This mini burnt basque cheesecake, is silky smooth and creamy with a slightly charred and bitter top. Perfect for 2-4 people or just yourself!
What is a basque burnt cheesecake?
This unique slightly charred cheesecake originates from a restaurant called La Viña in San Sebastion, Spain, and has taken over the world to become one of the most well-loved cheesecakes. There is something so charming about the burnt smoky top paired with a smooth and silky centre...
This is the mini version, a smooth and creamy cheesecake, perfect for 2-4 people or just yourself!
I know that basque cheesecakes blew up last year and I’m a little late to the trend, but I still wanted to make a contribution to the 1000s of cheesecake recipes that have been uploaded. That being said, out of the 1000s of cheesecake recipes there wasn’t a mini cheesecake recipe, so here it is! The size of these makes them so cute, but the unique texture of the basque cheesecake with a firmer edge and softer centre isn’t lost.
I find it so fascinating how a cheesecake without a base, toppings or sides can create a dessert that is so deep in terms of flavour and texture. To be honest I was a little hesitant when first recreating the cake. I was like “uh… no crust? but that’s what makes a cheesecake…”. Whoops I was wrong. The slightly charred top gives the cake a little smokiness that pairs so well with the creaminess of the cheese. And the textures of the soft creamy centre with the firmer outside…. why do other cheesecakes even exist. I honestly think I have found my ultimate cake.
Because there are no fancy twists it makes this cheesecake so easy its not even funny. Literally slap all the ingredients in a bowl and pop it in the oven. The hardest part is probably waiting overnight for it to set before you can eat it!
Perfecting the flavour
There are a lot of different takes on the original cheesecake, and I've tried a lot of recipes... After a lot of research and testing, it comes down to 2 important factors.
Flavor-wise there is one thing I found that made a huge difference to its overall taste. Vanilla. For the first few tries I used some lemon zest. Nope. Took away from the cheesy creamy taste. Then my regular supermarket vanilla extract. It was okay. Way better than the lemon for sure, but it could be better.
When making this cheesecake vanilla is definitely needed as it takes away some of the eggy taste and enhances the cheeeese, but using vanilla bean paste is what I found made the biggest difference.
To be honest I never really thought about the kind of vanilla in my desserts. I just used whatever I had on hand and that tended to be some artificial vanilla flavouring… that was until I was on Zumbo’s Just Desserts. It was then I used my first ever vanilla bean… I was never the same…. Let’s just say I am now officially a vanilla snob.
I didn't think too much of the type of cream cheese when testing this recipe. Because I bake so much I reach for the more budget friendly options 😅, which tend to be homebrand... But while I was testing this recipe those cream cheeses didn't have that "cheesiness" that I was looking for.
After some research I found that in San Sebastian they use Philadelphia cream cheese. Not some fancy cheese from their region, but something we all have easy access to in the supermarkets too! Trust me, using the right cheese was a game changer and you'll love this cake even more.
Tips on Perfecting the Cake
As this is such a simple recipe it relies heavily on two things: the ingredients and the texture. The ingredients we addressed above, but when it comes to texture you need to have that slightly softer and creamy centre whilst also have a charred top.
Using room temperature ingredients
The texture of the cheesecake relies on the bake time, so having room temperature ingredients ensures that we have optimal control over the baking
If your ingredients are cold it will take longer for the inside of the cheesecake to cook and could result in an overbaked exterior
When testing the doneness of the cheesecake the jiggle is a good gage
It should be slightly firm with a good wobble (check the video out to see what that perfect jiggle is!)
Placing the cheesecake in the fridge to cool completely
This step is important as it stops the cooking process. While the cake is cooling it is still warm, so it will continue to cook the centre of the cake. If we let it sit at room temperature after baking we won't have the soft and creamy interior we are looking for!
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does this last?
This cake will last up to 4 days when stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
Can I bake these in a cupcake tin?
Yes, you can! Just divide the batter between 4 lined cavities of a cupcake tin. To make 12 cupcakes just triple the recipe. You can do this by pressing the 3X button at the top of the recipe card.
I would bake these for about 10 mins!
Can I bake this in an 8-inch cake pan?
Yes, you can! I would quadruple the recipe to bake it as an 8 inch cake, then bake for 45 mins, or until the edges are set and the centre is still jiggly.
Why doesn't this recipe use flour?
I use cornstarch rather than flour in this recipe because it results in a smoother cheesecake. Flour has the tendency to get stodgy and clumpy, while cornstarch gives a smooth consistency.
Why isn't the top of my cheesecake charring?
Your oven might not be hot enough! If you have the option to change your oven settings I recommend baking these in a regular oven with top and bottom heat rather than convection. This way you get more direct heat over the top of the cake.
If you find the cheesecake is still pale at the 10-12 minute mark, place your cake under a broiler for the remaining bake time. This should give it a nice char.
Why did the top of my cheesecake crack?
The top of the cheesecake will crack if there are too many air bubbles in the mixture. Air bubbles will rise to the top of the batter as it bakes. When they rise they will pop at the surface of the cake, causing a crater to form.
There are a couple of ways to minimize the number of bubbles:
- Use room temperature ingredients: The colder the ingredients are the more lumps that form. This results in more mixing to smoothen and incorporate them. This results in more air bubbles.
- Only mix until just combined: The more you mix, the more air bubbles form. Only mix until just combined.
- Mix by hand: While it is tempting to mix with a stand or hand mixer, beating this by hand will introduce fewer air bubbles.
- Tap the tins on your countertop before baking: This will pop any large air bubbles in the batter before baking for the perfect top!
Let's get Baking!
I don't know a single person that doesn't love a good cheesecake, and trust me... this is definitely a good one.
If you make this recipe make sure to leave me a comment and rating down below, I would love to hear how it went.
Also don't forget to tag me on instagram @catherine.justdessertsau and hashtag #cattycakes so I can see and share your desserts!Print
Mini Basque Cheesecake Recipe
The burnt basque cheesecake originating from San Sebastion in Spain is now a worldwide dessert. This is the mini version, a smooth and creamy cheesecake with a slightly charred and bitter top. Perfect for 2-4 people or just yourself!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 1 x 4 inch cake 1x
- Category: Cake
- Method: Easy
- Cuisine: Spanish
- 150 g Cream cheese (⅔ cup), room temperature
- 50 g Sugar (¼ cup)
- 60 g Thickened/Heavy cream (¼ cup)
- 1 Large egg, room temperature
- 3 g Cornstarch/Cornflour (1 tsp)
- ¼ tsp Vanilla paste
- Preheat the oven to 250°C/ 480°F
- Line a 4-inch cake tin with parchment paper*
- Beat the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl with a rubber spatula/ wooden spoon until smooth
- Add the sugar, cornstarch and vanilla bean paste
- Whisk until smooth
- Add the egg and mix until completely smooth
- Stir in the cream and then pour into the lined cake tin
- Bake for 13-15 minutes
- Remove and cool for 15 minutes, then place in fridge to cool completely
- Once cooled, slice and enjoy!
Keywords: cheese, cream cheese, cheesecake, basque, burnt