A twist on the popular burnt basque cheesecake. A creamy cheesecake with a slightly charred top and flavored with pumpkin spice. Perfect for fall, halloween or thanksgiving!
What is a basque cheesecake?
Originating in San Sebastian, Spain the burnt basque cheesecake has taken the world by storm with its silky smooth texture and unorthodox burnt crust. Although it's been a good couple of years since these cheesecakes came to light, their popularity never seems to fade. There is something so addicting about the char on these cakes that keeps you coming back for more.
One of the first recipes I uploaded on my blog was a mini pumpkin basque cheesecake, and with fall coming up I thought it was time to give my old recipe a bit of a refresh!
The pumpkin puree and warming spices work so well with the cream cheese to create a comforting fall dessert that is an absolute crowd-pleaser.
How to make Pumpkin Puree
While you can buy pumpkin puree in a can, nothing beats some freshly made pumpkin puree. The flavors are so much richer and the texture is silky and creamy. Trust me, once you make it yourself you'll have a hard time going back to the canned stuff.
Choose a pumpkin that you enjoy eating as that will give you your ultimate pumpkin flavor.
Personally, I love using Japanese pumpkin or Kabocha as they are sweeter and more intense in pumpkin flavor. But other pumpkins like butternut, blue prince and so many more are equally as good!
If you are looking for the ultimate guide to making puree look no further than my recipe here!
This has all the tips and tricks, from what kind of pumpkin to use to how to troubleshoot a watery puree.
Ingredients in pumpkin basque cheesecake
Block-style cream cheese is the best for this kind of cheesecake as it has more structure.
Spreadable cream cheeses often have emulsifiers and other ingredients to make them softer and more spreadable. We want our cheesecake to set after being baked so it's best to stay away from those.
The best brand of cream cheese to use here is Philadelphia cream cheese. It's been said that the original basque cheesecake uses Philly cream cheese, so we want to recreate that flavor as close as possible.
Both canned and homemade pumpkin puree will work in this recipe.
If you have the time and resources to make your own pumpkin puree I highly recommend it. It tastes so much better than the canned stuff! Keep in mind that if you are using homemade pumpkin puree it shouldn't be too watery.
Watery pumpkin puree will cause your cheesecake to be too soft. If your pumpkin puree is too watery you can put it in a cheesecloth over a strainer. This will remove any excess pumpkin juice.
I like to use a mix of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, with cinnamon being the predominant flavor. But feel free to mix it up according to your preferences. You can even add other warming slices like all-spice and cloves.
Sugar is needed to give this cake sweetness! We don't need much as we have a little sweetness from the pumpkin puree.
But if you want to add more or less sweetness feel free to adjust the sugar to your liking.
The eggs give the cake structure, binding all the ingredients together. They also help give the overall creamy texture of the cake.
Make sure you use room-temperature eggs. Fridge-cold eggs will cool the batter down and change the overall bake time. This makes it harder to gauge when the cake is ready.
Thickened or heavy cream work best here! Cream breaks up the super-rich cream cheese and adds some lightness to the cheesecake. The more cream you use the softer your cheesecake will be, so keep that in mind otherwise it won't set!
You can use vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract. Both work in this case to add another layer of flavor to this cheesecake. Vanilla complements the warming spices in this cheesecake for a delicious flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does this last?
This cake will last up to 4 days when stored in an airtight container in your fridge. Make sure to keep this cake chilled as it is temperature sensitive and should stay chilled when possible.
Can I freeze this cake?
Yes, you can freeze this cake! If you are freezing this cake I recommend slicing the cake up and wrapping each individual piece before freezing.
This makes it so much easier when you want to have a slice. Simply take it out of the freezer and let it thaw in the fridge overnight or on your countertop for an hour.
How should I serve this?
My favorite way to serve this cheesecake is straight out of the fridge with a generous drizzle of dulce de leche and a dollop of whipped cream. This makes for the most comforting and creamy pumpkin dessert.
Of course, if you don't have either dulce de leche or whipped cream you can serve it as it is and it'll be just as delicious.
Why did my cheesecake crack?
The main reason behind a cheesecake cracking is the overmixing of the batter. Overmixing the batter introduces air bubbles into the cheesecake.
As the cake bakes the air bubbles will rise to the surface of the cake, causing cracks.
To prevent this you can:
- Mix the batter by hand: This reduces the possibility of overmixing
- Pour the cheesecake batter from a tall height into the tin: This pops any air bubbles in the batter as it drops into the cake tin
- Swirl the cheesecake batter in the pan with a skewer: This should pop any remaining air bubbles in the batter.
Why isn't my cheesecake getting a burnt top?
Different ovens distribute heat differently. They could run cooler or hotter, or not distribute hot air evenly throughout. If your cake isn't burning on top your oven probably runs cooler or, the hot air is not reaching the position your cake is in.
During the last 5-10 minutes of baking time check the color of your cheesecake. At this point, it should be a dark golden brown. If your cheesecake is still pale in color it's time to bump up the heat.
If the cake is very pale, you can change your oven setting to 'top heat' or 'grill'. The direct heat coming from the top of the oven will help to bring it to color.
Why is my cheesecake dry and crumbly?
If your cheesecake is crumbly it means that it has been overbaked! Make sure you keep an eye on the bake time of your cake as it is essential for achieving the perfect texture. This cake is all about timing!
If you still find that it is dry, then your oven most likely runs hotter than others. you can check this with an oven thermometer. In this case, I would recommend turning your oven down.
Let's Get Baking
IT'S PUMPKIN TIME! Even though it’s spring in Australia it won’t stop me from making fall desserts for you guys. A quick scroll through Instagram and all I see is pumpkin cakes, pumpkin rolls, pumpkin everything… and so I thought why not make a contribution as well.
The pumpkin really complements the creamy texture of the cheesecake and brings a sense of warmth to this delicious cheesecake.
If you liked this recipe make sure to leave me a comment and rating down below, I would love to know how you went.
Also, don't forget to tag me on Instagram @catherine.desserts and hashtag #cattycakes so I can see and share your desserts. Follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, Youtube, and TikTok for more of my baking creations and updates! Until next time... happy caking!Print
Pumpkin Basque Cheesecake
A twist on the popular burnt basque cheesecake. A creamy cheesecake with a slightly charred top and flavoured with pumpkin spice. Perfect for fall, halloween or thanksgiving!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 1 x 6-inch cake 1x
- Category: Cake
- Method: Easy
- Cuisine: American
- 16 oz (450 g) Cream cheese, room temperature
- ¾ cup (150 g) White sugar
- ½ cup (120 g) Pumpkin puree, canned or homemade
- 1 tsp Ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp Ground ginger
- A pinch of nutmeg
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 3 Large eggs, room temperature
- ¾ cup (180 ml) Thickened/Heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 240C/ 465F and line a 6-inch / 15 cm cake tin with parchment paper
- Place the cream cheese in a large bowl and beat until smooth
- Add the pumpkin puree, sugar, and mix until well combined
- Add the spices and vanilla extract and beat until smooth and lump-free
- Whisk in the eggs, then add the cream and whisk until smooth
- Pour into the lined cake tin and bake for 25 mins
- Open the oven door and wedge in a spoon, let the cake sit for 10 mins
- Remove the cake and place it directly in the fridge to cool overnight or a minimum of 4 hours
- Unmould, slice and enjoy!
Keywords: cheesecake, basque, pumpkin, spice, puree, cream cheese