In this recipe, we are going to burn a cheesecake. It’s easily the most fun and easy cheesecake recipe I have ever attempted! No fuss, no frills. You mix all of the ingredients into one bowl, bake the mixture until it is burned. Anyone can make this flawlessly!
You sort of have to throw your cheesecake playbook out for this one. We are baking it without a crust at high temperatures, burning it, making it crack on purpose. All of this adds up to a gorgeous, perfectly imperfect dessert. It is delicate yet rich, with a fluffiness that you do not usually associate with cheesecakes. The texture is velvety smooth inside with a nice crust on the outside. It has a tenderly firm consistency once set. Overall, the recipe is a total winner for all dessert lovers!
This Burnt Basque Cheesecake, adapted from Bon Appetit, is a one-bowl recipe, which only requires 5 simple ingredients; cream cheese, sugar, eggs, cream, and flour. For a little extra kick, you can add vanilla or zest of your choice. It’s simple, quick, and just scrumptious!
Why Burn It?
Something you usually avoid in the kitchen is our greatest asset here. Burning the mixture. What this does is firstly, allow you to make a crustless cheesecake.
A part of what makes this recipe so easy, is that it does not need a crust. When the mixture is burned, cooled and set, you get a sturdy outside which compensates for what a crust would ordinarily bring you.
Furthermore, the burning caramelises the sugar and milk solids, leaving us with a sharp bittersweet flavour. The balances perfectly with the creamy sweet interior.
Another plus burning is that it leaves you with a very striking appearance. The deep brown exterior is in sharp contrast to a white interior. The rustic edges and crinkles bring a rustic charm to the dessert.
In conclusion - burn away! It will yield excellent results.
Origins of the Burnt Basque Cheesecake
This wondrous, rule breaking dessert comes from La Viña in Spain. La Viña is a restaurant in San Sebastián which has been running for 60+ years. It is an institution in the Basque region and inspiration to chefs and bakers all over the world.
Most home versions, including my own, differ from the original. The burnt cheesecake from La Vina has more of a custard, pudding texture inside where it oozes. This one and many other adaptations you will see are more set and solid, closer to the cheesecakes we are familiar with.
Process - How to Make Burnt Basque Cheesecake
With this recipe, you will be embracing rough edges, cracks, and of course - burning it!
Preheat your oven to 200 celsius/ 400 fahrenheit.
Start with lining your pan. This is a crucial part of the recipe, otherwise, your cheesecake will not hold its form. Line a sheet of parchment paper over it, well pressed into the sides.
Important note -
Do not cut out paper for the bottom and sides separate - the mixture will seep through the fine lines between. Instead, cut out large sheets of parchment and line it twice. Let the parchment paper come about 2 inches out of the pan since the cheesecake will rise quite a bit.
I used an 8-inch springform pan, but you can even use a 6 inch one. The cheesecake will just be a little thicker!
Now for making the mixture.
Blend your cream cheese and sugar with a mixer on low speed. Do this for 2-3 minutes till the sugar is completely dissolved and you have a smooth consistency.
Then, beat in the eggs one at a time. Do not add them all together - stick to incorporating one egg at a time. Eggs are a crucial part of this recipe. Since we are not using leaveners like baking soda/powder, eggs are what give the cheesecake that gorgeous lift and makes it nicely fluffy.
Then add the rest of your ingredients - cream, flour, and vanilla extract.
The final mixture will be nice and smooth. It will be a little runny, which is the consistency we want. That is it - the cheesecake mixture is ready to go into the pan!
Pour it in and then bake the cheesecake for 50 - 60 minutes. Check in at the 50 minute mark to check if it’s ready.
How will you know if it is done?
Well, it should have risen high and have a deep brown top. When you gently shake the cheesecake in its pan, there should be a little jiggle in the center. If you want, you can even give it an extra few minutes to brown more.
When this comes out of the oven, the cheesecake will be puffed up. As it cools, it will fall - don’t be alarmed! Do not take it out of the pan till it is cooled. During this time, it will be collapsing and compressing. You can eat it after a few hours at room temp after it has set or give it some fridge time!
As with all cheesecakes, I recommend making this a day in advance. This will give you ample time to let it set. I let mine sit overnight in the fridge and then served it at room temperature.
Variations of the Burnt Basque Cheesecake
You can easily swap out the cream cheese in this recipe for ricotta. The original does not have vanilla, but I added some in mine to bring out more flavour. You can do the same with other essences or even orange/lemon zest!
Another excellent touch for a little extra warmth would be a pinch of cinnamon.
To make a chocolate version, add 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder along with the flour.
Serving the Burnt Basque Cheesecake
After it has set and cooled, you can take the cheesecake out of the pan and peel of the parchment.
The edges and cracked top will not be neat - but that's part of the charm with this recipe! It’s a knockout on its own and really does not need an accompaniment. However, a sprinkling of icing sugar can never be a bad bet.
I’ve even seen a wonderful version of this that bakes blueberries on the top.
This truly is a fool-proof recipe, that requires minimum effort to make, and yet presents itself as a gorgeous, gourmet dessert, that tastes absolutely incredible!
For more cheesecake recipes - both baked and non-baked, check out my:
- Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake
- No Bake Jamun Cheesecake
- Baked Ricotta Mango Cheesecake
- Vegan Cherry Lemon Cheesecake
Burnt Basque Cheesecake
- 8" Loose bottom pan
- 450 gms Cream cheese
- 3/4 cup Sugar
- 3 Eggs
- 1/3 cup Cream
- 1/4 cup All purpose flour
- 2 tsp Vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 200C.
- Line your baking pan with parchment paper. Make sure the paper comes at least 2"above the sides of the pan.
- In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar, until the cream cheese is creamy and sugar is dissolved.
- Add the eggs, one at a time. Make sure each egg is incorporated well before adding the next one.
- Whisk in the cream, all purpose flour and vanilla extract, until smooth.
- This is a thin batter.
- Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 50-55 minutes, until the cake is browned on top, but still jiggly in the center.
- Let the cake cool in the pan for 30-40 minutes, then transfer to the refrigerator for it to set completely, for about 8-10 hours.
- Gently remove the cake from the pan and peel the parchment paper away from the cake. Serve cold or at room temperature. Enjoy!