Basque Cheesecake Small Batch
Love cheesecake but don’t want 16 slices hanging around your kitchen tempting you at every turn? This Basque Cheesecake Small Batch version yields just six slices of dreaminess. Perfect for two, three, or four people, depending on willpower.
It’s not just any cheesecake, it’s Basque-style.
What is Basque Cheesecake
Most traditional cheesecake is a creamy white from top to bottom with a graham cracker crust. But Basque cheesecake is very dark brown on top, almost burnt in appearance. You’ve seen it, I’m sure, all over social media the past few years.
Sometimes it is called burnt cheesecake.
It is also known as San Sebastian cheesecake. This cheesecake was invented in the town of San Sebastian in Basque Country, an autonomous region in Spain. Chef Santiago Rivera has been making this unique style of cheesecake for 30 years.
Look how gorgeous this town is! It's now added to my list of places to visit.
Other than its tanned top, Basque cheesecake is different in other ways too. It is crustless, which isn’t revolutionary since crustless cheesecake, like crustless quiche, is a thing. But the puffy firm edges along with the sunken and lush middle is what makes it stand out in my mind.
It reminds me of chocolate lava cake, where the edges are firm and the middle is still runny. Now, with Basque cheesecake, the middle is NOT runny but just barely set. Instead of being uniform in texture like a traditional cheesecake, Basque cheesecake has both firm and gooey textures in one slice.
The ingredients are simple and few. You might even have them in your fridge right now, which makes this a dangerous proposition. Cream cheese, eggs, sugar, and heavy cream.
And that deep dark tan that makes it look like a Bain de Soleil model? It’s caused by a higher baking temperature. Basque cheesecake bakes at 400F/204C.
- Be sure the cream cheese is very soft and easily blendable with the other ingredients. You want the batter to be silky smooth before pouring it into the pan.
- Is it necessary to scrape the mixing bowl after the addition of the eggs and the flour? Absolutely yes. We want to avoid ingredients collecting in the divot of doom at the bottom of standing mixer bowls (IYKYK). Also, there is no day-ruiner like biting into a piece of cheesecake and finding an unmixed pocket of flour or a clonk of cream cheese.
- Ovens are so finicky. Some run hot and others not so much. The best way to judge when your cheesecake is ready is the same way a friend’s son chooses his girlfriends: the suntan and the jiggle.
- 16 oz cream cheese, softened
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 3 medium eggs
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- ¾ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- Preheat the oven to 400F/204C and move the oven rack to the middle slot of the oven. Line a 9x5 loaf pan with parchment paper in a way so that the paper overhang can be used as a sling to lift out the cheesecake once it is done.
- Plop the cream cheese and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat on medium speed with either the stand mixer paddle attachment or hand mixer for 2 minutes until no lumps remain and everything is smooth.
- Add one egg and beat at medium speed until it is incorporated, then add the next egg and do the same. Repeat with the last egg. Use a silicone spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to release any unmixed ingredients.
- Tip in the cream, vanilla, and salt and mix for 1 minute to combine.
- Shut off the mixer. Use a small fine-mesh sieve or sifter to dust the flour evenly over the batter. If you don’t have a sieve, use your fingertips to sprinkle the flour. Turn the mixer on and beat on low speed for a few seconds to incorporate the flour. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Now, beat the batter at medium speed for 15 seconds or so. The batter should be velvety smooth and luscious looking.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake at 400F/204C for 50-ish minutes. Your bake time may vary, plus or minus five minutes. The color you are looking for is a deep, glossy brown (not black and not burnt!). The center area of the cheesecake should still be jiggly with about the same tension and wobble as a bowl of set jello.
- Remove it from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. The cheesecake will be puffy at first but deflates and looks sunken in a matter of minutes. Allow to cool for at least one hour before slicing. Peel away the parchment and slice into 6 wedges. Cut the wedges straight across for rectangular slices or at an angle if you want triangular slices.
- This can be made a day ahead. Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Keywords: Basque cheesecake small batch