This Basque Cheesecake, aka Tarta de Queso, is CRAZY delicious with a silky smooth, ultra creamy interior enclosed with a deeply caramelized crust. On top of that, it only requires a handful of ingredients and is so easy to make, it's well... RIDICULOUS!
Have you heard of Basque Cheesecake? How about Basque Burnt Cheese Cake? Tarta de Queso? If none of those sound familiar to you, you're missing out on something amazingly delicious that will impress friends and family alike. Imagine the lightest, creamiest, silkiest, no-crust cheesecake that forms its own fabulously caramelized exterior, cuts into clean, beautiful slices and requires almost NO effort on your part. On top of all that, you can enjoy this rustic cheesecake as is or dress it up in a zillion different ways!
If you've never heard of or experienced Basque Cheesecake, you're going to flip when you discover how simply this delicious dessert recipe comes together with everyday ingredients in less than 10 minutes of hands-on time. And, while it may not win a beauty contest, this rustic cheesecake makes up for it in every other aspect!
What is Basque Cheesecake?
Basque Cheesecake is one of the current "darlings" of the culinary world and its popularity has, in the words of America's Test Kitchen, "become a global sensation". The Times of London has called it, "the pudding (cake) that broke the Internet". There are lots of different renditions of this unique cheesecake that is popular in restaurants around the world and has been featured on tons of culinary-focused websites.
The ingredient list for a Basque Cheesecake is short and simple: cream cheese, eggs, sugar, heavy cream (or sour cream) and vanilla, that's it! These common ingredients are combined and baked in a hot oven which helps the center stay moist, light and creamy while creating the iconic burnt (actually caramelized) top.
History of Basque Cheesecake
According to Master Class, "The dessert originates from La Viña, a cafe in the resort town of San Sebastian in the Basque region of Spain. In 1990, Chef Santiago Rivera embarked on an experiment to make a new type of cake every day. Eventually, he developed the Basque cheesecake recipe." Its delicious fame slowly spread throughout Spain and beyond. Fast forward 30 years and it's become a global phenomenon!
A Ridiculously Easy recipe!
This might just be the easiest recipe in the Café dessert archives and it definitely ticks all the requirements to meet our Ridiculously Easy classification. If you're new to The Café, this is an ever-evolving assortment of recipes that our readers love. You can read more about these recipes here and see all of them by clicking here but we like to sum up this collection with this nutshell definition: "These are the recipes that require minimal effort on your part, produce fabulous results, making YOU look like a kitchen rock star." See why they're so popular?
Most of the recipes out there require softened cream cheese, a springform pan and some fancy lining of the pan with crumpled parchment paper to prevent leaking. The parchment has to be peeled off after the cheesecake is baked, created a crumpled, ugly edge.
We've eliminated the springform pan as well as the crumpled parchment and utilize a 9-inch cake pan that turns out of the pan easily and creates beautiful clean edges.
As mentioned earlier, this cheesecake is delightful served on its own or with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream, but it also pairs beautifully with so many toppings and/or sauces.
We love it with a drizzle of our Butterscotch Sauce (another Ridiculously Easy recipe).
Oh, and if you add a few slices of banana and you've got a fabulous Bananas Foster Basque Cheesecake!
This cheesecake is also wonderful on top of a pool of Raspberry Coulis. Add a handful of fresh raspberries or a few shavings of good quality chocolate... delish!
And speaking of chocolate, try a drizzle of our Ridiculously Easy Fudge Sauce, truly a chocolate lover's dream come true!
And if you enjoy blueberries, you'll LOVE our Fresh Blueberry Sauce (recipe coming up!) spooned over slices of this Basque Cheesecake. Add a dollop of whipped cream, a pretty edible flower and a little sprig of fresh mint and you've got a dessert worthy of royalty!
Put this delicious, rustic Basque Cheesecake in your must-make-soon recipe file. I think long after the global trend has faded, you'll be making this easy (ridiculously easy) dessert in frequent flyer mode. I know I will!
Café Tips for making this Ridiculously Easy Basque Cheesecake (Tarta de Queso)
- Don't be alarmed, this Basque Cheesecake is meant to sink in the center. It's part of the fun, rustic look and won't affect the creamy, silky smooth interior one single bit!
- I recommend using full-fat cream cheese and cream. This recipe is a special treat. It would be better to cut thinner slices than to compromise the texture with low-fat dairy products.
- You'll need a round baking pan with sides that are at least two inches tall for this recipe. If your pan is lower than 2 inches, fill it to within a half inch of the top then pour the rest of the batter into another small baking or loaf pan.
- You'll also need some type of blender (or food processor). An immersion blender will also work. I love this Ninja blender as well as my Vitamix.
- I love these OXO Good Grip cake pans. I use mine numerous times every week and they still look like new.
- The baking time for this recipe is a suggestion. Every oven is different. You want a deeply caramelized top with an eternal temp of at least 155˚F (58˚C). The center will still wiggle a bit.
- Make sure to let the cheesecake completely cool in the pan before turning it out.
- Use a long, sharp knife to cut this Basque Cheesecake. I like to wipe it off with a damp paper towel in between slices for a nice clean cut.
- It may seem like overkill but be sure to follow the prep directions carefully for preparing the pan. It will take less than a minute but will ensure that the cheesecake slips easily out of the pan when flipped over.
- I love these precut circles of parchment paper. They're inexpensive and make baking just a little bit easier which is always a win!
Thought for the day:
And we have this HOPE
as an anchor for the soul,
firm and secure.
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoy this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations, and ideas for variations.
- non-stick cooking spray
- 1 teaspoon soft butter
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 3 large egg yolks
- ¾ cup heavy cream or sour cream
- 24 ounces full-fat cream cheese 3 8-ounce blocks
- 2 teaspoons vanilla or vanilla bean paste (or scrape the seeds from one vanilla bean pod)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 400˚F with a rack located in the center of the oven. Line a sheet pan with foil or parchment for easy clean-up.
Spray a 9-inch round cake pan (with sides that are at least 2 inches tall) with non-stick spray. Wipe a teaspoon of butter all over the interior surfaces of the pan then line the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment paper.
Combine the sugar, eggs, egg yolks and cream (or sour cream) in a blender or food processor container. Process for 1 minute until smooth and creamy.
Add the cream cheese, vanilla (or vanilla bean paste), salt and flour. Process again for another minute until very smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place it on the foil (or parchment) lined sheet pan.
Transfer both pans to the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes or until the top is deep, caramel brown.
Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool completely in the pan.
Give the pan a little gentle shake. If the sides are sticking, run a small sharp knife along the edges, applying pressure towards the pan and not towards the cake.
Invert the cheesecake onto a clean plate, giving the pan a slight jiggle to release. Peel off the parchment paper and discard.
Place a serving plate over the bottom of the cheesecake and invert one more time until the top is facing up.
Use a long, sharp knife to cut the cheesecake into slices. For nice clean slices, wipe the knife off after each cut with a paper towel.
Serve at room temperature or rewarmed slightly on its own, with a dollop of whipped cream or with fresh fruit or any of the sauces recommended in the post.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips to ensure success.
If you prefer to use Metric measurements there is a button in each of our recipes, right above the word “Instructions”. Just click that button to toggle to grams, milliliters, etc. If you ever come across one of our recipes that doesn’t have the Metric conversion (some of the older recipes may not), feel free to leave a comment and I will add it.