Easy mini basque cheesecake in a 6-inch pan! This mini burnt basque cheesecake recipe is ridiculously easy, with a luscious, creamy San Sebastian cheesecake texture that is irresistible! And if you love this mini burnt cheesecake, you’ll love my Banana Pudding Cheesecake Squares, my Biscoff Cheesecake, and my No Bake Oreo Cheesecake!
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Best Mini Basque Cheesecake Recipe
The first time I had a basque-style cheesecake (also known as a San Sebastian cheesecake) I was instantly hooked! I love cheesecake, but this burnt basque cheesecake recipe is on another level! The center of the cheesecake layer is SO creamy and custardy, and the burnt top and sides give it a distinctive caramelized flavor that is unforgettable! And the best part? It's the easiest cheesecake you'll ever make! Much easier than traditional cheesecake! It's got fewer ingredients, it's crust-free, and no need to use a springform pan or prepare a water bath! Take it from me -- this easy mini basque cheesecake might be the best cheesecake you've ever had!
What is a burnt Basque cheesecake?
But first of all, why is it called Basque cheesecake and what is it? Well, the San Sebastian cheesecake was invented back in the 1990s by Chef Santiago Rivera of La Viña in San Sebastián, Spain. Chef Rivera tweaked the ratios of the typical American cheesecake recipe, creating a whole new creation, both simpler and more distinctive than its American cousin. In Spain, it's called tarta de queso, but elsewhere it's named after the Basque region of Spain, where San Sebastián is located. Over the years, Basque cheesecake has spread all over the world, with bakers everywhere loving its ease, its charming rustic look, and its incredible flavor and texture!
What is the taste of Basque burnt cheesecake?
Chef Rivera's original recipe is very simple -- it contains just cream cheese, cream, sugar, eggs, and flour. For this version, we're adding vanilla bean and salt, creating a blend of vanilla, custard, and cream cheese flavors. The outer edges and burnt top add a deep caramel-y flavor that complements the creamy vanilla interior perfectly. The texture is both light and airy and rich and creamy. It's full of contradictions, but perfectly balanced!
What is the difference between Basque cheesecake and normal cheesecake?
American-style cheesecakes, or specifically New York-style cheesecake, is dense and creamy, with a very light exterior and a cookie crust. This mini burnt basque cheesecake recipe, on the other hand, has a light, creamy custard-like center thanks to the high heat in which it's baked. The exterior of the cake is deeply caramelized, nearly black, adding amazing flavor and texture. Also, the look of a Basque cheesecake makes it a much more rustic dessert, with cracks and dents from the parchment paper baking technique and puffed up edges. In that way it reminds me a lot of a galette, where the imperfect look makes it even better!
Mini Burnt Cheesecake Ingredients
- cream cheese - I like Philadelphia cream cheese for this recipe since it's specified by the original La Viña recipe and it's a good quality cream cheese. But any cream cheese should work for this cheesecake! Either way, your cream cheese should be room temperature -- see below for a tip to get it to room temperature quickly!
- granulated sugar - we're using just enough sugar to give this mini cheesecake a subtle sweetness.
- eggs - just like the cream cheese, your eggs need to be room temperature -- see below for a tip!
- vanilla bean paste - you can use vanilla bean paste (here's the one I use) or a whole scraped vanilla bean -- we're going for that classic vanilla flavor for this cheesecake! If you can't get your hands on either, a good-quality vanilla extract is good -- or if you made your own from my recipe, that'd work great too!
- flour - just a little all-purpose flour to help thicken our burnt Basque cheesecake.
- salt - not included in the original La Viña recipe, but I like a bit of salt in this cheesecake to bring out the vanilla and cream cheese flavors!
- heavy cream - a little heavy whipping cream is crucial to produce that creamy, custardy texture in this delicious cheesecake.
One of the best things about this cheesecake is how easy it is! You don't even need a springform pan! The main tools you'll need are an electric mixer (or stand mixer with the paddle attachment), sheets of parchment paper, and of course your 6-inch cake pan. Your prepared pan should have tall sides that are at least 2.5-inches high to accommodate the cheesecake puffing up.
Mini Basque Cheesecake Baking Time
The original cheesecake at La Viña has a very custardy, soft, creamy center. So if you are looking for that texture, you'll want to bake your mini cheesecake for a few minutes less than the full 30 minutes. But if you're aiming for a slightly firmer interior, bake it for the full 30 minutes. But whatever you do, don't overbake it! Err on the side of underbaking if you're not sure -- that will preserve the custardy texture that makes this cheesecake so uniquely delicious!
