Burnt Basque cheesecakes were really having a moment in 2020. And, after making my first one a couple of weeks ago, I can understand why. These are delicious and just as satisfying as a regular cheesecake, but with half the work!
Unfortunately, the first recipe I tested was not suitable for the 10″ springform pan that I have at home, and the end result was a thin, pizza-like cheesecake. Still tasted good, but definitely not as pretty. After a couple of weeks, I decided that it was time to try again and *voila* this recipe was born. It features a ribbon of matcha flavor throughout the cheesecake, as well as a tart cranberry topping (optional, but my favorite part). This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit.
But first, a little bit of history…
Burnt Basque cheesecakes, as suggested by the name, originated in the Basque region, which straddles the border between France and Spain. It originated in 1990 in San Sebastian, Spain, making it a relatively new dessert.
Unlike a traditional New York cheesecake, these don’t have any sort of crust. Instead of being cooked slowly in a water bath, they are baked very quickly in high heat. The outside of the cheesecake then develops a caramelized outer layer, which basically serves as the crust instead. My favorite thing about this cheesecake is that you don’t have to worry about burning, cracking, or sinking. It’s actually the opposite: you want those things!
As much as I love the flavor of an original Basque cheesecake, this matcha version has become my new favorite. I added a good amount of matcha powder to half of the batter, but it mellows out once the vanilla is added. Feel free to add or decrease the amount of matcha added to the batter, but I’d be wary about adding more than 5 tbsp. The added matcha powder ends up changing the texture of the batter and could result in a denser final product.
I decided to top my cheesecake with cranberry sauce. You may be thinking: “Matcha and cranberry? Do those flavors even go together?” I thought that too at first, but the tartness of the cranberry sauce goes perfectly with the rich flavor of the cheesecake. I actually ended up using canned whole berry cranberry sauce (we had some leftover from Christmas) because I couldn’t find fresh cranberries anywhere in Hawaii. Add some lemon juice, heat, and then puree until smooth. Fresh may be better but this method is quicker, easier, and still absolutely delicious.
This cheesecake was meant to be served at room temperature, which means that you don’t have to wait hours for it to chill in the refrigerator. Right after baking and at room temperature, it should be incredibly soft and smooth. Once refrigerated, I’ve found that it starts to take on the texture of a regular cheesecake. It is up to personal preference, but I enjoy it either way.
Store leftovers in an airtight container. Keep refrigerated, up to 5 days.
Matcha-Vanilla Swirl Burnt Basque Cheesecake
- 10" springform pan
- 2 lb cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 6 large eggs
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 tbsp matcha powder
- 1 can whole berry cranberry sauce (optional)
- 3 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease your springform pan, then line with two sheets of parchment paper. You want to make sure the parchment comes 2" above the top of the pan on all sides. Place pan on a rimmed baking sheet.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium-low speed until very smooth.
- Increase speed to medium and add your eggs one at a time. Make sure to mix well before adding the next. Lower your speed back to medium-low. Add your cream, salt, and vanilla and mix until combined.
- With the mixer off, sift flour evenly over your cream cheese mixture. Beat on low until incorporated, about 15-20 seconds. Scrape down the bowl if needed. Continue to beat until the batter is smooth and silky.
- Pour half of your batter into a different mixing bowl. Sift the matcha powder into one of the bowls and mix until evenly combined. The matcha batter will become much thicker than the vanilla.
- Pour batter into your prepared springform pan. To achieve a swirled look, pour both batters at the same time, but moving each so that they overlap in multiple places. Use a butter knife to swirl the colors and flavors together but do not overmix.
- Bake for 65-70 minutes, or until the top is a deep golden brown. The cheesecake should still be very jiggly in the center.
- For the optional cranberry topping: In a small saucepan, combine your can of cranberry sauce and lemon juice. Stir over medium heat. The cranberry sauce will be slightly gelatinous right out of the can, but it should loosen as it heats up. Continue to cook until it's a pourable consistency. Transfer to a blender and pulse until smooth.
- Once out of the oven, let the cheesecake cool slightly and then unmold. Let cool completely before taking off the parchment paper. Slice, top with cranberries, and serve at room temperature. Enjoy!