Hands up who is obsessed with Burnt Basque Cheesecakes? Luckily for Sydneysiders Black Cream cakes delivers burnt Basque cheesecakes all over Sydney. A burnt Basque cheesecake is a crust-less cheesecake with a signature burnt, dark almost black top. At Black Cream Cakes there's the original burnt Basque cheesecake cake or a chocolate version. There's also mini cheesecakes that are perfect for sharing or gifting!
The couple behind Black Cream Cakes is Lucie Bertiau and Ant Sandler. French-born Lucie is a designer by trade who runs her own digital agency who moved to Australia 10 years ago while Ant is an Australian South African actor and baker. It all started after a visit to La Viña bakery in San Sebastian and it was there that Ant fell in love with the famous burnt Basque cheesecake. To Ant, this cheesecake cake shouldn't be possible as it was both burnt and smooth at the same time. He wanted recreate it for his friends and family.
“I spent months creating my own recipe, recreating the aroma, flavour, and texture,” says Ant. So what makes a great Basque cheesecake? "As La Viña intended… burnt! But not too burnt. They should have the perfect balance of sweet, salty and sour. On paper they’re meant to be rich and heavy, but a great Basque cheesecake is so smooth and creamy that you can eat the entire thing without even noticing. And to produce such alchemy, you burn it. That’s what makes them magic," explains Ant.
The recipe sat on the shelf for a while but they decided to start the business during the first lockdown in 2020. "The lockdown was the catalyst to start something new and exciting. It wasn’t till the second lockdown that the business really started to take-off. We had spent much of the year slowly establishing our processes, equipment, logistics, and online community. When lockdown hit again we pushed to create ‘The Minis’, a personal Basque cheesecake people could share (with themselves or friends far away) while stuck at home,” says Ant.
The texture is the key to a Basque cheesecake. "When the cake is out of the oven it has a completely different texture and taste to after it’s been refrigerated. At La Viña, San Sebastian, their Basque cheesecakes are always left at room temperature and so the original is like a cloud. They're caramelized, delicate and creamy and gone before you can say another word” explains Ant. As a hot cake delivery isn't possible they've strived to get the same qualities in the cake post-refrigeration.
Black Cream sells two flavours: the original and a chocolate and they're both available in a full sized cake or minis. The full sized cake is $50 while a box of 4 minis is $32. The cakes are gluten free, nut free, kosher and halal. They deliver as far as Penrith, Rouse Hill, Hornsby, Dee Why, Watsons Bay, Campbelltown and in between. "From Sydney Olympic Park to the City, we’ve sliced Sydney in half, so everywhere South is delivered Fridays and everywhere North Saturdays," explains Lucie. Delivery is free for orders over $100 and you need to place your order by 12pm Thursday for a Friday delivery the next day. With the cake comes a guide on how to cut your cheesecake and they recommend taking the cakes out of the fridge between 30-60 minutes (but no longer than 2 hours) before serving to enhance its flavour and allow the creamy texture to develop.
I slice into the cake. Since it is chilled it is firm but I let it rest at room temperature for an hour before slicing. The creamy texture is remarkable. And it's so easy to keep eating this. There's a tangyness from the cream cheese and it's creamy but not cloyingly rich. Even Mr NQN who finds cheesecake normally way too rich eats his in about 30 seconds flat. The chocolate version has a light cocoa flavour to it and even more of a tangy flavour. The key according to Ant are four things: locally sourced Australian ingredients, the right temperature, patience and time.
There are plans for limited edition flavours. "We have a new flavour coming up and it’s mind blowing - possibly the best of all. It’ll only be available in ‘The Minis’ to start, but will expand to the large cakes as soon as we can,” says Ant.
And other advice with your cheesecake? Lucie says, "Try not to leave it to the last minute as we often sell out days in advance. And pro-tip, add a little salt to your chocolate cheesecake!"
So tell me Dear Reader, have you ever tried a Burnt Basque Cheesecake? What did you think of it? Do you prefer it to a regular cheesecake?
NQN was sent some cheesecakes to try but all opinions remain her own.
Black Cream Cakes