This is the fool-proof, can’t-mess-it-up-if-you-tried cheesecake. And when you take that first bite, it sends you straight to crème brûlée heaven, where you eat yummy clouds made of cheesecake.
I wanted to try something new. Usually, by the time I’m posting a recipe on the site, I’ve made it a few times. You know? I’m going to make sure I know what I’m doing, that I’ve gotten it exactly how I want it before I’m going to share it with you and publish it. This means that I’ve looked at a few different recipes for the same thing and created some sort of hybrid of a few different things, taking a little bit from this one over here and a little bit from this one over there and learning from mistakes. That’s cooking, you know? Dump and stir, trial and error.
Enter: Wing It Wednesdays. I’m going to find a recipe, take the usual pictures and hope for the best. Whether it works out great or turns into a hot mess and goes off the rails, I’m going to share it with you. I’ll tell you where it worked, where it didn’t, what I learned, what I would do differently next time, if there will even be a next time.
So, here’s the first one. Let’s get started!
Jeff has tried floating the idea of doing the Keto Diet together twice within the last week. I told him I would start looking into recipes. What I actually did was make a cheesecake. 🤷🏻♀️ What can I say? The heart wants what it wants.
And honestly, just right now, I really just googled Is cheesecake Keto friendly? 🤦🏻♀️ That’s real life. I really just did that. For the record, I haven’t done any research into the Keto Diet yet, but I’m pretty sure that even though this cheesecake is crustless, it probably still doesn’t count… because I put a cup and a half of sugar in it and I’m pretty sure that’s not allowed on any diet. 🤣
So, let’s break this down. I made the Burnished Basque Cheesecake developed by Molly Baz for Bon Appetit. If you don’t know Molly yet, you need to. I love her. I’ve now made three things within the last three weeks that I watched her make on her test kitchen recipes and, hand to God, all three have been 10/10 will make again, turned out exactly like the photo, can’t mess it up, tasted bombdotcom, so…. You’re welcome.
What I’ve gathered is that Molly also develops recipes for Basically, which is an offshoot of Bon Appetit, but requires that the recipes be a little bit more simple and straight to the point. From watching her test kitchen videos, I am pretty sure I heard her say that Basically recipes are only supposed to have 10 ingredients or less, and I’m very into that philosophy.
True Confession: I’ve been pretty intimidated by cheesecake.
With the water baths, and the fear of the top cracking and potentially burning it, cheesecake just seemed not worth the fuss. It was just going to be something that I appreciated its existence in the world, but it would not be something I spent time trying to make at home. However, I must tell you, if you have felt the same way, fear not, this one really is the anti-cheesecake. The whole point is that there is no water bath, it’s ok if it cracks and you’re supposed to burn it. Once I knew that, I was like, I am here for this.
So, let’s do it!!
Line Your Pan with Parchment
I gotta warn ya, though. This business of making a parchment skirt (that’s what I’m calling it) for your springform was my perfectionist self’s nightmare. Molly specifically said to not be a perfectionist about it and to just shove it in there so it fits and pleat and fold the parchment however you need to. I went in knowing it was going to grate on my nerves, and I still ended up texting my friend saying “I don’t feel great about my parchment situation” as we were both giving this recipe a shot on the same day. At the end of the day, I got it in there and it did what it was supposed to do. The recipe recommends having your parchment stand 2 inches above your pan. I did my best; it was close enough. I also ended up realizing my springform pan was 8 inches instead of the 10 inches outlined by the recipe and the world didn’t end, so turns out you really can just wing it.
Mix Your Batter
When I saw the silky batter come together, for a moment I thought wouldn’t it be nice if I could just plunge my whole face in this and eat it? Alas, obviously, I restrained myself. To be honest, the ingredients for the batter are pretty much a dump-and-stir sort of situation. There is a boatload of cream cheese and then it gets taken to another level of decadence with a whole pint of heavy cream. Drool.
Bake Your Cake
Once all of your batter ingredients become friends and join together to become smooth and silky, you’re good to pour it into your prepared springform. The parchment is there to give the batter something to hold onto when it rises as it bakes, almost like a soufflé. The point is that it rises as it bakes, burns to get that beautifully golden caramelization, and then, finally, it falls back onto itself when it cools, giving it this edge and unique look to it. No two cheesecakes end up the same I would imagine.
The other thing I want to tell you about baking this cheesecake, aside from the fact that it’s beautiful once it’s all burnt, is that even though it’s technically done baking, it’s still going to be jiggly, especially in the middle. This may seem concerning and off-putting, but I promise that it’s right and it turns out for the best. If we’re being really honest, I was freaked out by this and then I was worried about how much jiggle is just enough jiggle, not too much, not too little. So, I went back and watched the video again just to check the precise amount of jiggle, because I did end up leaving my cheesecake in the oven for about 70 minutes, which was a little bit longer than the recipe indicated, but mine also didn’t brown as much as I had anticipated it would.
Let it Cool (not as good as Let It Go, but it’ll do for now, I suppose.)
