Basque Cheesecake, also known as burnt Basque cheesecake or tarta de queso, is a delicious and decadent dessert that is really easy to make. It’s characterized by its rich and custard-like texture, its caramelized top, and its slightly tangy flavor.
Where did Basque cheesecake originate? The Basque cheesecake originated in the Basque region of Spain. It was first created at La Viña, a renowned Spanish restaurant in San Sebastián. This rustic dessert gained popularity for its unique burnt exterior (it’s baked at a very high temperature) and creamy interior, quickly becoming a global sensation.
Here’s why we love it so much: it’s entirely made in one bowl, it’s crustless (it’s easily adaptable to be gluten-free!), and the texture! It’s center is ethereally light with a crisp exterior. Ugh, just thinking about it is making me hungry! Bonus? No water bath needed for baking!
We are big cheesecake lovers and have a ton of great recipes on the site! Be sure to try our Creamy Dulce de Leche Cheesecake, Pecan Pie Cheesecake, or these Rich, Creamy Cookie Butter Cheesecake Bars next! Or check out all of our easy dessert recipes!
What’s In Basque Cheesecake?
- Cream cheese: We recommend full-fat cream cheese to give the cheesecake a super thick, creamy texture.
- Granulated sugar: To sweeten the Basque burnt cheesecake.
- Eggs and heavy cream: To moisten the cheesecake batter and keep it light.
- Lemon zest, Kosher salt, and vanilla extract: These add flavor to the base of the cheesecake.
- All-purpose flour: Just a little helps to give the cheesecake some structure.
You’ll need a 10-inch springform pan or two smaller 8-inch round baking pans and a bit of parchment paper.
How To Make Burnt Basque Cheesecake
- Prepare the pan. We felt it was warranted to emphasize how important parchment paper is for this recipe.
- Beat the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides of bowl.
- With the mixer on low, add the eggs to the cream cheese mixture, one at a time, then the heavy cream, lemon zest, Kosher salt, and vanilla extract.
- Sift in the flour, then mix until just incorporated. Pour the cheesecake batter into the prepared pan, then bake cheesecake at 400F for 60-70 minutes. Rotate the pan once halfway through. The top should be a dark golden brown and the center should just be a little wiggly.
- Transfer to a wire rack, then cool for 1-2 hours. Unmold carefully, then slice and serve!
After that first bite, it’s damn near impossible to stop!
Basque cheesecake is different from a traditional NY-style cheesecake in a few ways. First, Basque burnt cheesecake does not have a crust. It’s also baked at a higher temperature, which gives it a caramelized top. And lastly, it has a richer, creamier texture than most other kinds of cheesecake.
Burnt Basque cheesecake can crack if not cooled properly. Be sure to let the cheesecake cool for 1-2 hours before removing it from the pan.
We’ve tested this in a 10-inch springform pan and also dividing the same amount of batter into two smaller 8-inch round cake pans (the cheesecakes will be much shorter if you bake two). Both work great! If you use another size, adjust the cook time accordingly and keep an eye on it.
The center should be mostly set and wobble only slightly.
- Make sure that the cream cheese is at room temperature before you start mixing. This ensures a smooth cheesecake.
- Don’t overmix the batter, as this can make the cheesecake tough.
- Be sure to line the springform pan with parchment paper to prevent the cheesecake from sticking.
- If you want a darker, more caramelized top, bake the cheesecake for a few minutes longer.
- Let the cheesecake cool completely before removing it from the pan. This will help to prevent it from cracking.
- Don’t omit the Kosher salt!
Make-Ahead, Leftovers, & Storage
- Make-ahead: Basque cheesecake can be made up to 2 days ahead of time. Store it in the refrigerator, covered, until ready to serve.
- Leftover Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- To freeze: This cheesecake can be frozen for up to 3 months. Wrap the cooled cheesecake tightly in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil. To thaw, let the cheesecake sit in the refrigerator overnight.
If making ahead of time or thawing, just be sure to let the cheesecake come to room temperature for about 20-30 minutes before slicing!
How To Serve
While burnt Basque cheesecake is typically served plain, you can top it with whipped cream, powdered sugar, fresh fruit, or a drizzle of honey. It’s also delicious with a cup of coffee or hot tea!
Easy-to-make and so delicious, this one never fails to impress!
If you make this classic Burnt Basque Cheesecake recipe, please let us know by leaving a review and rating below!
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Easy, Creamy Burnt Basque Cheesecake Recipe
- Nonstick baking spray or butter
- 2 lbs (900g) cream cheese full fat, room temperature
- 1½ cups (300g) granulated sugar
- 6 large eggs
- 2 cups (480g) heavy cream
- ½ lemon zested, about 1 tsp
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (33g) all-purpose flour
- Prepare the pan. Place an oven rack in the center of an oven, then preheat to 400F. Grease a 10-inch springform pan with nonstick baking spray (or butter), then lay two large sheets of parchment paper inside, ensuring at least 2-3-inches of overhang on all sides of the pan. Press down to smooth out as much as possible inside the pan.
- Beat the cream cheese and sugar. Place 2 lbs cream cheese (900g) and 1½ cups sugar (300g) in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until very smooth and creamy, about 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the sides, then beat again until well mixed.
- Add the wet ingredients. With the mixer running on medium-low speed, add 6 large eggs, one at a time, allowing 15 seconds between each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl at the end, then mix again until homogenous and smooth. Add 2 cups (480g) heavy cream, the zest of half a lemon, 1 tsp Kosher salt, and 2 tsp vanilla extract, then mix on medium-low until thoroughly incorporated, about 30 seconds more.
- Add the flour. Sift ¼ cup (33g) of flour directly into the bowl, then mix for about 30 seconds more. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl to ensure there are no lumps, then mix again for another 15-30 seconds.
- Bake the cheesecake. Pour the cheesecake batter into the prepared baking pan, then place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 60-70 minutes, rotating the pan once halfway through cook time, until the top is a deep golden brown. The center should still be a little wobbly. Remove and set aside to cool for about 1-2 hours on a wire rack. When ready, unmold the springform pan, then carefully transfer the cheesecake to a cutting board. Cut into slices, then enjoy at room temperature.
- For a darker color crust, place the cheesecake under a broiler set to high (about 6-inches from the heating unit). Keep a close eye on the cheesecake, as it can take just a few seconds to go from golden brown to burnt.
- For clean slices, run a sharp knife under hot water, then wipe dry with a towel before slicing. Repeat as needed until the whole cheesecake is sliced.
- Basque cheesecake can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap, then refrigerate until needed. Allow to sit out at room temperature for 1-2 hours before serving.
- Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in a fridge for 3-4 days.
- According to King Arthur Baking: If you don’t have a stand mixer, the cheesecake batter can be made in the bowl of a food processor fitted with blade attachment: Place all ingredients inside a food processor, then blend until very smooth and lump-free, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the pan halfway through. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, then bake as instructed.
- If you don’t have a 10-inch springform pan, the batter can be evenly divided between two 8-inch round cake pans. Double line with parchment paper as instructed, then bake at 400F for 30-40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through cook time, or until the tops are a deep golden brown.
Photography by: Alana of Your Home Made Healthy.
Recipe very slightly adapted from Bon Appetit.