A crustless, light cheesecake with a touch of “burnt” caramelized flavor – toasty on the outside, light and creamy on the inside. This Mini Basque Cheesecake recipe is so easy to make that it nearly foolproof!
Have you been wanting to try a burnt basque cheesecake but didn’t want to commit to a big sized one? Try this mini version first then see for yourself!
This mini Basque cheesecake recipe is good for 2 to 4 people, depending how many slices you can eat.
But let me warn that it may be difficult to stop at just a single slice – the slightly charred top gives this cheesecake a little caramelization that pairs so well with the creaminess of the cheese!
Why you should make this Mini Basque Cheesecake
- This recipe is much easier to make than traditional cheesecake. No need for crust and water bath and it’s meant to look uneven. This is a very forgiving recipe so you don’t have to worry.
- Basque cheesecake has a unique caramelized taste due to its burnt exterior crust. It is slightly in contrast with the inner part of the the cheesecake which is creamy and mousse-like. This contrast makes it hard to stop at one slice!
- I added vanilla and used lesser eggs here as compared to the original recipe to reduce the “eggy” taste.
- Similar to other baked custard recipes, like The Ultimate Creme Caramel and this Classic Vanilla Cheesecake with Mixed Berries Sauce, this recipe has the addition of lemon zest. It actually helps make the cheesecake taste better by balancing out the cheesy and creamy taste of the cream cheese.
- You can omit the lemon zest if you do not like a hint of lemon taste at all. Though this ingredient is optional, I urge you to try it!
- I also think that this is a fun recipe to make because the rules (in terms of cheesecake making) are meant to be broken here. So let go of the pressure – you are about to make an epic cheesecake. 🙂
Difference between Regular Cheesecake vs. Basque Cheesecake
In terms of looks, a Basque cheesecake is meant to look rustic – with burnt exterior and uneven sides, unlike regular cheesecakes which we sometimes stress about having a smooth, perfectly cracked-free top.
Unlike the usual cheesecakes with a biscuit base and sometimes up to the sides, a Basque cheesecake is baked crustless in parchment paper and with burnt exterior.
In terms of taste and texture, in contrast to a regular cheesecake which tend to be dense and firm, Basque Cheesecake is light and creamy.
For me, it’s texture is in between a souffle and a creme brûlée, which when combined with the “burnt”, caramelized exterior makes it irresistible.
Where it all began
Did you know that Basque Cheescake has been here for decades?! It is Basque region’s iconic cheeesecake, also called ‘Tarta de queso’ in Spain.
Invented back in the 90s by Santiago Rivera, the chef-owner of La Viña restaurant developed this recipe while thinking of a new dessert to put on the menu. According to this article, Basque cheesecake has been served for 28 years, but only gained massive popularity a few years ago.
The great news is that you don’t need to spend a trip to Spain to be able to taste this treat.
Let’s make some Mini Basque Chesecake!
Note: The full, printable recipe with detailed instructions is available at the end of the post, but I recommend you to read through below to benefit from the tips, visuals, and FAQs before making this recipe!
How to Make Mini Basque Cheesecake
Note: The ingredients below are listed in how they are categorized in the grocery store, which most likely translates to how these ingredients are kept together in your kitchen. This way, you can shop efficiently (treat this as your grocery list) and gather your ingredients at home without running circles in your kitchen. (i.e. One trip to the fridge to get all your dairy needs.)
INGREDIENT SHOPPING LIST:
You only need 8 ingredients to make a Mini Basque Cheesecake:
- 400 grams cream cheese
- Always use the full-fat variety and not the spreadable type from a tub. The Philadelphia brand is highly recommended.
- 160 grams eggs (about 3 large eggs)
- 200 grams heavy cream (min 35%)
- No skimping on the fat here – use at least 35% milk fat. Do not use half and half or whole milk. The fat content in the heavy cream is what makes the cream cheese smooth and rich.
- 155 grams white granulated sugar
- 15 grams (1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon table salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste
- Zest of 1/2 lemon
- This is optional but I urge you to try! It helps make the cheesecake taste better by balancing out the cheesy and creamy taste of the cream cheese.
