Basque cheesecake is the easiest cheesecake ever: creamy and sweet with a burnished burnt top that contrasts with the insides just right.

Basque cheesecake is the best combination of taste and texture. The edges of the cheesecake are slightly firmer with a lingering tongue coating smoothness that gives way to a supple molten cream center that barely holds together. The contrast is what gets me every time – a soft and cake tender shell surrounding a velvety smoothness that barely holds its shape, like the most decadent slice of triple cream brie.

Confession: I don’t know if I’m proud to admit this or not, but I ate an entire cheesecake. By myself. Okay, Mike had one tiny slice, but I absolutely ate the rest of it. And the truth is, this isn’t even the first time I’ve eaten a whole cheesecake. Cheesecake is my jam. I love it so much. It can be dense like New York style, or fluffy, like Japanese. To be honest, it doesn’t really matter, there’s just something about cheesecake that is so addictive.

basque cheesecake | www.iamafoodblog.com

I don’t like to make cheesecake much because it’s so dangerous to me. But when I do make it – more often than I’d like to admit, I will always, always make a Basque burnt cheesecake. They’re glorious: a creamy, lightly sweetened cheesecake with a deeply burnished almost burn top that contrasts beautifully with the insides.

What is Basque cheesecake?

Basque cheesecake is somewhat new. It was invented in San Sebastian (a seriously good food city – Mike and I are dying to go back) in the 70s, back when they first got Philadelphia cream cheese. They did a bunch of experiments and the one cheesecake they kept coming back to was a crustless, burnished cake that was light yet dense and full of cream cheese flavor.

The restaurant that invented it is called La Vina and while there are plenty of recipes online that claim they have the recipe, I went with an amalgamation of a bunch of different ones because after I went down the Instagram cheesecake hole, I discovered that the Japanese version of Basque cheesecake looks even more amazing because they have the slightest bit of ooze in the middle.

You might be skeptical of the burnt top, but when you taste this, all those thoughts will fly out of your heat. The top reminds me of the very slight bitterness of the brûlée on creme brûlée. The actual cake is lightly sweet, with a good amount of cream cheesiness and is just the right amount of dense. Basque cheesecake is incredibly addictive.

basque cheesecake | www.iamafoodblog.com

Are you convinced?

If you aren’t, here are a couple reasons why you should make a Basque burnt cheesecake

  • because you love cheesecake
  • you want to make a cheesecake without a springform pan or a finicky water bath
  • it’s a cheesecake recipe without a lot of ingredients: this one has only 4!
  • you saw Basque cheesecake on the socials and you’ve been interested but haven’t made the leap
  • you can make it in the air fryer!

Cheesecake Ingredients

One of the reasons I love this cheesecake so much is that it only has 4 (only four!) ingredients:

  • Cream cheese. My favorite cream cheese is Philly cream cheese, of course. Make sure you temper it at room temp so it it silky smooth and creamy without any lumps
  • Sugar. Not too much sugar, just enough so it’s lightly sweet and delicious. I’ve only ever used granulated sugar, but I think brown sugar would add a hint of depth and caramel flavor.
  • Eggs. You’ll need 4 large eggs to stabilize and hold the cake together. Make sure you get some nice, high quality eggs.
  • Heavy Cream. Heavy cream is what makes this cake SO smooth and rich. You might also know heavy cream as whipping cream. Either will work as long as it has over 36% milk fat.

baked basque cheesecake | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to make Basque cheesecake

  1. Cream. Cream together the cream cheese and sugar. It’s best if your cream cheese is ultra soft. I like to leave it out at room temp for as long as possible before creaming so it blends up completely lump free. If you have a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment and remember to scrape down the sides.
  2. Mix. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing in completely without adding too much air. If you’re using a stand mixer, add the eggs and beat with the paddle on low.
  3. Bake. Pour the batter into a parchment paper lined pan and bake in a super hot oven so the top gets nice and burnt while the inside stays creamy.

The best (and easiest) cheesecake I’ve ever made

Seriously guys, this is my best cheesecake ever. Usually it only takes me a couple of days to finish the entire cake, which is bad news. The good news is that Basque burnt cheesecakes are incredibly easy to make. There are no water baths, you don’t have to use a finicky springform pan, you can just squish your parchment paper in rustic style, and somehow, magically, you don’t have to worry about cheesecake cracks. All you need to do is remember to have everything at room temp so the cream cheese mixes up nice and smooth.

cooled basque cheesecake | www.iamafoodblog.com

Basque cheesecake FAQ

Can I make this in the air fryer?

