This Basque-style cheesecake is smooth and creamy. It is also easier to make than the traditional version. It needs just 3 ingredients and doesn’t require any flour or heavy cream. This cheesecake is done in less than 30 minutes including baking time. It’s an easy dessert to serve at any upcoming gatherings or events.
I’m currently working on dessert recipes to serve for the holidays and this shortcut Basque burnt cheesecake is definitely on the menu. A while back I shared a simplified version of Basque cheesecake. And while I loved how easy it was, I kept wondering if I could make it even simpler. Most Basque cheesecake recipes require heavy cream, which means I need to make sure I have some heavy cream in the fridge when I’m in the mood for Basque cheesecake. This version eliminates the need for heavy cream and instead uses an ingredient with a much longer shelf life.
- Cream Cheese
- Condensed milk
Cream cheese: This cheesecake is made with full-fat cream cheese. You will need two blocks for the recipe. The cream cheese needs to be softened to room temperature so you will need to take it out an hour before baking or you can also briefly heat it up in the microwave to soften it.
Condensed milk: Condensed milk replaces the sugar and heavy cream usually added to Basque cheesecake. It helps create a very creamy, smooth cheesecake. If you prefer to use heavy cream instead, I have a version that uses heavy cream.
Eggs: Eggs are used to give this cake structure and help it rise.
What is Basque Cheesecake?
Basque burnt cheesecake originated from La Viña, a cafe in San Sebastian, located in the Basque region of Spain. The cheesecake is baked at a very high temperature to create a caramelized surface (making it appear burned) and a very creamy center that isn’t quite set. It is also made without a crust.
How to Make Easy Basque Cheesecake
Add all ingredients into a food processor. Mix until you have a smooth batter. You may need to scrape the sides of the food processor a few times to make sure all the ingredients are fully incorporated. The batter is then ready to be poured into a cake pan lined with parchment paper. The cake is baked at a very high temperature so it will only need about 15-18 minutes in the oven. Let the cake cool fully before serving. I also like to refrigerate it for several hours beforehand because it helps develop the flavors and makes it easier to cut.
Texture and Appearance
This cake has a very silky, creamy texture, with the center not quite set, which is how Basque burnt cheesecake is meant to be. You may notice that the surface is not fully caramelized like with traditional Basque cheesecake. That is because this version is in the oven for less time. By using condensed milk instead of heavy cream, the cake actually cooks faster and so it needs to come out of the oven sooner. As a result, only the edges are fully caramelized and the center will be a little paler. I don’t mind the lack of color in the middle. I think it adds to the rustic, unique look of Basque burnt cheesecake.
More Cheesecake Recipes
- 3 Ingredient Yogurt Cheesecake
- 2 Ingredient No Bake Cheesecake
- 3 Ingredient Fluffy Chocolate Cheesecake
3 Ingredient Basque Cheesecake
- 2 (8 oz/227 g) blocks full fat cream cheese total weight of 16 oz, softened to room temperature
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup (6 oz/177 ml) full fat sweetened condensed milk
- Preheat oven to 500°F (260°C). Spray the interior of a 7-inch round spring form cake pan or a solid one-piece 7 inch round cake pan with cooking spray and then line it with a large enough sheet of parchment paper so that it completely covers the interior of the cake pan. Press the parchment paper as much as possible into the sides of the pan so that it sticks to the sides of the pan and doesn’t cause too many indents in the final cake. You must line your cake pan with a single sheet of parchment paper if using a springform pan because otherwise, the batter will leak through. The cake is supposed to look rustic.
- Add all ingredients to a food processor. Blend on high speed until you have a smooth batter. Pause a few times to scrape the sides of the food processor with a spatula to make sure all the ingredients are incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Place the cake into the oven and bake for about 15-18 minutes or until the edges turn a dark brown and puff up. Watch the cake carefully during the last few minutes of baking so that it doesn't burn. The center will still be quite jiggly, more pale in color and slightly sunken in. Do not wait for the center to be fully cooked. The cake is not supposed to be set in the center. Also, the edges of your cake will burn if you cook it too long.
- Let the cheesecake cool and set before eating. As it cools, the sides will deflate a little so that the cake surface becomes even. The cake can be enjoyed soon after it is fully cooled but for the best flavor I recommend refrigerating the cake for a few hours. This helps the flavors develop better and it also will help the cake set firmer so that it is easier to cut and serve. Store any uneaten cake in the fridge.
- The cheesecake can be baked in a solid one-piece 7-inch cake pan or a springform pan. Make sure to line with parchment paper for both. For the springform pan it is important because the batter is very thin and will leak. For a solid one-piece pan, it is still needed to help prevent the cake from burning on the sides and bottom. You can line the bottom and sides separately if you are using a one-piece pan.
- If your oven runs hot or if it seems like your cake is going to burn around the edges before it is ready, then you can reduce the temperature slightly (between 450F and 475F).
- Make sure the parchment paper that lines the cake isn't too high above the cake pan. I cut mine so that it was just a little less than an inch above the cake pan. If it is too tall, it may get too close to the top of the oven. If it is too tall it can also prevent the heat from reaching the cake properly.
- Make sure your cream cheese is fully softened before using. This will ensure that you can easily mix it into the batter. If your kitchen is cold or you did not have enough time to let it soften on the counter, you can put the blocks of cream cheese in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it (make sure to remove the packaging first).
- I recommend using Philadelphia brand cream cheese. I've tried many other brands and found that other brands often leave little lumps in the batter that are hard to remove. I've not had that issue with Philadelphia cream cheese.
- Be careful not to overbake the cake. I usually bake mine for 16-17 minutes. I find that any longer than 18 minutes and it will turn from caramelized to burned. If you prefer a firmer interior, you can bake it longer but you should reduce the baking temperature to 450F and then bake until the middle is set.
- For the cake in the photos, I cut 7 generous slices, but it can serve 9, which is how I usually cut and serve it. The nutrition information assumes the cake is divided into 9 slices.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.