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What is “Burnt” Cheesecake?
Burnt Cheesecake??? If you’re like me, this may be the first time you are hearing about this trending Internet recipe. Now that you have heard about it, you’ll be seeing it everywhere, seriously! For me, not being on the cutting edge of social media has its advantages. In this case, I was able to find and experiment with several variations of the basic recipe. After simplifying several steps, refining ingredients, and coming up with a couple of shortcuts, I’m pleased to offer a recipe that is low-stress and highly impressive. Hmm, sounds perfect for this blog!
The formal name of this cheesecake is Basque Cheesecake, named after the Basque region in Spain, which is said to be its origin. The deeply caramelized “burnt” top and bottom form the crust, which encases a creamy, rich interior. Some call it a cousin to American cheesecake, while others refer to it as the alter ego of the classic New York-style cheesecake. For me, who has always been intimidated by cheesecake, I call it just plain easy. It’s nearly impossible to screw up! The secret is baking it at very high heat and utilizing a buttered springform pan lined with parchment paper. While this cheesecake, with its beautiful rustic burnished surface, is delicious when served plain, I wanted to add a summery touch with a topping of raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries made soft and juicy with a bit of sugar and fresh lemon.
Ideally, this cake bakes in a springform pan. However, if you don’t have one, no worries, you can make this easy cheesecake in a 9×13 cake pan; see the recipe notes for details. Regardless of the type of pan, it does require a coating of butter and a lining of parchment paper. It seems redundant, but it works. The butter keeps the parchment paper in place. The reason for butter versus non-stick spray is for the protection of the pan. Most springform pans are non-stick, and cooking spray will ruin the non-stick finish. (For more information on the care of pans, check out my Navigating Cookware post!).
Tips for preparing the pan
For a springform pan, use two sheets of parchment about 16×12 inches. They should overlap to form a two-inch overhang around the entire pan. The paper will be crinkly and have some uneven edges; this is a good thing because that creates an appealing rustic appearance when removed. Place the prepared pan on a rimmed baking sheet/pan. My cake did not leak or overflow, but yours might! So consider it a best practice for protecting your oven. It’s a whole lot easier to clean up a mess on a baking pan than having to clean an entire oven!
Mixing the batter
This cheesecake gets its creaminess and richness from two pounds of cream cheese and six eggs. Mixing the batter is easy/peasy. I used a stand mixer because it’s easier to take pictures; an electric hand mixer works just as well. The batter starts with cream cheese, softened to room temperature. The easiest way is just to set the cream cheese out on the counter about 20 minutes before you’re ready to cook. If you forget, cutting the cream cheese in cubes will speed up the softening process. Starting with softened cream cheese makes it so much easier to obtain the desired silky smooth consistency.
Hack for perfect eggs
When the cream cheese and sugar are combined and smooth, it’s time to add the eggs. Add the eggs one at a time. Although it may be very tempting to break them directly into the mixing bowl, DON’T DO IT! Especially with six eggs, the chances of getting shells in the bowl are better than average. Why risk it? Get a ramakin, measuring cup, small bowl, or a coffee cup, break eggs one at a time into the container, and then pour into the mixing bowl. Besides preventing shells from ruining the cheesecake, this also allows each egg to fully mesh with the cream cheese mixture resulting in a smoother, more homogenous batter.
Flour: Sift or Not Sift
After the eggs are fully incorporated, lower the mixing speed and add in the cream, vanilla, and salt. When all is combined, turn the mixer off and sift in the flour. Sifted flour more evenly absorbs moisture and ingredients resulting in a moist, evenly flavored batter. Now, you don’t have to sift the flour. If you don’t have a finely meshed sieve (like I used), it’s okay – just make sure there are no lumps. Resume mixing for just a few seconds until the mixture is silk smooth. The batter is now ready to get poured into the prepared pan and go into a 400°F pre-heated oven.
Make the Very Berry Topping
While the cheesecake is baking, it’s a perfect time to mix up the Very Berry Topping. Thoroughly rinse 4 cups of berries ( a salad spinner works great for this task). I like using raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. Strawberries are good, too, although they will require slicing. The topping is very simple. Stir the zest and juice of one lemon and a half cup of sugar into the berries and let them get happy in the fridge. By the time the cheesecake is ready to be served, the berries will be transformed into a soft and juicy consistency.
Cooling the cheesecake
The cake bakes for 60-65 minutes until the crust is dark and caramelized. The center should be set, but it may be jiggly. It will firm up as the cake cools. Don’t be alarmed if your cake has puffed up huge with large cracks around the edges. The cake will substantially fall as it cools, and the crevasses will fold within. Check out my pictures below!
Let the cake cool for 45 minutes before releasing the latch and removing the cake from the pan. Allow it to further completely cool before removing the parchment paper. Use care when transferring the cake to a plate! You may want to enlist another pair of hands to assist.
When it’s time, serve the cheesecake, cut into wedges and spoon the berries on top. Enjoy!
Burnt Cheesecake with Very Berry SauceCourse: Dessert.Cuisine: Spanish InspiredDifficulty: Easy
This incredibly easy and trendy crustless cheesecake with its rustic cracked edges, caramelized surface, and creamy, rich filling is so incredibly easy to make it’s practically goof-proof!
4 – 8oz packages (2 lbs) cream cheese, softened
2 cups sugar, divided
6 large eggs
2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tablespoon. vanilla extract
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
4 cups mixed berries
1 lemon zested and juiced
Special equipment: springform pan (see recipe notes)
- Prep: Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 400°. Butter the bottom and sides of the springform pan, and line with 2 overlapping 16×12″ sheets of parchment. (The parchment needs to come 2″ above top and sides.) Place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Beat the softened cream cheese and 1½ cups sugar on medium-low speed until very smooth and sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium and add eggs one at a time. Reduce mixer speed to medium-low and add the cream, salt, and vanilla, mix till combined. Turn off mixer and sift flour evenly over cream cheese mixture. Mix on low speed for 10-15 seconds until batter is smooth and silky. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 60-65 minutes until deeply golden brown — center will still be jiggly.
- While the cake is baking, stir together the berries, the remaining ½ cup sugar, lemon zest and juice in a small bowl. Cover the bowl and place in fridge allowing the berries to soften and release their natural juices.
- Transfer the cheesecake from the oven onto a cooling rack. Cool for 45 minutes before releasing the pan. The cheesecake will fall significantly as it cools. Let cool completely before carefully peeling away parchment from sides of cheesecake. Slice into wedges and spoon on the berry topping. Enjoy!
- Springform pan: A 9×13 inch pan can by used, however the cake will bake much faster (35-45 minutes).
- Butter and Parchment paper: Use both! The butter helps the parchment paper from moving around in the pan. Do NOT use non-stick spray if your pan is non-stick, it will ruin the finish.
- A stand mixer or electric hand mixer can be used.