My eggnog cheesecake is a festive upgrade to the Basque burnt style cheesecake. A creamy cake with a caramelised top. An easy six ingredient dessert making the perfect decadent centrepiece with rustic charm.
What is Basque Burnt Cheesecake?
A burnt topped Basque cheesecake is a style of cheesecake made famous by the La Viña restaurant in San Sebastian, part of Basque country in Spain.
Unlike the traditional New York style baked cheesecake or its no-bake cousins, this burnt Basque cheesecake does not have a cookie crumb base. In fact it is very literally a cheese cake - there is nothing but the cream cheese mixture, shaped by a piece of parchment and a springform cake pan.
Why make Basque Style Cheesecake
What makes the Basque style cheesecake so great is its characteristic burnt top. Who doesn't love a bit of caramelised sweet cream filling?
Since the goal is to actually char the top a bit, it is far more difficult to mess up a burnt cheesecake than other styles. There is no whipping cream to stiff peaks to ensure it sets, like in the no-bake cheesecake. There is also no need to contend with a water bath and fear of a cake splitting like with American baked cheesecakes.
My Basque style eggnog cheesecake has only 6 ingredients:
- Cream cheese - I use spreadable cream cheese in this recipe, but you can also use block cream cheese if you have access to it. If using the blocks, be sure to allow to soften first.
- Sugar - caster sugar or superfine granulated.
- Flour - just a small amount of all-purpose flour or plain flour.
- Eggnog - you can use store bought or homemade. I used my easy homemade spiced eggnog in this recipe.
- Nutmeg - no eggnog related recipe is complete without a healthy sprinkle of freshly ground nutmeg.
Making Basque Style Eggnog Cheesecake
Line the Pan
The first step in the basque style cheesecake is to line your pan. You will need to use a springform pan and a large piece of parchment paper.
My recipe is sufficient for an 8" springform pan. If you use a smaller size, you may need to adjust the cooking times - a smaller pan will make for a deeper cake, but this will also take longer to cook and set. If you use a larger pan, you cake will be thinner and cook more quickly.
Your piece of parchment should be large enough to press into the pan and overhang the sides by an inch or so. This can be left quite rustic, as it is part of the charm of the Basque-style cheesecake.
Eggnog Cheesecake Filling
This simple eggnog cheesecake recipe needs one bowl and only a few minutes to whip up!
Simply start by beating the cream cheese and sugar together to make a thick glossy cream. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
Then add the flour and whisk into the batter, followed by the eggnog.
Optional: dependent on your taste and whether your eggnog is generously spiced, I'd recommend adding a teaspoon of ground nutmeg to the cheesecake filling with the flour.
Once the eggnog cheesecake filling is ready, pour this carefully into the prepared parchment lined pan.
Baking Basque Style Cheesecake
Baking burnt Basque cheesecake requires a couple of considerations:
1. Preheat oven
Preheat your oven prior to placing the cheesecake in to bake. This helps to ensure that the top of the cake darkens well as you bake. If your oven is not hot enough, the cheesecake will cook more slowly, meaning it will set and start to overbake before the top gets the characteristic burn.
2. Watch for the jiggle test
The jiggle test is the classic way to tell that a cheesecake is set (whether New York style or Basque).
After about 35 minutes or so, start looking to see how your cheesecake is doing. If it is looking well risen (and in the case of the Basque cheesecake, starting to go dark on top), then you may want to start the jiggle test.
Open the oven and, using an oven mitt or kitchen towel, lightly wobble the cake tin. If the centre has a little movement, almost like jello (or jelly in the UK), then it is ready to come out. If it has a lot of movement or seems liquid, then you're still a way off removing it from the oven.
3. Know where the heat source is in your oven
If you're in the UK, most likely your oven heats from the top. In the US, the heating is normally from the bottom. This isn't a major issue with most bakes, but when the goal is a burnt top it is useful to keep in mind.
You will want to start off baking your cheesecake in the centre of the oven. In the US, you will want to increase the heat for the last 5 to 10 minutes, if the top isn't getting enough of a charred effect. But, in the UK, you can try moving your cheesecake up to a higher shelf as well. This should put the top nearer the heat and achieve the same result.
4. Cool at room temperature first
Once removed from the oven, allow the cheesecake to cool at room temperature first before placing in the refrigerator. If you place straight in the refrigerator, the cheesecake will sweat more.
After cool, place in the refrigerator to chill for about 4 hours (or ideally overnight).
5. Don't remove from pan or parchment until serving
To help preserve its shape, don't remove the springform pan or the parchment paper until ready to serve. The parchment in particular helps to maintain the cheesecake's shape, since it doesn't have any other base.
For a nice rustic presentation, leave in the parchment, and simply unwrap as you slice.
When serving, sprinkle with grated nutmeg to finish.
FAQs for Eggnog Cheesecake
My eggnog basque-style cheesecake can keep comfortably in the refrigerator for two to three days. It is best made a day in advance and allowed to chill overnight, but once it has been cut into, it will start to lose its shape a bit. I wouldn't recommend making more than two days in advance of serving, for best results.
Yes, you can freeze this eggnog cheesecake like any other cheesecake. First wait for it to cool completely at room temperature, then carefully transfer to a freezer safe plate and wrap well in cling film. Place in a large ziploc bag or wrap in a layer of aluminium foil and freeze for up to three months.
When ready to defrost, remove from the freezer. Allow to sit overnight in the refrigerator to bring to temperature.
The cheesecake will expand and rise a lot while baking. During this process, you may spot cracks, especially around the edges. These are not a problem and not a sign that the cake is over baked. During the cooling process, the cake will sink and these cracks should disappear.
If you're worried that your cheesecake is overbaking but not burning on the top in the style of a burnt basque cheesecake, you can turn the oven up for a few minutes, to increase the heat for a short amount of time.
If you like this recipe, you might want to check out some other cheesecakes:
- 8" springform baking pan
- Parchment paper
- 20 oz spreadable cream cheese
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup caster sugar or superfine granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon plain or all purpose flour
- ½ cup eggnog
- freshly grated nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200C/180C Fan) and line an 8" springform cake pan with parchment paper. This should be a large piece of parchment paper, crumpled into the pan and overhanging the lip by a couple of inches (see images in post).
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add the flour and whisk into the mix, followed by the eggnog.
- Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake in the centre of the oven for about 45 minutes, watching for it to be risen, jiggly and well browned on top.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool at room temperature for an hour before placing in the refrigerator for at least four hours (or overnight).
- When ready to serve, carefully remove from the springform pan and transfer to a serving plate. You can leave the parchment paper around the cake for presentation. Slice and dust with freshly grated nutmeg.
What’s better, a UK oven or a US one? Or is that a controversial question?!
I think it's all what you're used to! Fan assisted UK ovens are really good for circulating the air for a more even bake, but some pie crusts and cookie doughs seem to respond better to the heat coming from the top in a US oven. There are differences in the ingredients though too, which might contribute to different baking results.