These foolproof mini Basque cheesecakes are perfect for gifting this holiday season. Crustless, rich and creamy cheesecakes enclosed in the most delicious caramelized crust. Wrap them with twine and tie a sprig of fresh rosemary for the best homemade Christmas gift.
These mini Basque cheesecakes are the easiest cheesecake you will ever make. They are baked at a high temperature without a water bath and the end result is a toasty, intentionally burnt exterior and silky smooth custard- like center.
Serve these cheesecakes at your holiday table, make them for friends or family or treat yourself to the creamiest, most luscious dessert you've ever had.
What Is Basque Cheesecake
Basque cheesecake is a dessert from the Basque region of Spain. Unlike the classic New York style cheesecake that is dense, light in color and traditionally baked in some sort of crust, a Basque cheesecake is crustless and has a deep caramelized exterior once it finishes baking.
The center of this cheesecake is extremely rich and almost mousse-like. Made with just a handful of ingredients, this cheesecake is the perfect dessert for beginner bakers.
Why You'll Love These Mini Burnt Cheesecakes
- Easy to make- Made with simple ingredients, this cheesecake is the easiest homemade cheesecake you will ever make.
- No water bath required- Yup, that's right. No need to worry about a water bath which can sometimes be stressful. Just mix, pour and bake and you're done.
- Incredible flavor- Basque cheesecake has a very unique taste. Toasty and caramelized on the outside but rich and creamy on the inside. If you are a fan of the famous creme brûlée which has similar flavors, then you will absolutely love this cheesecake.
- Perfect for gifting- Since these cheesecakes are baked inside parchment paper, all you need to do is simply remove them from the cake pan and tie some twine or ribbon around them. They make the best homemade gifts for holidays, birthdays or Valentine's Day.
- Freezes well- Store any leftover cheesecake in the freezer or bake extra to have on hand for your next celebratory occasion.
Ingredient Notes for Mini Basque Cheesecakes
Here are some notes on the ingredients. For a full list of ingredients, scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
- Cream cheese- Use full fat cream cheese. Do not substitute cream cheese spread or whipped cream cheese for this recipe. Remove the cream cheese from the refrigerator 2 hours before mixing to allow it to come to room temperature.
- Sugar- I use white granulated sugar.
- Heavy cream- This will help thin out the cream cheese but also add richness to the cheesecake.
- Eggs- I use large eggs. Allow the eggs to come to room temperature for 2 hours.
- Vanilla- Use pure vanilla extract for the best flavor.
- Flour- All purpose flour is added to give the cheesecake its structure. Make sure to sift the flour to remove any clumps.
- Rosemary- This is optional but I think it adds a nice touch for Christmas.
- Heavy cream- If you don't have heavy whipping cream on hand, you can use light whipping cream or whole milk. However, I do not recommend using low-fat or fat-free milk. If you can find the time, I recommend heavy cream as the best option for this cheesecake.
- Cream cheese- I recommend using full fat cream cheese for its flavor and added richness. Low-fat cream cheese is an option but the flavor and overall texture of these cheesecakes will be different.
- Garnishes- Feel free to serve and garnish this cheesecake with whatever you like. Fresh fruits are a great option.
- Dairy alternative- Substitute the heavy cream with full fat coconut milk. For baking, use canned coconut milk and make sure to shake well before using. Use the same amount as directed in the recipe.
Step By Step Instructions - Basque Cheesecake
Here are the basic steps to make burnt Basque cheesecake from scratch.
STEP 1: Bring the ingredients to room temperature. For this recipe, it's incredibly important to bring all the cold ingredients to room temperature, such as the cream cheese, eggs and heavy cream. Pull from the refrigerator 2 hours before mixing.
STEP 2: Prep pans. Preheat oven to 425°. Lightly spray cake pans with cooking spray and line the bottom with two sheets of parchment paper, making sure that the parchment sticks at least 2 inches above the edge of the cake pans.
STEP 3: Blend the cream cheese. Place the cream cheese, sugar and half of the cream inside a food processor. Process until the mixture is smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
STEP 4: Add the liquids. Add the eggs and vanilla to the cream cheese mixture and blend until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then, add the remaining heavy cream.
STEP 5: Add the flour. If using a food processor, pour the cream cheese mixture into a large bowl. Then, sift in your flour and salt. Whisk until smooth.
STEP 6: Bake. Divide the batter into prepared cake pans. Then, place cheesecakes in the oven on the center rack and bake for 25 minutes. The tops will be deeply golden brown while slightly jiggly in the center.
