This fabulous Basque Sweet Potato Cheesecake comes together in minutes... give ingredients a whir in the blender, pour it into a pan, and bake, that's it! Ridiculously easy, ridiculously delicious!
If you need a quick, delicious, gourmet dessert with minimal labor and hands-on time, this one is for you. It's certainly a winner in my book and everyone who's sampled it has fallen head over heels in love. This Spanish-inspired, crustless cheesecake is smooth and creamy with a perfect blend of sweetness, warm autumn spices, and fabulous sweet potato flavor. It comes together in minutes and rolls out of the oven looking like it was purchased at a fancy bakeshop.
Sound too good to be true? It's not, I promise!
What is Basque Cheesecake?
If you've never heard of Basque cheesecake, let's start by saying that it's one of the current "darlings" of the gourmet culinary world. It was created back in the 1990s in a small, family-run café in San Sebastian, Spain, a food-centric city located in the Basque region. Unlike most cakes and cheesecakes, this rendition is intentionally baked at high heat to create its deeply caramelized top. The interior is rich, light, and creamy, a fabulous contrast to the burnished exterior.
It didn't take long for this cheesecake to become a signature dessert at the café and over the years its popularity has spread to the point that it's now a global sensation. Chefs around the world have given their own unique twists to the recipe although the ingredient list is generally quite simple; cream cheese, sugar, cream (or sour cream), eggs, a few tablespoons of flour and a drizzle of vanilla.
An easier way?
This recipe was inspired by an email I received from Epicurious, a wonderful recipe resource for home cooks. This particular email featured a Basque Style Sweet Potato Cheesecake that immediately drew me in. When I checked out the recipe though, it was quite a bit more involved than my Basque Cheesecake recipe, which is part of our Ridiculously Easy Collection.
First of all, the recipe instructs to bake the sweet potatoes for "55-65" minutes, then let the sweet potatoes cool a bit before peeling them and discarding the skins. Next, "transfer the flesh to a food processor and process until smooth (or, pass through a food mill into a large bowl). Let cool for at least 1 hour". Whew, already more work than I had time to invest.
After that, the recipe instructs to line a springform pan with crumpled parchment paper, "in a crisscross manner; with the overhang extending at least 2" above the rim".
That was just the prep. You can read the entire recipe over at Epicurious, but let's just suffice to say it would take several hours to complete the recipe from start to glorious finish.
I wondered if I could adapt my super simple (actually ridiculously simple) Basque Cheesecake recipe (pictured below) to include sweet potatoes and the warm, autumn-inspired spices from the beautiful Epicurious Basque cheesecake. An idea was spinning around in my lazy mind.
I asked Scott to stop at the grocery later that day after running an errand together. I ran in and picked up a can of sweet potatoes. I couldn't wait to try my idea so when we got home, I got busy in the kitchen, adapting the original recipe to include drained sweet potatoes, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and a pinch of nutmeg. I also subbed a little brown sugar and a splash of honey for a portion of the granulated sugar.
It all went into the blender for a quick whir then the mixture was transfered to a round cake pan (greased and lined with a circle of parchment). It didn't take long for a fabulous autumny aroma to fill the kitchen and I was delighted to see the results 45 minutes later; a beautiful, burnished-topped Sweet Potato Basque Cheesecake.
As they say, the proof is in the pudding and I could hardly wait for the cheesecake to cool enough to sample. Not too much later (okay, it was still a tiny bit warm) I handed Scott a slice of the copper-topped cheesecake with a creamy, golden/orange interior.
"Wow! That's amazing!", was Scott's response after the first bite. We've had a multitude of taste testers since who've had similar reactions. It's a crazy-delicious seasonal dessert that's so easy it's.... well, just plain old ridiculous!
If you haven't been following The Café for very long you might not realize that Ridiculously Easy is actually one of our signature trademarks. (For you longtime followers, just skip to the next section).
Yes, as I mentioned above, we have an entire collection of recipes labeled Ridiculously Easy. You can read a longer description and a list of characteristics of these Ridiculously Easy recipes in this post but my nutshell definition is as follows: "These are the recipes that make you look like a kitchen rock star with minimal effort on your part".
These are some of the most popular recipes on our site as so many of us lead super busy lifestyles with full-time jobs, kid's sports schedules, volunteer work, family involvement, entertaining and on and on it goes. Here at The Café, we consider it one of our priorities to make delicious meals, sides, appetizers and desserts easily attainable despite an engaged lifestyle!
How to serve this Basque Sweet Potato Cheesecake
This cheesecake is fabulous on its own and that is how it was originally served at La Viña, the now infamous San Sebastian café in Spain. We love to adorn the delicious cheesecake with a drizzle of caramel sauce and a dollop of whipped cream. A handful of these Maple Molasses Pecans (another Ridiculously Easy recipe) would add a delightful crunch.
A shard or two of this Sea-Salted Quinoa Pecan Brittle or this Pumpkin Pecan Brittle would be a wonderful gourmet touch. Another fun way to serve this dessert is atop of pool of butterscotch sauce. We also love a little sprinkle of flaky sea salt for a finishing touch.
All of these variations are SO good! Whether you go plain or fancy, this Sweet Potato Basque Cheesecake will be a huge hit. Don't let the season pass without making it!
Cafe Tips for making this Ridiculously Easy Basque Sweet Potato Cheesecake
- This recipe calls for canned sweet potatoes. You'll find them in the vegetable section of just about any grocery store, usually in a 28-ounce can (the amount needed for this recipe. They are usually packed in a "light" or regular syrup. Either one will work as the syrup is all drained and rinsed off before the sweet potatoes are added to the other ingredients.
- Don't be alarmed, this Basque Sweet Potato Cheesecake is meant to sink a bit 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 9-inch 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 Sweet Potato 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:
Sing praises to God,
sing praises to our King,
For God is the King of all the earth;
sing to Him a psalm of praise.
God reigns over the nations;
God is seated on His holy throne.
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.
- 1 teaspoon soft butter
- 29 ounces sweet potatoes 1 29-ounce can, drained and rinsed
- 3 large eggs
- 3 large egg yolks
- ¾ cup heavy cream you can also use full-fat sour cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla or vanilla bean paste (or scrape the seeds from one vanilla bean pod)
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 20 ounces cream cheese 2 ½ 8-ounce packages
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 400˚F with a rack located in the center of the oven. Line a sheet pan with foil or parchment.
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 sweet potatoes, eggs, egg yolks, cream (or sour cream) and vanilla extract in a blender or food processor container. Process for 15 seconds until smooth and creamy.
Add the sugrar, honey, cream cheese, flour, spices and salt. Process for 1-2 minutes or 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 45-55 minutes or until the top is deep, caramel brown.
Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool completely in the pan.
Invert onto a clean plate, giving the pan a slight jiggle to release. 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.
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.