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Therese Lum’s Basque Burnt Cheesecake with Orange Bay Leaf Syrup

Welcome to Put on a Spread, a recipe series that takes you inside the kitchens – and dining rooms – of some of our favourite home cooks. For this instalment, Masterchef contestant and dessert queen Therese Lum shares her recipe for a burnt basque cheesecake with orange bay leaf syrup.

Originating from the Basque region of Spain and invented by Santiago Rivera, this style of cheesecake is a decadent dessert option that's started to trend in the last couple of years. 

Unlike your classic cheesecake which has a crust, Basque burnt cheesecakes are baked at a high temperature which results in a delightfully scorched, caramelised top and a soft, rich interior. The recipe's winning formula makes it uniquely light, creamy, and delicious.

Therese Lum's take on the classic dessert stars a beautiful orange bay leaf syrup which is drizzled on top and adds a fragrant flavour that perfectly complements the creamy cake. Wherever you choose to serve it, we guarantee everyone will be enamoured by this moreish treat.



For the cheesecake

  • 430g cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla paste 
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 15g all purpose flour
  • 270g heavy cream

For the orange bay leaf syrup: 

  • 2 cups orange juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 4 large bay leaves (fresh or dry)
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt, pinch


Preheat oven to 240 degrees celsius and line a six inch cake tin with two layers of baking paper. 

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar together on medium speed for five minutes until it is light and airy.

Gradually add in the eggs, one at a time, making sure each egg has been thoroughly mixed through before adding in the next egg.

Add in vanilla paste and lemon juice.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and three tablespoons of heavy cream until it becomes a smooth, loose paste.

Gradually pour in the remainder of the cream and thoroughly whisk to avoid lumps.

Carefully pour into the cream cheese mixture and beat for another minute or two to fully incorporate.

Pour the cheesecake mixture into the lined tin and bake for 35 mins, until the top of the cheesecake has a deep bronze colour and is still wobbly in the middle. 

Let it cool in tin.

For the orange and bay leaf syrup, combine all ingredients in a pot and let it simmer on low for about 15 mins or until mixture has reduced to 1/3.

Remove bay leaves and allow to cool before serving with cheesecake.  

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