Basque Cheesecake Recipe

Basque cheesecake is the easiest cheesecake ever: creamy and sweet with a burnished burnt top that contrasts with the insides just right.

Guys, I don’t know if I’m proud to admit this or not, but I ate an entire cheesecake. By myself. Okay, Mike had one tiny slice, but I absolutely ate the rest of it. And the truth is, this isn’t even the first time I’ve eaten a whole cheesecake. Cheesecake is my jam. I love it so much. It can be dense like New York style, or fluffy, like Japanese. It can even be liquid-y. To be honest, it doesn’t really matter, there’s just something about a cheesecake that is so addictive.

basque cheesecake |

Anyway, I don’t really make cheesecake a lot because it’s dangerous. But, apparently burnt cheesecake has been trending. There have been a lot of photos floating around Instagram of burnt Basque cheesecake. I didn’t really know about the burnt cheesecake craze because I haven’t really been on Instagram lately – at least not in the food insta world. Mike’s been taking care of our insta account and I’ve been using my secret finsta to follow hand lettering, comics, and all things kawaii.

But, somehow, somewhere, I saw a glorious photo of a cheesecake with a burnished, almost black top, that contrasted with the creamy pure white insides. I was a gonner. I went down a deep Basque cheesecake hole and learned everything I could.

The Easiest Cheesecake You'll Ever Make: 5 Ingredient Burnt Basque Cheesecake Recipe |

What is Basque cheesecake?

Here’s what I know: Basque cheesecake is somewhat new. It was invented in San Sebastian (a seriously good food city – Mike and I are dying to go back) in the 70s, back when they first got Philadelphia cream cheese. They did a bunch of experiments and the one cheesecake they kept coming back to was a crustless, burnished cake that was light yet dense and full of cream cheese flavor. The restaurant that invented it is called La Vina and while there are plenty of recipes online that claim they have the recipe, I just went with an amalgamation of a bunch of different ones because after I went down the Instagram cheesecake hole, I discovered that the Japanese version of Basque cheesecake looks even more amazing because they have the slightest bit of ooze in the middle.

The Easiest Cheesecake You'll Ever Make: 5 Ingredient Burnt Basque Cheesecake Recipe |

Unfortunately mine didn’t end up with too much ooze – I think I let it go just a touch too long, but it was crazy good anyway. I was a little skeptical of the burnt top because mine was extra burnt, but when I tasted it, it reminded me of the very slightly bitterness of the brûlée on creme brûlée. The actual cake is lightly sweet, with a good amount of cream cheesiness and is just the right amount of dense. I was absolutely in love. I actually lay in bed in the middle of the night contemplating getting up and having a slice at 3 in the morning.

Burnt Cheesecake Ingredients

One of the reasons I love this cheesecake so much is that it only has 5 (only five!) ingredients:

  • Cream cheese. My favorite cream cheese is Philly cream cheese, of course. The key is to temper it at room temp so it it silky smooth and creamy without any lumps
  • Sugar. Surprisingly not too much sugar in here, considering.
  • Eggs. Just a couple eggs to stabilize everything.
  • Heavy Cream. Heavy cream to smooth things out and add richness.
  • Flour. The tiniest smidge of flour. To be honest, you can leave this out. I have made this cake multiple times and left it out for a gluten free basque cheesecake! You can also substitute in cornstarch too, if you’re gluten free. There are lots of Basque cheesecakes without flour and my next experiment is going to be a completely flourless one so it will be more silky and soft.
The Easiest Cheesecake You'll Ever Make: 5 Ingredient Burnt Basque Cheesecake Recipe |

How to make Basque cheesecake

  1. Cream. Cream together the cream cheese and sugar. It’s best if your cream cheese is ultra soft. I like to leave it out at room temp for as long as possible before creaming so it blends up completely lump free.
  2. Whisk. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking in completely. Mix the cream in completely then whisk in the flour.
  3. Bake. Bake everything in a super hot oven so the top gets nice and burnt. Best part is, no finicky water bath!

The best (and easiest) cheesecake I’ve ever made

Seriously guys, this was so good. I’m really sad now because the cake is done and over with. It only took me three days to finish the entire thing. The good news is that Basque burnt cheesecakes are incredibly easy to make. There are no water baths, you don’t have to use a finicky springform pan, you can just squish your parchment paper in rustic style, and somehow, magically, you don’t have to worry about cheesecake cracks. All you need to do is remember to have everything at room temp so the cream cheese mixes up nice and smooth.

I’m pretty sure I’m going to be making another one soon. I might make a half batch just because I don’t think I should be eating another entire cheesecake by myself. Maybe I’ll make some cute lil ones and under bake them so they come out more ooze-y in the middle. I can’t wait to experiment! I just wish I bought more blocks of cream cheese while the were on sale last week…

The Easiest Cheesecake You'll Ever Make: 5 Ingredient Burnt Basque Cheesecake Recipe |

Basque cheesecake tips and tricks

What kind of pan should I use for Basque cheesecake?

The best pan is one that has tall sides so your cheesecake can be burnished and brown on the top with just the slightest bit of jiggle in the middle. I like to use 6 inch rounds that are at least 3 inches in height. I’ve also baked Basque cheesecake in loaf pans and it comes out really nice when you slice it up. The best part about Basque cheesecake is that you don’t need to use a springform pan and you don’t need a finicky water bath. Take advantage of that and use any pan you have. The deeper and smaller the pan, the more likely you will have a jiggly ooze-y cheesecake. The larger and more shallow your pan, the more likely you’ll have a firm cheesecake.

How to line the pan for Basque cheesecake

Measure out a piece of parchment paper larger than you cake pan, scrunch it up into a ball, then flatten it out. That will make it easier to line the pan and push the parchment into the edges. If you’re worried, you can double line the pan by squishing up another ball of parchment.

Which cream cheese for basque cheesecake

They always, always use Philadelphia cream cheese for Basque cheesecake in San Sebastián. Really, it’s the only cream cheese I use too. Let it sit out on your countertop to come to a soft and squish temperature so your cheesecake batter ends up super smooth.

Baking time

This depends on how creamy and jiggly you want the middle of your cheesecake to be. For a runny, creamy, just set center bake for 20 minutes. For just a bit creamy, go for 25 minutes, and for set, 30 minutes.

Burnt top

To the the burnished top while still have a runny center, turn on the broiler and keep a close eye on it while it browns. It only takes a couple of seconds.

Chill completely

The cheesecake will continue to set and bake after you take it out of the oven, so leave it in the pan and let it cool completely before removing and serving. If you like a cold cheesecake you can pop it into the fridge and serve it once it’s completely cold. For a still runny center, after it’s completely cool, remove from the pan and slice without placing in the fridge.

What to serve with Basque cheesecake:

NOTHING! It’s truly perfect as is, just sweet enough with so much flavor. The perfect accompaniment would be a cup of coffee, black, to highlight the sweetness.

The Easiest Cheesecake You'll Ever Make: 5 Ingredient Burnt Basque Cheesecake Recipe |

A big basque keto cheesecake |

Basque Cheesecake

Basque cheesecake is the easiest cheesecake ever: creamy and sweet with a burnished burnt top that contrasts with the insides just right.

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Nutrition Facts

Basque Cheesecake

Amount Per Serving

Calories 485 Calories from Fat 339

% Daily Value*

Fat 37.7g58%

Saturated Fat 22.9g143%

Cholesterol 207mg69%

Sodium 292mg13%

Potassium 148mg4%

Carbohydrates 29.4g10%

Fiber 0.1g0%

Sugar 25.4g28%

Protein 10.1g20%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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