This Basque cheesecake is smooth, creamy, and SO easy to make. There is no crust; instead, it forms its own deep brown exterior from cooking at high heat.
People call it a burnt cheesecake, but our son had it right when he described the browning as tasting like crème brûlée!
Throw out many of the rules you know from making NY-style cheesecakes. You don’t need a water bath and you don’t need to let the dessert cool super slowly in the oven once it’s set. In fact, you don’t even have to use a springform pan (although I did).
But, there are some old tips that still apply and a some new ones that you’ll need to learn to make your cheesecake turn out perfectly.
Secrets to Success
Every one of your ingredients must be at room temperature. This applies any time you are working with cream cheese, including cream cheese frosting and cookies. Cold cream cheese produces lumps in your batter.
Use parchment paper to line your entire pan – the bottom and up and over the sides. Adding a little butter to the pan and the parchment will help it to stick. Make the paper as smooth as you can, but don’t worry if there are some wrinkles. You want those! They add to the rustic look of the cake.
Bang the pan on the counter before putting in the oven to bring any air bubbles to the top. This helps to keep the cake silky smooth.
Bake until the top looks poofed up and almost burnt; the inside will still be quite jiggly.
The center of cake will sink significantly as it cools to room temperature.
Refrigerate overnight before serving.
Because there is no bottom crust, removing the parchment under the cake can be difficult. To save you the worry of messing your cake up, simply trim the parchment back with scissors.
Burnt cheesecake is typically served bare. However, the big divot in its center is wonderful for all kinds of toppings:
- macerated strawberries and strawberry whipped cream
- candied orange slices (These work really well if you also add a some orange zest to the batter like I do in my chocolate orange cheesecake.)
- chocolate ganache, caramel, and nuts to make it a turtle-style cheesecake
- maraschino cherries
Basque Burnt Cheesecake
- 24 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 large eggs room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 400 F.
- Mix cream cheese, sugar, salt, and flour together in a large mixing bowl until smooth. There should be no lumps in the batter.
- Mix in the vanilla.
- Mix in the eggs one at a time until fully combined.
- Mix in the heavy whipping cream until fully combined.
- Line a 9" cake pan or springform pan with parchment paper, completely covering the bottom and sides of the pan. Use butter on the paper and the pan to help it stick to the pan. Smooth out any creases as best you can. (There will always be some creases remaining and that adds to the rustic look of the cake.)
- Pour batter into the lined pan. Bang the pan onto the counter a few times to bring any air bubbles up to the top.
- Bake for 50 minutes.
- Increase oven temperature to 425 F and continue to bake for another 15 minutes or until the top of the cake looks almost burnt.
- Cool to room temperature and then chill in the refrigerator overnight.
- When ready to serve, remove the cake from the pan and peel off or cut back the parchment so it isn't visible.