TOOLS & EQUIPMENT:
- 6-inch Springform pan
- I use and recommend (affiliate link) Fat Daddio’s 6×3 springform pan.
- Parchment paper
- Fine mesh strainer/ flour sifter
Let’s start baking!
DO SOME PREP:
Before you start, ensure your ingredients are at room temperature. Otherwise, you will get a lumpy batter and your final cheesecake won’t be smooth.
Heat oven to 400 F/ 205 C. I highly urge you to use an oven thermometer. As surprising as it may be, different ovens set to the same temperature can vary as much as 20 degrees F!
Line a 6-inch springform pan with parchment paper, pleating and pressing the parchment into the bottom edges of pan so that it extends straight up a few inches above the pan.
If it extends more than 2 inches, you may cut off some of the parchment paper at the top. Don’t worry about the creases in the paper.
Place the pan on a baking sheet and set aside.
MAKE THE CHEESECAKE BATTER:
To make the batter, add the 400g cream cheese, 155g sugar, and zest of 1 /2 lemon (if using) in a stand mixer bowl fitted with paddle attachment. Beat for 1 minute on medium speed. Turn off mixer, scrape, and make sure they are incorporated. Turn on mixer again to medium high for 30 seconds or until it is very smooth with no lumps remaining. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
Turn mixer on medium low speed. Add the 3 eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is combined before adding in the next. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Add the 200g heavy cream, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Mix on low speed until evenly combined. Stop the mixer to add the 15g flour by sifting it through a fine-mesh strainer to avoid lumps. Mix on low speed until evenly combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
Pour the mixture into the parchment-lined pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until the top of the cheesecake has risen up high and the top has started to become golden brown. The center and sides of the cheesecake should still be slightly jiggly.
Place the pan on a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Note that the cake will fall as it cools. Unlock the sides of the springform pan and remove. Carefully peel back the parchment paper away for the cheesecake before slicing.
A note about baking time
The original Basque cheesecake recipe has a very custardy and soft center. If you want to go for that texture bake it for 35 mintues instead of 45 minutes. The center of the cake should be fairly jiggly at that point.
But for this recipe, the cheesecake has a slightly firmer interior but still light and creamy. Think of it’s texture like between a soufflé and a creme brûlée. Bake at full 45 minutes if you are aiming for this texture. The center and sides of the cake should be slightly jiggly.
Remember to never overbake your cheesecake as your it will curdle inside.
Getting that burnt look at the top
If the top of your cheesecake is far from toasted or “burnt”, do not add more baking time as it will overcook your cheesecake. Turn on your oven broiler instead and very closely watch your cheesecake. Don’t take off your eyes from it – it can burn very fast, anywhere between 30 seconds and 2 minutes.
I found that a few cracks at the top happens when I broil the cheesecake, but don’t worry as these gaps would close once the cheesecake falls as it cools.
Storage and Shelf Life
Cheesecakes should be kept in the fridge in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in plastic. It’s best to be consumed within 3 days but I doubt it would stay uneaten for that long.
Is Basque Cheesecake supposed to be eaten warm or cold?
Traditionally, Basque cheesecake is eaten after it has cooled down. If you like a custardy texture, eating the cake once it’s at room temperature is the way for you.
But for some, which includes myself, prefer a cheesecake that is on the firmer side. That is why I put it in the fridge (after it has cooled down) for about 6 hours at least.
Try it in both ways and see which one you like best!
Make it gluten-free
Easily make this recipe gluten-free by replacing all-purpose flour with 1-to-1 gluten free flour.
Is it possible to make this recipe if I don’t have a stand mixer?
Absolutely. You can use a hand mixer or just a whisk.
Can you freeze Mini Basque Cheesecake?
Yes, you can! Once the cheesecake has cooled down, you can freeze it whole or in slices. Wrap it tightly in multiple layers of plastic wrap then put it inside a freezer-safe bag. It should be good for about 3 months. When ready to eat, simply thaw overnight in the fridge.