Yes, you can absolutely make air fryer basque cheesecake, especially since it’s made in a 6 inch pan. To air fry, preheat your air fryer at 400°F then bake the cheesecake for 20-25  minutes, depending on if you want a runny or set center.

What kind of pan should I use for Basque cheesecake?

The best pan is one that has tall sides so your cheesecake can be burnished and brown on the top with just the slightest bit of jiggle in the middle. I like to use 6 inch rounds that are at least 3 inches in height [https://amzn.to/3aYt4Tp](https://amzn.to/3aYt4Tp) . I’ve also baked Basque cheesecake in loaf pans and it comes out really nice when you slice it up. The best part about Basque cheesecake is that you don’t need to use a springform pan and you don’t need a finicky water bath. Take advantage of that and use any pan you have. The deeper and smaller the pan, the more likely you will have a jiggly ooze-y cheesecake. The larger and more shallow your pan, the more likely you’ll have a firm cheesecake.

slice of basque cheesecake | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to line the pan for Basque cheesecake

Measure out a piece of parchment paper larger than you cake pan, scrunch it up into a ball, then flatten it out. That will make it easier to line and push the parchment into the edges of the pan. If you’re worried, you can double line the pan.

Which cream cheese for basque cheesecake

They always, always, use Philadelphia cream cheese for Basque cheesecake in San Sebastián. Really, it’s the only cream cheese I use too. Let it sit out on your countertop to come to a soft and squish temperature so your cheesecake batter ends up super smooth.

Baking time

This depends on how creamy and jiggly you want the middle of your cheesecake to be. For a runny, creamy, just set center bake for 20 minutes. For just a bit creamy, go for 25 minutes, and for set, 30 minutes.

Burnt top: To the the burnished top while still have a runny center, turn on the broiler and keep a close eye on it while it browns. It only takes a couple of seconds.

Do I need to chill Basque cheesecake?

It’s best to let it cool completely: The cheesecake will continue to set and bake after you take it out of the oven, so leave it in the pan and let it cool completely before removing and serving. If you like a cold cheesecake you can pop it into the fridge and serve it once it’s completely cold. For a still runny center, after it’s completely cool, remove from the pan and slice without placing in the fridge.

What to serve with Basque cheesecake:

NOTHING! It’s truly perfect as is, just sweet enough with so much flavor. Serve this up confidently just on it’s own or with a little nonchalant dollop of softly whipped cream. Some summer ripe berries wouldn’t be remiss, but I like it best on it’s own with nothing to distract from the glorious richness. The perfect accompaniment is a cup of coffee, hot and black, to highlight the sweetness.

basque cheesecake | www.iamafoodblog.com

Basque Cheesecake

The easiest, creamiest, best cheesecake you’ll ever make, period.
Serves 8
4.87 from 22 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 bricks cream cheese room temp, 8oz bricks
  • 3/4 cup sugar 5.2 oz/150 g
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream 6.3oz/180 g

Instructions

  • Heat the oven to 430°F. (If you have convection mode, set the oven to convection.) Line a 6 inch round 3 inch tall cake pan with parchment paper with an overhang of 2 inches. I like to double line it just to make sure it pops out of the pan easily.
    In a stand mixer, or by hand, beat the cream cheese with the sugar until smooth, making sure the sugar is completely incorporated, and the mixture is light, fluffy, and lump free. Be sure to scrape the bowl down.
    basque cheesecake batter | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure the batter is smooth and incorporated before adding another egg. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, as needed.
    Slowly pour in the cream, mixing until just combined.
    basque cheesecake batter | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 25-30 minutes. The top should be a dark amber and the middle should still wobble and jiggle. If you want the top to be more caramelized, leave it a bit longer, but know that the center will not be as gooey.
    baked basque cheesecake | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan on a wire rack at room temp until completely cool. Remove the cake from the tin and slice at room temperature for a gooey, lava-like cheesecake. If desired, place in the fridge to cool which will result in a soft and creamy cheesecake without the ooze. Enjoy!
    cooled basque cheesecake | www.iamafoodblog.com

Estimated Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Basque Cheesecake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 382 Calories from Fat 275
% Daily Value*
Fat 30.6g47%
Saturated Fat 18.4g115%
Cholesterol 186mg62%
Sodium 211mg9%
Potassium 118mg3%
Carbohydrates 21.1g7%
Fiber 0.01g0%
Sugar 19.1g21%
Protein 7.9g16%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

