Matcha Basque Cheesecake
With its caramelized top and creamy center, Basque cheesecake has taken the world by storm. It’s become particularly popular in Japan, where the name of the dish is shortened to Basuchee (バスチー), and you can even find it in convenience stores like 7-Eleven and Lawsons. I’ve posted an easy version of the original Basque Cheesecake recipe from La Vigne before, but this time, I wanted to add a touch of Japan by flavoring it with matcha or green tea powder to make a Matcha Basque Cheesecake(抹茶バスチー).
Table of contents
Why This Recipe Works?
- Mixing the ingredients in a blender avoids lumps while making the process much simpler (for example, you would normally need to sift the matcha).
- Baking it at a very high temperature ensures you get a dark brown caramelized crust, while the
- I’ve replaced the flour in the original recipe with matcha, which also makes this gluten-free.
Ingredients for Matcha Basque Cheesecake
- Cream Cheese – Any cream cheese will work for this Matcha Basque Cheesecake, and I’ve done this with Philadelphia before. I prefer using European-style cream cheese, like Kiri, because they tend to be creamier and have a higher salt content. If you use Philly, you may want to add a pinch of salt.
- Heavy Cream – In the US, “heavy cream” is defined as a cream that contains at least 36% butterfat. I’ve made this with a range of creams, from about 31% up to 47%, and I generally like the results of the ones with a higher fat content because they tend to be more rich and creamy. I wouldn’t recommend going over 50%, though, as you might run into issues with the fat separating out. I would not recommend using milk as it won’t have enough protein to properly set the center. Finally, I’ve heard from some international readers that creams stabilized with starch or gelatin do not work, so make sure your cream does not include any additives.
- Sugar – Although I normally cook with unprocessed sugar, I use white granulated sugar for this because I want to retain the matcha’s bright green color. You can use any kind of sugar, but keep in mind that your cheesecake’s color will turn out more of an army green if you use brown sugar.
- Eggs – Together with the protein in the milk and cheese, the eggs help set the Basque Cheesecake
- Matcha – Outside of Japan, matcha is usually separated into two grades: Ceremonial and Culinary. The former is for making tea, and the latter is for cooking. There’s a pretty big price difference between the two, but I prefer using Ceremonial tea for everything if you can afford it. Ceremonial matcha has a more vibrant green color, and it tastes less bitter and astringent than the culinary variety. Keep in mind that matcha oxidizes very quickly once opened. I usually try and use the pack within a few weeks after opening it, or it will lose its vibrant color.
How to Make Matcha Basque Cheesecake
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (230C).
Prepare a 6-inch by 2.5-inch pan by lining the inside with parchment paper. If you have a pan with a removable bottom, you can remove the bottom and then use it to press the parchment paper into the pan. This makes it much easier, and once the paper is creased to fit the pan, you can put the bottom back and then set the shaped parchment paper into the pan.
Add all of the ingredients straight from the refrigerator into a blender and blend until smooth. You want to use cold ingredients to ensure you can get good browning on top without overcooking the center, but if they are too cold, your blender may have trouble mixing them. In this case, let it sit for a bit until they’ve warmed up enough to allow your blender to spin. You can also use a hand blender or mixer to do this, but you want to incorporate as little air as possible into the batter as you’ll need to get all these bubbles out later.
Pour the Basque Cheesecake batter into the prepared pan. Now you want to smack the bottom of the pan against the countertop. The impact will force air bubbles in the batter to the surface. You’ll probably want to spread a dishtowel between the pan and your counter to avoid damaging both. Keep repeating this until you don’t see any more bubbles surfacing.
Put the Basque Cheesecake onto a sheet pan and then place this into your preheated oven. Set the timer for 20 minutes. After 10 minutes, you should see some light browning on parts of the cake. If you don’t see any browning, raise the temperature 10 degrees and continue monitoring it. If it looks like it’s too dark at 10 minutes, lower the heat by 10 degrees. Ideally, you want to get the cheesecake out of the oven with a dark brown top after 20-25 minutes, but the center should still be extremely jiggly and undercooked.
If the cheesecake still isn’t browned to your liking after 25 minutes, I recommend removing it from the oven at this point, or it will likely be overcooked in the center.
Let this cool on a wire rack until it reaches room temperature, and then cover it and refrigerate it overnight.
To slice the Matcha Basque Cheesecake, remove it from the pan using the parchment paper, and then use a knife that has been heated with boiling water to cut it. Pour boiling water over the knife after each cut to ensure you get nice clean cuts.
Other Matcha Recipes
Basque Cheesecake is a dessert originally invented at a restaurant in the Basque region of Spain called La Viña. Its trademark is the caramelized top that appears almost burnt and an undercooked center, which has the silky smooth texture of custard. Together you end up with an easy crustless dessert that’s like a mashup of cheesecake and flan.
Matcha is powdered green tea leaves. It is made from shade-grown green tea leaf tips. Besides the special leaves, matcha needs to be ground into an extremely fine powder, so it is not something you can do at home using regular green tea.
Yes, you can substitute cocoa powder 1:1 with the matcha in this recipe to make a Chocolate Basque Cheesecake. You can also substitute in other powdered flavorings like raspberry juice powder or passion fruit juice powder.
Because the goal is to caramelize the top of the cheesecake while leaving the center custardy and smooth, getting the right balance of temperature and time is critical. Unfortunately, the thermostats in ovens are often inaccurate. Even if the temperature is accurate, the varying construction of different ovens makes it difficult to pinpoint an exact time and temperature to bake your cheesecake for.
In my convection oven (which has a fan at the back of the oven), I bake it at 230 degrees C (450 F) for between 20-22 minutes, depending on how cold the ingredients are when they enter the oven. If this is your first time making this, I recommend using a 6×2.5-inch pan and going with my temperature/time recommendations unless you know your oven runs hot/cool. Then, keep a close eye on it, and if it looks like it’s not browning (or it’s browning too quickly) at the 10-minute mark, you can raise/lower the temperature. Whatever you do, don’t bake it for more than 25 minutes, or the center will be fully cooked.
Yes, but you will need to make adjustments to the time and temperature. Please see the cake pan size section of my original basque cheesecake recipe for more details.
You can, but I highly recommend making it with a round 6-inch pan the first time you do it, as the shape of a pan will affect the time and temperature you need to bake it for. Without having a baseline for your oven setup, you won’t know whether you need to increase or decrease the time/temperature.
If cooked properly, the cheesecake will still be runny in the center and requires some time in the refrigerator to set. If you cut it into it while it is still hot, it will run all over the place.
cream cheese (cold)
heavy cream (cold)
granulated sugar (~1/2 cup)
matcha (~2 tablespoons)
Line a 6×2.5-inch round cake pan with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 450 degrees F (230C).
Add the cream cheese, heavy cream, sugar, eggs, and matcha to a blender and blend until smooth.
Pour the batter into the parchment-lined cake pan and set it on a baking sheet. Use a dropping motion to force any air bubbles in the batter to the surface and repeat until you don’t see any more air bubbles.
Bake the Basque Cheesecake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes. It should be browned on top but still very jiggly in the center. Do not bake it for more than 25 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool on a rack until it reaches room temperature. Once it’s cooled off, cover the pan and place it in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours to set.
To slice the Matcha Basque Cheesecake, use a pot of boiling water to heat and clean the knife between each slice to ensure you get nice clean cuts.