How do I know if my cheesecake is done?
When you take out your Basque cheesecake from the oven, it should have a slight jiggle in the center and sides – not a sloshy wiggle. Your cheesecake is overcooked if the center and sides are firm with no wobble at all.
How to soften cream cheese faster?
Instead of leaving a block of cream cheese on the counter, cut it into smaller pieces or cubes then put them on a plate to soften. The combination of less mass and more surface area exposed to room temperature will help soften it faster.
You can also microwave it in defrost mode at 30-second intervals. Always err on the side of caution though if you are using a microwave. Your cream cheese may be unusable if it has melted so a little firmer is better!
Can I eat the cheesecake right away?
Traditionally, Basque cheesecake is eaten at room temperature. If you like a custardy texture, consume the cake once it has cooled down. Do not attempt to take the cheesecake out of the springform pan before it has thoroughly cooled down.
What do I serve with Basque Cheesecake?
Basque cheesecake is typically served plain, but adding a topping would also be delicious!
This cheesecake is also good with a fruit sauce, like this strawberry sauce, because it adds another dimension of flavor!
Tried this recipe and loved it?
If you tried this recipe or any other recipe on this site, I would love to know! Rate the recipe and leave a comment below. Or tag @thebakeologie on Instagram and hashtag it #bakeologie !
Printable Recipe Card
Mini Basque Cheesecake
- 400 grams full-fat cream cheese
- 155 grams white granulated sugar
- zest of 1/2 lemon (optional)
- 160 grams eggs about 3 large eggs
- 200 grams heavy cream at least 35%
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon fine salt
- 15 grams all-purpose flour ( 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon)
- DO SOME PREP.Heat oven to 400 F/ 205 C.Line a 6-inch springform pan with parchment paper, pleating and pressing the parchment into the bottom edges of pan so that it extends straight up a few inches above the pan.If it extends more than 2 inches, you may cut off some of the parchment paper. Don’t worry about the creases in the paper.Place the pan on a baking sheet and set aside.
- MAKE THE CHEESECAKE BATTER.To make the batter, add the 400g cream cheese, 155g sugar, and zest of 1 /2 lemon (if using) in a stand mixer bowl fitted with paddle attachment. Beat for 1 minute on medium speed. Turn off mixer, scrape, and make sure they are incorporated. Turn on mixer again to medium high for 30 seconds or until it is very smooth with no lumps remaining. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.Turn mixer on medium low speed. Add the 3 eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is combined before adding in the next. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the 200g heavy cream, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Mix on low speed until evenly combined. Stop the mixer to add the 15g flour by sifting it through a fine-mesh strainer to avoid lumps. Mix on low speed until evenly combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
- BAKE.Pour the mixture into the parchment-lined pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until the top of the cheesecake has risen up high and the top has started to become golden brown. The center and sides of the cheesecake should still be slightly jiggly.
- COOL.Place the pan on a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Note that the cake will fall as it cools. Unlock the sides of the springform pan and remove. Carefully peel back the parchment paper away for the cheesecake before slicing.
- Reduce baking time to 35 minutes if you want to go for a very custardy and soft center.
- If the top of your cheesecake is far from toasted or “burnt”, do not add more baking time as it will overcook your cheesecake. Broil it instead and very closely watch your cheesecake. It can burn very fast! A few cracks at the top may occur when your broil it but don’t worry as the gaps will close once the cheesecake falls as it cools.
- Keep in the fridge in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in plastic film. Best eaten within 3 days.
5 thoughts on “Mini Basque Cheesecake”
Tried this recipe last night and it was absolutely yummy and light! I will definitely be making this cheesecake again!
This cheesecake does not disappoint, right?! Thank you for sharing your experience. 🙂
I’ve made this twice. So delicious!! Very easy. It came out perfect!
Yay, it is really a treat! Thanks so much for sharing your feedback. 🙂
Made it today and it turned out perfect! It is really foolproof. Thank you for the recipe!