You gotta let your cheesecake cool. And you can’t rush it. Don’t you dare rush it. But that’s the hardest part about a cheesecake, you know? You bake it and then you have to wait for it to get to a temperature where it has completely set and then it’s finally time to eat it. Well. The waiting part in this is really important because not only do you want to make sure your cheesecake is at an appropriate temperature for consumption, but you need to make sure it’s all set up and deflated to a point where, when you take it’s lovely parchment clothes off of it, it’s not going to fall apart and become a hot naked mess. (#thatswhatshesaid). In hindsight, it was definitely like unwrapping a lovely little present. And who doesn’t love presents?
I was a nervous nelly about that part, though. I felt great about unbuckling the latch on the springform but then I looked at the parchment and thought to myself how the f*** am I supposed to get you off? As a frequent rider of the hot mess express 🚂, I armed myself with a couple of spatulas, wished that I could grow another set of arms, took a deep breath, clenched my butt and… I winged it. Honestly, there wasn’t an easy way for me to do it. I kept muttering “oh shit” as I tried to remove the parchment and the bottom of the springform pan onto a cake plate. If I would have been smart, I would have just left it and not tried to do that, but I just really needed to transfer it to a cake plate so I could take the pretty picture. That’s right, I did it for the ‘gram.
Just Eat It (a hungrier version of Beat It)
The interesting thing about this cheesecake is that it is intended to be eaten at room temperature. Yeah, you read that right. Cheesecake. At. Room. Temperature. Seems weird, right? Well, I thought that too, but I tried it because I’m a rule follower and I wanted to do it as our muse Molly Baz intended. She hasn’t converted me to eating cheesecake at room temp, but I will tell you that it’s worth trying. When I took the first bite of this after I’d let it cool to room temperature, there was a moment of angelic voices and then that feeling that an Olympic athlete must feel when they know they just competed at the highest level of their athleticism and then to hear they’ve taken home the gold. Ok, probably not as good as that moment might feel, but I did feel victorious.
It was a moment of victory because that first bite was awesome. If I had a tail, it would have been wagging. Anyway, the texture of the cheesecake was just… *chef kiss*. It was thick and creamy but also light and fluffy. It was a perfect, confounding bite. Like, you expect it to be chilly and dense, but it wasn’t; it was room temperature. And while it was thick, it was the consistency you’d want it to be and it was so creamy and rich. I can’t even. It was like eating a cloud. A really delicious cloud.
Would I make this again? 10/10 I will make this cheesecake again if I’m ever in the market to make a cheesecake.
Difficulty/Approachability: Low. I 100% felt like this recipe was approachable and pretty straightforward. The difficulty level in this recipe is fairly low and if this is your first ever cheesecake, this is a great one to start with because everything you’d be afraid to mess up, it’s already intended in the finished product
Taste: You know in Friends when Rachel says, “Isn’t that just kick-you-in-the-crotch-spit-on-your-neck fantastic?!” This, my friends, is not like that. This is a delicious bite of sweet, silky goodness in your mouth. This transports you, to borrow from my celebrity crush Guy Fieri, straight to Flavortown, USA. That first bite I took immediately made me think of crème brûlée, and when I made Jeff eat a piece of this, he had this weird look on his face, like he was thinking really hard about something, and then he goes Is this a crème brûlée cheesecake? Guys, I’m telling you, eating this feels luxurious.
What Would I Do Differently? I would not move this to a cake plate like a bougie little brat.
Burnt Basque Cheesecake
- springform pan
- unsalted butter (for the pan)
- 2 lbs cream cheese (room temperature)
- 1.5 cups granulated sugar
- 6 large eggs
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Butter pan, then line with 2 overlapping sheets of parchment, making sure parchment comes at least 2" above top of pan on all sides. Because the parchment needs to be pleated and creased in some areas to fit in pan, you won’t end up with a clean, smooth outer edge to the cake; that’s okay! Place pan on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Beat cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-low speed, scraping down sides of bowl, until very smooth, no lumps remain, and sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes.
- Increase speed to medium and add eggs one at a time, beating each egg 15 seconds before adding the next. Scrape down sides of bowl, then reduce mixer speed to medium-low. Add cream, salt, and vanilla and beat until combined, about 30 seconds.
- Turn off mixer and sift flour evenly over cream cheese mixture. Beat on low speed until incorporated, about 15 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl (yet again) and continue to beat until batter is very smooth, homogenous, and silky, about 10 seconds.
- Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake cheesecake until deeply golden brown on top and still very jiggly in the center, 60–65 minutes. (I ended up baking mine for about 70 minutes.)
- Let cool slightly (it will fall drastically as it cools), then unmold. Let cool completely. Carefully peel away parchment from sides of cheesecake. Slice into wedges and serve at room temperature.
- Bon Appetit advises: Cheesecake be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Be sure to let cheesecake sit for several hours at room temperature to remove chill before serving.
- I did end up eating it chilled, and it was still great, so I really think you can eat it however you want. 🙂
- 25 WW Smartpoints for all three plans 💙💚💜
- Serving size is 1 piece of cheesecake
- This point value is based on having 1 cheesecake of 12 servings. You may change the number of servings to change the point value.
- Calculated using the WW Recipe Creator.