47 Comments

  1. Monika says:

    Thanks for the recipe! The cake looks great! It might be a liittle bit too black on top, the ones I know are just very dark brown and might have spots of black.
    Aren’t all kinds of cheesecake just so good? NY style Japanese fluffy ones, Spanish, French, German…
    I think it’s trending now, because there are some very healthy and protein-rich varieties of this cake and of course because it’s a fresh and yummi delicacy. What’s better than a healthy low calorie dessert that tastes as good as any unhealthy dessert?
    German cheesecake uses Quark/curd and no bottom or a less fatty bottom (a dough, no cookie crumbs).You can make German cheesecake with full-fat cream cheese too but usually you take low-fat curd (Magerquark) it has basically no calories and only proteins. I grew up with this cake and it was a riddle to me as to how a cheesecake could have 1000cal/piece XD (I really thought cheese cake factory wasn’t a real restaurant but a made up thing for TV shows to enhance the image many Europeans had of American recipes. )
    I also tried vegan cheese cakes with tofu (fresh cold ones with silken tofu and baked ones too), both were really good. They did remind me of cheesecake but didn’t have the characteristic crumbly fresh cheese taste. Of course there are the all those raw vegan cheese cakes too, these are also good in my opinion but veeeery different from what I would call a cheesecake.
    Cheesecake in Switzerland is savory, it’s like a cheese quiche. (if you say NY cheesecake though, people know what you mean).

    1. Stephanie says:

      heehee it did end up a bit too black on top >_< i wasn't watching it :) you're absolute right, ALL cheesecakes are good. i haven't really tried any vegan ones, but i love tofu so they sound kinda amazing. also the german one sound really good too – no fat only protein!??! i don't think we have magerquark here though...

      1. Monika says:

        I’m sure it was still very delicious, it looks moist inside not dry. :)
        Oh yeah it is, I did a very fresh silken tofu cake with blueberries and baked tofu cake NY style with strawberry sauce. Depends on the recipe but it’s basically just eggs and low-fat curd (if you sub the sugar for xylith or sth alike, it’s just proteins), I love to add frozen berries to give it more juice, sweetness and acidity.
        Quark is a kind of fresh cheese.. maybe curd? Someone from the US once told me, that they had Quark and they’d even call it Quark but I don’t know whether it was high or low fat. there are many different ones.
        Magerquark has 65cal per 100g, 9g are protein, <0.01g are fat, so yeah, the only fat in that cakes comes from the egg yolk.

        1. Lore Dowell says:

          It is supposed to be that burnt on top according to the experts.

  2. Sara Moore says:

    I wonder if this could be made gluten free with GF flour and use sucralose instead of sugar? Any ideas?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi sara,
      i haven’t tried with either, so i can’t really say, but please let me know if you give it a try :)

    2. Mari C. says:

      I think it’s worth trying with coconut flour. Do you have it in your area?
      Inspiring post. Thank you!

    3. Amanda says:

      5 stars
      I made with GF flour (1:1) and it was perfect! Mine cooked a little longer than 30 minutes. I did 425 for 25, 450 for 5. Then back to 425 for another 5ish.

  3. Karin Jackson says:

    Just pulled mine out of the oven. Looks so perfect. Can’t wait to eat with my daughters on our “Sunday Funday”.

    1. Stephanie says:

      oooh YAY!!!! i hope you guys loved it :)

  4. Meaghan Charlebois says:

    SO yummy!! I am the only one in the house/my family who will eat cheesecake so I won’t make this too often. I made a half batch and put in to a mini muffin tin for 2 bite cakes. Will serve them with tea & coffee for company this afternoon but they look good!

    1. Bel says:

      Do you know if I can substitute the heavy cream with yoghurt?

      1. Stephanie says:

        i haven’t tried with yoghurt, but i think it would work. let me know if you try it :)

  5. Nicole says:

    Beautiful. Was thinking of making this for Passover tomorrow—if I’m using almond/nut flour instead of regular, how should I adjust for measure?

    1. Stephanie says:

      i would just leave out the flour entirely!

  6. Truly the easiest way to make a cheesecake. It’s looking yum, I just can’t wait to try it. I am a foodie and I love to cook and bake. This recipe is actually unique to me, I have never heard of burnt basque cheesecake. Anyways, now I will try this cake at home, and I’ll definitely let you know. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.

  7. Teri says:

    5 stars
    I just made this and it is SO GOOD. So much easier than making a Japanese cotton cheesecake and no need for the crusty springform pans! Now, any idea to make a fruity version of this? I’m wondering if I could incorporate a fruit puree (ie it’s peach season) and make it a fruity cheesecake instead.

