If you've been on the hunt for the Best burnt Basque Cheesecake recipe, you have come to the right place! This cheesecake is easy to make with only 5 key ingredients, and is deliciously creamy with a beautiful caramelized crust. Yum!
WHAT IS BASQUE CHEESECAKE?
Basque cheesecake is a dessert that originated in the Basque region of Spain. Unlike traditional cheesecake, which is baked low and slow to AVOID forming a crust on top, Basque cheesecake has an INTENTIONAL burnt, caramelized exterior and a creamy, custard-like interior. The burnt crust replaces the biscuit crust in a traditional cheesecake, and gives the Basque cheesecake a slightly bitter taste, which balances the sweetness of the creamy filling.
THE VIRAL BASQUE CHEESECAKE FROM TURKEY
Basque cheesecake became a social media sensation a few years ago, and sounded so good that I immediately went to my kitchen when I saw it. However, I really didn't like the outcome: it just tasted eggy. A few years later, I gave it another shot. Again - no. It was still just eggy and I much preferred my delicious classic cheesecake.
However, it all changed when I was visiting Istanbul in the fall of 2022. I was staying near Galata Tower, and stumbled upon a cafe which had a whole window display of Basque cheesecakes. Intrigued, I decided to give it a shot.
Turns out, this was the exact Basque Cheesecake that had been going viral on social media! The cafe was "Viyana Kahvesi", and they served slices of the cheesecake drenched in chocolate ganache. While I am usually a chocolate fan, I scraped it to the side to taste the cheesecake itself, and was blown away! It was not eggy - it was creamy and delicious.
So I set off on a mission: I had to recreate the Viyana Kahvesi Basque Cheesecake in all its glorious creamy deliciousness! And that's exactly what this recipe is.
This cheesecake requires 5 basic ingredients. Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature for best results.
- Cream cheese: Please go for Philadelphia block cream cheese if you can! Rumor has it, the origin of Basque cheesecake, La Vina, also uses Philadelphia! If you don't have access to Philadelphia, use any full-fat block cream cheese
- Granulated sugar: The quantity provided in this recipe makes for a mildly sweet cheesecake, so I don't recommend reducing it further
- Eggs: This is a recipe in which eggs cannot be substituted or reduced. They give the cheesecake its structure
- Heavy cream: Use any full fat cream
- Corn starch: A tiny amount is added for structure. You can also use all purpose flour, but I prefer corn starch as it is finer
Additionally, I like to add:
- Vanilla: If you can, get your hands on good quality vanilla bean paste!
Some recipes also call for lemon zest, but I find this cheesecake to be one which doesn't work well with sour notes.
If you want to recreate Viyana Kahvesi's cheesecake, make a simple chocolate ganache with a 1:1 ratio of chocolate and cream, and drench the cheesecake slices in that before serving!
HOW TO MAKE CREAMY BASQUE CHEESECAKE
First, check out this video to see the cheesecake in action:
Now - here's the deal. Most recipes on the internet for Basque cheesecake are more or less the same. The same ingredients in slightly different ratios and quantities. The method is more or less the same.
And most recipes on the internet have the same problem: they WAY overbake the cake. That's what makes it taste eggy and dense and dry instead of rich and creamy and delectable.
So the secret to perfect the Basque cheesecake is to perfect the baking time. Now, this is easier said than done, because this isn't a cake you can just poke with a toothpick to check for doneness. After many attempts, here is what has worked out best for me:
- Bake at 410F (conventional, no fan, bottom heating only), and make sure to preheat your oven for at least 20 minutes
- Bake for only ~55 minutes (check for doneness around 50 min in). This is for this recipe which makes quite a large 8" cheesecake.
- Broil in the last 3-4 minutes to get the perfect burnt, caramelized crust (for example, you can back for 52 minutes followed by 3 minutes of broiling to get a total baking time for 55 minutes)
- Wait just 5 minutes at room temperature, and then transfer the cake to the fridge. This will start cooling down the cheesecake so it stops cooking from its own heat
- Refrigerate overnight, and serve cold! I know traditionally this cheesecake is supposed to be served at room temperature, but the overnight chilling is critical to ensure the cheesecake sets (otherwise it might flood everywhere). If you want, you can take out a slice and let it come to room temperature before eating, but I actually prefer it cold.
How to tell when the cheesecake is done baking
Figuring out the exact time to take out of the oven can definitely be tricky. Here's are the cues I looked for which worked for me:
- Around ~50 minutes later, the top of the cheesecake had formed a thin solid film / crust (i.e., it was not liquid anymore)
- The cheesecake had risen significantly, above the height of the pan
- The cheesecake had a PROPER wobble when shaken. It almost felt underdone
- At this point, I turned on the broiler and waited 3-4 minutes for the crust to develop the deep brown color, and took out of the oven
It might take you 1-2 tries to get the timing exactly right. The type of pan and oven you use will also impact the timing.
When you check the cheesecake around ~50 minutes, ask yourself this: would you rather have cheesecake that is underdone and creamy or fully baked but somewhat eggy/dry?
- If underdone, err on the side of caution and stop baking when you feel like it might be done
- If fully baked, wait for a few more minutes until you feel sure it is done (you can bake for 60 minutes followed by broiling)
- Stand mixer or electric hand mixer
- Large bowl
- Rubber spatula
- Sifter for cornstarch
- Measuring cups / scale
- 8" cake pan - make sure to use one with at least 3" of height; I used this one
- Large parchment sheets
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
You cannot replace eggs in Basque cheesecake.
Basque cheesecake is different from traditional cheesecake in a few ways. First, it has a burnt or caramelized exterior that gives it a slightly bitter taste. Second, it has a creamy, custard-like interior instead of the denser texture of traditional cheesecake. Finally, Basque cheesecake is typically crustless.
Yes, you can make Basque cheesecake ahead of time and keep in the fridge for 4-5 days.
Keep the Basque cheesecake in the fridge, covered with cling wrap to prevent it from drying (or in an airtight container). It will keep good for 4-5 days at least!
If you enjoy this cheesecake recipe, make sure to also try my PERFECT classic cheesecake (deemed by hundreds of people as the best cheesecake they have ever eaten), and my rich and creamy chocolate cheesecake!
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