If the cheesecakes are done but still not as golden as you would like, turn on the broiler and brown the tops for an additional 30-60 seconds.
STEP 7. Cool. Let the cheesecakes cool completely at room temperature before slicing. If desired, place the cheesecakes in the refrigerator to chill for 2-3 hours before serving.
Expert Baking Tips
- Lining the cake pans. Start by spraying the pan with nonstick cooking spray. This will keep the parchment paper in place. Line the bottom and sides with two layers of parchment paper. Just a heads up, the parchment paper will not be smooth. It will have a lot of pleats and folds which is exactly what you want to create the classic look you see in Basque cheesecakes.
- Use room temperature ingredients. Make sure to remove the cold ingredients at least 2 hours before mixing. Room temperature ingredients will combine more easily and the batter will be more smooth.
- Do not over bake. The cheesecakes will still be jiggly in the middle when it is finished cooking. If it is baked too long the texture will be more coarse instead of creamy.
- Use the broiler. Since all of our ovens are different, there is a chance that your cheesecakes won't be brown enough by the time they're done baking. In this case, use the broiler and brown for 30-60 seconds. Make sure the cheesecakes are on the center rack, away from the broiler so the parchment paper does not catch fire. Do not walk way. Make sure to keep an eye on them.
You can serve the cheesecake at room temperature, after it has cooled for 1-2 hours. Or, you can chill the cheesecake in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours or overnight (which I prefer). Serve it with fresh fruit, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce or completely on its own.
For clean slices and to keep the cheesecake from sticking to the knife, use a hot knife. Place the blade of the knife into a glass of hot water for 20 seconds and use a clean towel to dry it between slices.
Yes, the center of a traditional Basque cheesecake is softer than New York style cheesecake, almost like mousse. To achieve that creamy texture, remove the cheesecakes while they are still jiggly in the center. The longer you bake the cheesecakes, the more firm they will be and you will loose the custard-like texture they are known for.
If your cheesecakes are too runny, they may have needed more time in the oven. Before removing the cheesecakes from the oven, make sure the centers are slightly jiggly when you gently shake the pans. The tops should have a deep golden brown color. To make sure they set properly, you can also chill them inside the refrigerator for a couple hours or overnight to let them firm up.
Storing and Freezing
Store these mini Basque cheesecakes inside an airtight container or tightly wrapped with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 4-5 days.
If you want to make your Basque cheesecakes in advance, you definitely can. Once the cheesecakes are baked and completely cooled at room temperature, remove them from their pans and cover them with plastic wrap.
Place the mini cheesecakes in gallon-sized freezer bags for an extra layer of protection.
More Cream Cheese Dessert Recipes To Try
Try These Holiday Recipes Too!
- Gingerbread Latte Cookies
- Apple Crumble Tart
- No Spread Sugar Cookies
- No Bake Oreo Tiramisu
- Almond Cupcakes with German Buttercream
Mini Basque Cheesecakes
- 12 cup food processor or stand mixer
- (4) 5 inch cake pans
- 2 lbs Full fat cream cheese softened
- 1 ½ cups White granulated sugar
- 2 cups Heavy cream room temperature
- 5 Large eggs room temperature
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup All purpose flour sifted
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- Sprigs of rosemary for garnish, optional
- For this recipe, it's incredibly important to bring all the cold ingredients to room temperature, such as the cream cheese, eggs and heavy cream. Pull from the refrigerator 2 hours before mixing.
- Preheat oven to 425°. Lightly spray cake pans with cooking spray and line the bottom with two sheets of parchment paper, making sure that the parchment sticks at least 2 inches above the edge of the cake pans.
- Place the cream cheese, sugar and half of the cream inside a food processor. Process until the mixture is smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Add the eggs and vanilla to the cream cheese mixture and blend until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then, add the remaining heavy cream.
- If using a food processor, pour the cream cheese mixture into a large bowl. Then, sift in your flour and salt. Whisk until smooth.
- Divide the batter into prepared cake pans. Then, place cheesecakes in the oven on the center rack and bake for 25 minutes. The tops will be deeply golden brown while slightly jiggly in the center. If the cheesecakes are done but still not as golden as you would like, turn on the broiler and brown the tops for an additional 30-60 seconds.
- Let the cheesecakes cool completely at room temperature before slicing. If desired, place the cheesecakes in the refrigerator to chill for 2-3 hours before serving.
- If gifting, wrap each cheesecake with twine and a sprig of rosemary. Garnish the tops with sugared cranberries and additional rosemary (if desired).