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi teri,
      yay so glad you liked it :) i love the creamy dense-ness of it, maybe even more than japanese cheesecake. plus, they’re obsessed with basque cheesecake in japan too! for a fruity version i think you can just swirl fruit in or just top it after it’s done :)

  8. Maria Samson says:

    Hi i made the mistake of using heavy whipping cream instead of heavy cream. You think it will turn out ok??

    1. Stephanie says:

      yes, they’re the same! hope it was delicious :)

  9. mirari says:

    i’m from san sebastian but never tried this —- lactose intolerant!

    1. Stephanie says:

      aww :( do see them everywhere there?
      san sebastián has so much good food! we loved it when we visited!

  10. Anushea says:

    5 stars
    hi , tried your recipe yesterday . Turned out perfect . I also didnt have the ooze in the middle . maybe i left it for too long in the oven . But it still tastes perfect . Thank you for the recipe . It the perfect size as well .

    1. Stephanie says:

      thanks so much!! i love this recipe too :D

  11. Hajar says:

    Hi.. do we need to put water during bake?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi hajar,
      no need for a water bath, just bake in the oven :)

  12. Amy says:

    Have you tried making mini ones in a muffin tin? What do you suggest for temperature/time adjustments?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi amy,
      i haven’t tried making them mini but i think temperature wise they would be the same, just do the initial bake and start checking on them at 10-15 minutes, and maybe do the last portion for only 5 minutes, keeping an eye on them. hope that helps!

    2. Mary says:

      5 stars
      I just made it tonight in cupcake sizes. Baked it at the suggested temp but for only 12 mins then switched to broiler mode using the same temp for 2 extra minutes.

  13. Alice says:

    I only have a 9″ pan and not a 6″ pan at home. What kind of adjustments in the recipe do I need to alter to fit in a 9″ instead?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi alice,
      sorry for the late reply! i would double the recipe. you’ll end up with a taller cake but it’ll be more molten in the middle, which is what we’re going for :)

  14. zeenat khan says:

    Hi.. I would love to try this out.. But can I substitute the heavy cream to other ingredients.. Let me know please…

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi zeenat,
      i’m not sure there would be any good substitute for heavy cream – unless you want to try coconut cream out of a can? i haven’t tried it so i can’t say if it’ll work or not.

  15. Sangeeta says:

    5 stars
    I made it two days back and we finished it within a day.It was Super delicious.
    Thankyou for the easy recipe.
    Btw I added 1/4 cup Greek yoghurt too.

  16. Mary says:

    5 stars
    I tried this version and it was really good! But I wanted to make this for my guests next weekend on an 8-inch round pan. How should I adjust the recipe and cooking time for an 8-inch round pan? And I also only have a regular round pan, not a spring form type, will it work? Thank you!

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi mary,
      you can make it in a regular round pan, not a spring form. i would double the recipe and bake it for an extra 5-10 minutes, but keep an eye on it so it doesn’t get too brown! :)

      1. Mary says:

        5 stars
        Tried it and it came out amazing! Thank you! I can’t wait to try your other recipes, too.

        1. Stephanie says:

          hi mary,
          so happy you liked it :)

  17. Kerry says:

    Actually the La Viña version has an ooze in the middle.

  18. Mahek says:

    5 stars
    This looks amazing! Does it taste a bit like creme brûlée? I had one which did abs can’t seem to replicate it!

    1. Stephanie says:

      it’s not quite as loose and liquid-y as creme brûlée because of the cream cheese :)

  19. Leslie says:

    4 stars
    I’ve tried this a couple times but keep running into the same issue – I get the nice carmelized colour on top and remove while the cheesecake is still jiggly in the middle but even after refrigeration, the centre is slightly liquidy. I wouldn’t say it’s runny but it’s definitely not set. Any suggestions? Help please.

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi leslie, i would bake it longer at 425°F until it’s a bit more set, give it 5-10 more minutes. you might not even need to turn the heat up after that, it should set and be quite brown on top. hope that helps!

    2. Stephanie says:

      hi leslie! that’s exactly what you want, a bit of jiggle :)
      if you want it set more, just bake it for 5 extra minutes.

  20. Jasmin says:

    Hi. What happens when I omit the flour from the recipe? Will the texture change? I’m worried the cheesecake might not hold its shape

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi jasmin,
      you can omit the flour, it will just have a slightly different texture – it will still hold it’s shape. you can sub almond flour or cornstarch if you’re worried, but it’s such a tiny amount that it will be okay. i’ve made it without flour before!

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