Here are some fun ways you can switch up this basque burnt cheesecake recipe:
- Add a little orange zest to the batter to give this cheesecake a brighter, more complex flavor.
- Top your finished cheesecake with fresh berries!
- Drizzle on some chocolate sauce on each slice of cheesecake.
Tips and F.A.Q.
I use Philadelphia brand cream cheese for this mini Basque cheesecake (this post isn't sponsored-- I just like its flavor and quality), but feel free to use any full-fat cream cheese that you like!
Basque cheesecake is renowned for its light, fluffy, custardy center, its simple ingredients, and the dark, caramelized crust on top that gives it its burnt appearance. It's also one of the easiest cheesecakes to make, since it doesn't require a bottom crust, a water bath, or even a springform pan!
Yes, the center of a typical Basque cheesecake is softer than American-style cheesecake, and slightly gooey. To achieve that gooey texture, make sure to take this mini Basque cheesecake out of the oven at 25 minutes.
You sure can! Once your mini burnt cheesecake is completely cooled, you can wrap it closely in a couple layers of plastic wrap. Then place the wrapped cheesecake in a plastic freezer bag and freeze for up to three months. To thaw, just move the cheesecake, still wrapped, from the fridge to the freezer for 24 hours.
It may have been cooked too long -- it's important to not overcook your cheesecake. If it doesn't have the dark, burnt top you want, pop it under the broiler (see below), but don't cook it past the baking time listed! And if you're unsure, err on the side of undercooked. It'll be softer and creamier, which is what we want with this mini Basque cheesecake recipe anyway!
If your cheesecake is too runny for your preference, it may have needed more time in the oven. As I mentioned above, the longer it bakes, the more the center will set, so if you prefer a firmer cheesecake you should bake it for the full 30 minutes, or a couple minutes longer. You can also let the cheesecake chill fully in the fridge to help it firm up.
The original recipe for La Viña's tarta de queso calls for a significant proportion of eggs, creating a stronger egg flavor than traditional cheesecake. This recipe reduces the eggs, but it's still normal for it to be slightly eggy. If you like, you can add a bit more vanilla bean paste to give it a stronger vanilla flavor instead.
First, check to make sure that your oven is the correct temperature -- different ovens can vary in their accuracy, so use an oven thermometer to ensure that you've given your oven plenty of time (about 30 minutes) to heat up. Finally, make sure your ingredients are fully at room temperature before you begin. They shouldn't be cold to the touch. If after all that your cheesecake is still not browning enough on top of the cheesecake, you can put your baked cheesecake under the broiler for just a couple minutes. Watch it carefully the whole time it's broiling because it can burn very quickly!
To soften your cream cheese for this recipe, just remove them from the foil and place on a microwave-safe plate. Heat in the microwave for 20-25 seconds or until softened. It should be ready to add to your mini burnt cheesecake!
It’s important to use room temperature eggs in most baking so that the cold egg doesn’t affect the rise or even baking of your result. If you didn’t have a chance to leave your eggs out to get to room temperature, try this tip. Just submerge the eggs in a bowl of lukewarm water for about 15 minutes. That will allow them to get to room temperature more quickly and ensure a great result for your mini burnt Basque cheesecake recipe!
If you try this recipe, I would love it if you could leave a star review rating and comment below! It’s so wonderful hearing your feedback! And don’t forget to share your creations with me by tagging @chenee_today on Instagram!
More Recipes for your 6-Inch Pan!
- Butter Pecan Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Mini Carrot Cake
- Mini Vanilla Cake with Easy Vanilla Buttercream
- Pumpkin Pecan Dump Cake
- Mini Chocolate Cake
Equipment you may need
- Preheat oven to 425°F and place oven rack in the upper half of oven.
- Line a 6-inch cake pan with parchment paper, folding parchment to fit the inside of the pan and allowing the parchment to extend above the sides of the pan.
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour into prepared pan.
- Bake in preheated oven 25-30 minutes, or until cheesecake is deeply browned on top and puffed up around the outside. Center of cake should still be soft and jiggly.
- Let cool completely at room temperature. If desired, chill in refrigerator to firm up further before serving.
- Freezing: Once your mini burnt cheesecake is completely cooled, you can wrap it closely in a couple layers of plastic wrap. Then place the wrapped cheesecake in a plastic freezer bag and freeze for up to three months. To thaw, just move the cheesecake, still wrapped, from the fridge to the freezer for 24 hours.
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Last Updated on September 7, 2022 by Chenée Lewis