The dessert of 2020 is burnt! While we’ve spent most of our days of 2020 self-isolating at home, baking has become the new de facto hobby for many during the pandemic. Even to the point we’ve experienced a shortage of flour. Who can blame us? Baking gives us a sense of accomplishment, builds structure to our day and is a form of self-care we can do alone. The best part? You get to enjoy the finish goods afterwards! While you’re scrolling across social media looking for what to bake next, you’ve probably come across a rather burnt looking sunken soufflé wrapped in parchment paper. That’s the Basque cheesecake.
What is Basque Cheesecake?
At first glance, you might question what this odd-looking dessert is but don’t let looks fool you. Cut through the charred layer and it’ll reveal a wet and soft gooey center, reminiscent of a molten lava cake but with a bit more structure. Unlike the American style cheesecake we’re familiar with, the Basque cheesecake doesn’t have a crust. Similar to a Japanese cheesecake, its baked at a low temperature for a long duration in a water bath (who knew there were so many international variations of cheesecake!).
The Basque cheesecake gained momentum alongside other pandemic food trends such as the dalgona coffee and pancake cereal. Despite the recent craze for it, its history goes back three decades ago. The Basque cheesecake was invented and made famous by Santiago Rivera, owner of San Sebastian Pintxos Café La Viña. What started off as a experiment 30 years ago has now become a global sensation and the most loved dessert of 2020.
While it’s not the original Basque cheesecake you find in Spain, many critics say it’s a good reproduction of it. The brand is backed up by the team behind The Cupping Room and Doubleshot café in Central (as if this doesn’t already foreshadow how good it’s going to taste), La Viña has quickly become one of Hong Kong’s go to place for Basque Cheesecake. Starting with the original recipe from the restaurant of La Viña, Spain, Chef Miguel Gallo and his team conducted further experiments to create different flavours such as the earl grey infused Basque Cheesecake. La Viña’s cakes come in 3 inch – the perfect size to be eat alone and up to 8 inch for 6 to 8 people. While you’re at it check out their gorgeous assortment of cakes, cookies and pastries too, you won’t be disappointed!
La Viña; Shop 3 My Central, 23 Graham Street, Central, Hong Kong; +852 9612 0988; HK$46 for La Viña Original 3”
Located in a cozy café in Sheung Wan, Teakha is taking their own take on the famous dessert. With a dark brown caramelized top and fluffy and yellow inside, their Basque Burnt Cheesecake is a must-have pairing with their selection of teas. In fall tradition, Teakha is also making a Basque Burnt Cheesecake with Spiced Figs. How appropriate are figs for the Fall season! Sizes for both cheesecakes are available in 7 inch and 9 inch which can serve up to 8 to 12 people. If you’re looking for other cheesecake options, be sure to check out their assortment of tea inspired cheesecake like the Hojicha, Green tea, Chai or Thai tea Cheesecake!
Teakha; Shop B, Tai Ping Shan Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong; +852 2858 9185; HK$440 for 7”
At Nana we’re all about looking for new finds hidden in the city, especially with food and drinks! Contrary to its name, Ugly Cheesecakes looks divine. What grabbed our attention most were the assortment of flavors they offer. From their Signature Elegant Vanilla and bringing out your inner childhood with Oreo to Asian ingredient inspired such as ube, pandan and hojicha – they have cheesecake flavors suited for all taste buds!
If you’re looking for a more exclusive experience of the Basque cheesecake, you should give Solight Studio a try! Despite the bakery having only opened the beginning of this year, it has been flooding with reservations, so you’ll definitely want to book ahead of time. Solight Studio makes two versions of the Basque cheesecake: The original and early grey along with other cakes and tarts. You can choose between four sizing options for the cheesecake; from 4.5 inch, 6 inch, 8 inch and the 10 inch to feed a big crowd.