vina in Spain.
The cheesecake has broken all rules of a traditional cheesecake. Burnt top, crackling & unsmooth sides with falling structure.
Differences between Basque burnt cheesecake and New York cheesecake
New York cheesecake is a little more creamy, dense, definitely does not look burnt and has smooth sides. It also has a crust normally made from Graham crackers or cookies.
Basque burnt cheesecake, on the other hand, has a lighter texture and no crust. It also has beautiful cracklings on the sides, and its structure tends to collapse or fall toward the middle of the cake. Like a soufflé, I might say.
This foolproof Basque burnt cheesecake is:
- Made from just 7 ingredients and one of them is even optional.
- Versatile because you can never go wrong or fail to make this cheesecake.
- Unbelievably creamy and delicious.
- Perfect for any occasion from day-to-day eating to a holiday gathering, it'll do an excellent job.
- Super beautiful that it can be an ideal centerpiece for any celebration.
Don't be intimidated that cheesecake is impossible to make at home, especially one looks like this. On contrary, cheesecake in general and this one alone, are both achievable at home.
Cheesecake is easier to make than cake because all ingredients go in one bowl. You don't need to separate the batter and incorporate it later like sponge cakes. Just make sure you take time and read thoroughly the complete instructions, especially the cooking tips part; you can quickly achieve this caramelized-top cheesecake.
- Cream cheese: I used original Philadelphia cream cheese (3 blocks). Not whipped cream cheese or cheese spread.
- Eggs: 3 large eggs should do the job perfectly.
- Sugar: some granulated white sugar brands just are just more refined and more accessible to incorporate than the others. I love this brand when it comes to baking.
- Salt: only ¼ tsp of Kosher salt is needed.
- Heavy cream: the regular, liquid heavy cream and not the already whipped cream.
- AP flour or cake flour: you can go with either one. There will not be much difference between the two since only a small amount is called for (⅓ cup).
- Vanilla extract: this ingredient is optional. I made my Basque cheesecake without one, and it still tasted delicious. If you use vanilla extract, pick the purest, not the blended one.
Overview: mixing steps
- Combine softened cream cheese and sugar and beat on medium-low speed with the paddle attachment.
- Turn off the mixer immediately and let the cream cheese soften at room temperature if it can't be whipped smoothly, like in the top right photo.
- Add one egg at a time, followed by heavy cream, salt, and vanilla extract. Make sure the batter is completely smooth before adding more ingredients.
- Carefully add flour to the mixture and mix until everything is fully incorporated, approximately 30 seconds.
- Check the batter and ensure it is smooth and free of lump. If in doubt, you can strain the batter through a colander (don't use too fine sieve mesh).
- Grease the pan, both bottom, and sides, with softened butter.
- Line the whole pan with two layers of parchment paper. Grease with butter in between 2 layers as well as lightly press them against the pan to make them stay in place.
- Pour batter into the pan, then use a spatula or the back of a spoon to smooth out the top.
- Don't worry about the wrinkled parchment because this Basque burnt cheesecake doesn't suppose to have smooth sides like traditional ones.
How long should I bake this cheesecake?
I use an 8-inch, nonstick, springform baking pan with removable bottom for this recipe with the removable bottom pan. I bake the cheesecake for 40 minutes, so my cake is semi-soft in the middle and soft toward the outer edge. The top of the cake is also lightly sunken (around 1 to 2 inches).
You can let the cake bake longer (45-50 minutes) if you want a more dense texture or shorter (30-35 minutes) if you wish to have more gooey, oozy souffle-style cheesecake.
Tips for making a foolproof cheesecake
- Make sure your cream cheese is completely softened at room temperature before baking. It'll take 1 to 2 hours for blocks of cream cheese to reduce their temperature. You can't whip these up if they're often 100%.
- Other ingredients should also be at room temperature, including eggs and heavy cream, to have a smooth, silky, and creamy texture.
- Turn off the mixer immediately if your cream cheese cannot incorporate smoothly with sugar. Let the cheese soften at room temperature for a few minutes before continuing the creaming process.
- Always sift your flour when making cheesecake.
- The cheesecake is baked at a very high temperature (400F - 205C) to create such caramelize effect on top and a sinking structure in the middle.
- Don't open the oven in the middle of the baking process. The oven door should be closed entirely to maintain the required temperature.
- The maximum baking time you can go for this 8-in Basque burnt cheesecake is 50 minutes. Go any time longer. You might end up with curdled/scrambled-egg-style cheesecake.
How to cool this cheesecake?
Place the cheesecake on the kitchen counter to cool down at room temperature. It'll take 4-5 hours for it to cool down completely. To speed up the process, you can put the cheesecake in the chiller after 1 hour of sitting at room temperature. Only use this if you wish to serve cheesecake right away.
Make sure the cheesecake is completely cool down before storing it as follow:
- This Basque burnt cheesecake can be kept under refrigeration and completely covered for up to 1 week.
- The cheesecake can be kept frozen for up to 2 months. Make sure to wrap the entire cheesecake (don't remove the parchment and the bottom of the springform baking pan) or each slice in a few layers of plastic wrap.
More dessert recipes
Foolproof Basque burnt cheesecake
- 8 inch spring baking pan
- Parchment papers
- 3 blocks cream cheese about 1.5 lb, soften completely at room temperature
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1 c sugar add extra ½ c if you prefer sweeter cheesecake
- 2 c heavy cream room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract optional
- ⅓ c AP flour or cake flour sifted
- ¼ tsp salt
For pan greasing
- 2 oz unsalted butter soften at room temperature
- Preheat oven to 400F
- In a mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine completely softened cream cheese blocks and sugar and beat on medium-low speed, about 30 seconds.
- If the cream cheese can't be whipped smoothly, turn off the mixer immediately and let it continue softening at room temperature.
- Add one egg at a time to the cream cheese mixture and beat until everything is incorporated, about 1 minute. The mixture will become smoother after each added egg.
- Then add heavy cream, salt, and vanilla extract and continue beating until the mixture is smooth approximately 30 seconds. Scrape down the bowl's sides with the spatula a couple of times during the mixing process.
- Carefully add flour into the cream cheese mixture and mix until everything is fully incorporated approximately 30 seconds. The batter should be smooth, silky, and free of a lump at this point.
- Grease the bottom and the sides of the baking pan with softened butter.
- Measure and cut two big pieces of parchment paper to line the pan. I cut 15-in-square-parchment-papers for my 8" baking pan. Remember to lightly grease between the parchments to make them stay in place easily.
- Because of this, classic Basque burnt cheesecake won't have smooth sides like the other cheesecake recipes.
- Pour batter into the pan, and use a spatula or back of a spoon to smooth out the top if necessary.
- Bake cheesecake for 40 minutes. The cheesecake should have a dark brown/caramelized effect on top.
- Let the cheesecake cool down completely before serving. The top of the cheesecake will sink from 1 to 2 inches during this process. You can either serve it at room temperature or straight from the refrigerator.