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You may or may not have heard of Spain’s famous Burnt Basque cheesecake, which, at first thought, sounds absolutely horrendous. However, it is actually the exact opposite of that. People from all over the world flock to La Viña Restaurant in San Sebastian, Spain to get ahold of one of these black cheesecakes. I have not been to Spain yet but many people have shared their recipes and documented what the cheesecake should taste like, so I decided to whip up my own. Every recipe includes the same base ingredients of cream cheese, heavy cream, and egg, but the recipes differ with the other ingredients like salt, fruits, flour, etc. This cheesecake lacks a crust and relies on the browning and hardening of the exterior to form a crust. The purpose of the “burnt” exterior is to balance out the creaminess and sweetness of the cheesecake. Cheesecake can often be overwhelming with how dense and creamy it is, and the texture and flavor of the burnt outside reduces some intensity of the creamy inside.
I added my own twist by flavoring the cheesecake with earl grey, which was subtle, but delicious. You may consider adding other flavors such as matcha powder or some other tea.
If you think you aren’t a good at baking, this is a great recipe to begin with. It is so simple to make, and you can burn the cheesecake! This is one of the few times where it is actually okay to burn the food. The biggest challenge of the cheesecake is having to be patient. It takes about only 10 min. to bake the batter, but 1+ hour of baking, 5 hours of cooling, and 8 hours of setting in the fridge. It’s a long process but is absolutely worth it. With that being said, if you plan on serving this for an occasion, you should bake the cake the day before so that you may let it set in the fridge overnight.
Earl Grey Basque Cheesecake
yield: 9″ or 10″ cake pan
- 4 bars full-fat cream cheese (32 oz.)
- 6 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 c. granulated sugar
- 2 c. heavy whipping cream
- 2-3 bags earl grey tea
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 5 tbsp. all-purpose flour or 2 tbsp. cornstarch for gluten-free (either works just fine)
- 9 or 10 in. springform pan
- electric beater (Can beat by hand, but I recommend on to help speed up the process and for better incorporation).
- From the 2 c. of heavy cream, take about 3 tablespoons out and place into a small bowl. Microwave until steaming hot and steep 3 bags of earl grey tea in it. Allow heavy cream to then cool.
- Place a rack in middle of oven and preheat the oven to 400 F. Cut a circle or parchment paper to fit the bottom of the springform pan. Cut thick strips to line the pan on the side, making sure that the parchment paper is about 2-3 in. above the top of the pan. (This is shown in video). You may use some of the cheesecake batter you will make to help the parchment paper stick to the pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium speed for about 2-3 min. until it is very creamy and incorporated.
- Add the eggs one at a time and beat on low speed. Beat for about 20 sec. before adding the next egg. Once the mixture is smooth, use a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl down.
- Add the cream, vanilla extract and salt and beat on medium for about 1 min.
- Sift the all-purpose flour in and beat for 1 min. on medium until the mixture is fully incorporated and lump-free.
- Filter the batter using a sieve directly into the pan or into another bowl and then pour the batter into the pan.
- Bake cheesecake for 60-62 min and remove the cake. The cake should have risen A LOT but will deflate gradually. It should be jiggly and appear as if it is not completely cooked through. Allow the cake to cool to room temperature for about 3-4 hours. Then cover with a plate or wrap and allow cake to set in the fridge for at least 8 hours or overnight.
- Remove the cake from fridge, peel away the parchment paper, and enjoy!
Enjoy this cheesecake with family and friends, with a cup of coffee or tea! It is so delicious and will be an instant hit with anybody. Refrigerate cake in an airtight container for up to 5-7 days.