If there's one thing that makes me feel better, it's baking. But if there's one thing that makes me feel even better, it's baked cheesecake! And not just any old cheesecake... That's why I am so excited to introduce you to the infamous Basque Cheesecake. First created by a Spanish chef called Santiago Rivera in the early 90s, the care and detail might be the preparation while using very humble ingredients, however the standout feature is the scorched caramelised top and sides resulting in a caramel smoky flavour compliments the sweet creamy flavour. And while the flavours are rich and complex, the Basque Cheesecake is actually really simple to make.
Seeing as we are all spending a bit more time at home right now, I thought this would be the perfect recipe to share with you. But don't be fooled by it's gorgeous appearance because you only need a handful of ingredients, which you'll most likely already have at home. In fact, what I love most about this recipe is that its perfectly imperfect. While there may be no pastry involved, pulling down the sides of the burnt baking paper to reveal the scorched crinkly sides creates a lot of gorgeous drama. It's a beautiful moment you'll never forget. Read on for the recipe and happy baking! And remember, always read the recipe first and get your mise en place organised before starting. Trust me, it helps.
- 1kg cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup caster sugar
- Pinch flaky sea salt
- 1/3 cup plain flour, sifted
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 2 egg yolks, room temperature
- 375ml thick pouring cream
- Stand mixer
- Silicon spatula
- 20cm diameter springform cake tin
- Preheat oven to 200C. Line the cake tin with two sheets of baking paper. Cross them over each other and fold over the sides ensuring there is at least 5cm of overhang. Don't worry if it looks a bit messy as the creases will create the beautiful detail on the side of the cheesecake that it is so well known for.
- Add room temperature cream cheese to the stand mixer and using a paddle attachment beat on medium speed until smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure the entire mixture is incorporated.
- Slowly add 1/4 cup of sugar at a time and beat until dissolved and smooth before adding the next 1/4 cup, about 20 seconds each time. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure the entire mixture is incorporated.
- Add salt and flour and beat on low speed until combined. Add one egg at a time and mix until combined, at least 10 seconds per egg. Repeat with the remaining 3 eggs and egg yolks until combined. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Slowly pour cream into mixture on low speed until combined and scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure the mixture is silky smooth.
- Pour the cake mixture through the sieve and into the cake tin. Bake cheesecake for 45 mins. Increase the oven temperature to 240C and bake for another 15 to 25 mins until deeply golden brown on top and still very jiggly in the centre.
- Let the cheesecake cool for at least 15 minutes. You will notice the centre of the cake will fall as it cools, this is what you want to happen. Gently remove the side of the springform cake tin and let the cheesecake cool completely.
When the cheesecake is completely cooled carefully peel the baking paper away from the sides of the cheesecake. Slice into wedges and serve. Store covered in the fridge for up to 7 days. Also, Basque Cheesecake can be made one day ahead. Simply cover and chill in the fridge once it has cooled down. Slice and bring to room temperature before serving.
Ps. I got a bit distracted and left the cheesecake in the oven for a bit longer, so the centre didn't drop as dramatically as it normally would but that's ok because I'm only a home cook and these things happen. But I can confirm it smells like toasted caramel and tastes smoky, creamy and all things caramel.